Love, Inc

The intersections of emotion and capitalism.

UVM Frat Boys Confuse Life With Porn

Some University of Vermont frat boys are in trouble for an ad on they posted.

Last week some fraternity brothers at the University of Vermont posted an ad on Craigslist for a "house MILF."

We are a house of 10 men who all are seniors at UVM and are looking for an attractive older woman to come and cook for us every few days. In exchange she gets her pick of the men of the house to have.

Requirements aren't lengthy; be a woman older than 25 who can cook and would like to enjoy some hot sex with a number of fit 20 somethings. Hopefully you can come by every week for a meal and some play time. Obviously we can work to accommodate your schedule. ;)

Needless to say, they didn't get a lot of attention from the MILFs in Burlington, but the UVM security is investigating them for possible legal violations. The university is, as the Burlington Free Press put it, particularly sensitive 

to aberrant sexual behavior and attitudes toward women was heightened in late 2011 a survey was conducted at a fraternity asking members whom they’d like to rape.The fraternity chapter (Sigma Phi Espsilon) was shut down, and UVM mounted a lengthy investigation that led to an array of recommendations on combating sexual violence on campus.

Yet I'm not sure punishment is called for here. In fact, this seems like a wonderfully "teachable moment." That's why I posted my own tongue-in-cheek ad on Craigslist under the title "Feminist seeks misogynist frat boys." My ad reads 

Looking for misogynist UVM frat boys to vacuum my home once or twice a week. In exchange I will give you lessons in feminism and why life is not like a porno.

I'm not trying to make light of the symbolic violence contained in the fraternity brothers' ad. All men who have mothers should know better than to talk about MILFs. And no men should imagine that women are here on earth to fulfill their needs, whether it's in the kitchen or in the bedroom. But the ugly truth is that these young men are products of the culture in which they live and let's face it, our culture has far more porn than it has feminism.

These young men have probably been consuming MILF porn, with its images of somewhat older women who seem to take great pleasure in servicing the needs of men. This porn is fantasy and surely everyone but these young men understands that, but it is fantasy in the service of patriarchy. The fraternity brothers probably never saw porn or anything else that represented a feminist fantasy, a fantasy where gender does not determine what we do in bed or the kitchen or the boardroom or the classroom. In feminist fantasy, exploiting another human is not sexy; it's disgusting. And pleasures are mutual and multiple and not confined to the money shot.

These men clearly have no idea of the multiple possibilities and pleasures that can exist outside of the pornographic imagination. If they did, perhaps they'd have tried a different strategy and posted an ad that offered to cook for mothers, not in exchange for sex, but because women do far more domestic labor than men and still get paid less and if we are ever going to get beyond porn and patriarchy, young men like these are going to have to start making feminism happen.

Also, frat boys, in case you're reading this: chicks dig feminist men.

 

 

Laurie Essig, Ph.D., is a professor of sociology and women and gender studies at Middlebury College.

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