If you have been paying attention to the news during the past week or so, you have probably seen/heard reports about signs hanging at fraternity houses, dorms, or off-campus houses of male college students, saying things like "Drop off your daughter here - Mom can come too!" or "Daughter Day Care."
Haha. Soooo funny. Except they are not. They are at best rude, and at worst, misogynistic.
Several colleges have taken actions to suspend groups whose signs have appeared on campus. Each group has SWORN they meant nothing bad, they were "just having fun."
And you know how it is - boys will be boys, right? (Don't EVEN get me started on that phrase/belief/cultural practice!)
It's all bad enough before The Pretty Girls even get involved. I'm sure we all know/have known at least one person who was one of The Pretty Girls. They are the girls who are nice looking, with nice clothes who love to have a good time. They like to go along with all the fun things at parties, they love to be seen at all the right places on campus, with the right crowd. They are often nice enough, and friendly enough. They are not necessarily academically stellar, but not necessarily on the verge of flunking out either. Their mothers are often former Pretty Girls, or Pretty Girl wannabes. Their siblings are often other Pretty Girls or Cool Guys. If they are not , they are usually not spoken of much at all.
In and of themselves, The Pretty Girls can be harmless. But this week, I saw two different news reports where reporters asked one or more of The Pretty Girls what they thought about those offensive signs. To a person, they laughed and said things like, "Oh I thought it was funny," "They were just joking," "It is college, you know." And worst of all, a local news reporter and obvious former Pretty Girl even said after the report, "Well, it was just the guys having fun, you just always need to let your daughters know there is a fine line," and happily laughed it off.
But see, here is the problem. For whatever reason, too many males (college-age and otherwise) think this kind of thing is really funny. I am willing to bet that at least half of them have never even thought about it NOT being funny. And as long as The Pretty Girls think it's cute or funny or "just college," there are no reasons for males to think otherwise. Because, you know if "ugly" girls (read: average-looking) think it's offensive it's probably because they are jealous of the attention.
As someone who was never even eligible to be one of The Pretty Girls (and full disclosure here - never wanted to be one), I'm here to say that it is extremely offensive and at a minimum also quite intimidating to see those kinds of signs. Anywhere. Any time.
College or high school or heck, even just everyday life, is hard enough without someone joking about what could happen to you just because you are female. I was lucky in high school - I got fairly good grades and The Pretty Girls were often nice to me ... at least until they realized I wouldn't do their work for them. So I managed to be a bit more invisible, since it was a large school. In college, it was worse because I went to a small college and there were a lot of well-to-do boys-will-be-boys-ha-ha types and a lot of The Pretty Girls. I seldom went to school social events, partly because I had two jobs and partly because I didn't even want to see what happened or could happen, whether it was to me or to anyone else.
I am a feminist. I do not hate men. I have a really good sense of humor. I am highly cynical. I would like to think I am also very empathetic. I am a regular-looking person, and always have been. (Granted, now as an older adult woman, I am truly invisible, which is a whole 'nother kind of post here.)
I do think that most parents try to raise their children well, and to be good people. And I do think that a lot of people who have sons are trying VERY hard in this day and age to make those sons aware of the responsibilities that go with their gender. I think that a lot of people who have daughters do the same. In a perfect world, no one would have to even know how The Pretty Girls felt about things, because those things would not be issues in the first place.
But at this point in time, the world is not perfect. Signs hang at college dorms on move-in day that should never hang anywhere, and The Pretty Girls are happy to laugh it off.
And - as far as I'm concerned - *that* is the problem with The Pretty Girls.