Critical Thinking: Where fun goes to die tmw -cd

Brighton Fowler

As you well know, this past weekend was the Sig Eps “P & H” party. I was not in attendance this year, although I have gone in years past, but from the reports I heard it was just as big a romp as ever. The spectator sport of Lawrence parties, it’s probably the most highly attended spring affair on campus. I mean, who doesn’t want to see that girl who never talks in your English class in a dominatrix-style negligee?
And as for the boys, well.what about the boys? I guess I’ve seen some pretty creative “P” outfits but they were nothing to write home to mom about. It’s the ladies who really do it up costume wise. I have to say, I have a certain level of respect for anyone who can make it all the way from Coleman to SigEp in six inch stilettos, in an outfit that I could mash up and fit into my left pocket.
Although I have enjoyed myself in years past, I guess this year I just wasn’t willing to go to all the trouble to dress up like a prostitute –it’s a lot of work! And I think therein lies part of my problem with the whole thing, for some people — outside of Lawrence — prostitution is work. It’s a fact that I was starkly reminded of last week on my way out of the library when I came across a poster with a photograph of an actual prostitute that appeared to be an advertisement for the SigEp party. I was truly horrified for a good two hours until my friend pointed out that the poster was not what it appeared to be. It was a hoax, not made by the SigEps.
She and I deduced that the poster was meant to point at the real world implications of the words “pimp” and “ho” and that for some, “pimping” and “hoeing” is a little more involved than wearing scandalous costumes and showing off sexy dance moves on a Saturday night fraternity party at an expensive liberal arts college.
I am not going to damn P&H or the posters, but both did seem to spark a lot of controversy on campus. I think the best thing the posters did was they got people talking on both sides. I can relate to a lot of different points of view. Yeah, this party is meant to be taken lightly, hypothetically there’s no actual prostitution going on and hopefully everyone understands the unspoken implications of this type of language.
Nevertheless, I just can’t help but find the premise of this party problematic. I think the posters were right; P&H is unintentionally reinforcing some negative stereotypes about urban culture, blacks and women. I think it’s de-sensitizing the negative connotations of the words “pimp” and “ho” — even if the name of the party was changed two years ago. It was a seemingly cosmetic move by the administration to keep up school appearances.
But Let me ask you this, would you be ok with this party if the theme was “Rape a Theta?” I only ask this gruesome question because there once existed a SigEp party at another college with this title. Is “P & H” just a rendition on a theme? I know that these are unpleasant questions to ask, which is probably why they are worth asking.
I’m not intending to implicate or judge anyone for attending this party. Hell, I have gone twice in heels and all. All I’m trying to say is that I think there are some aspects of this party that need to be thought about critically. That’s what we do all week in class, why stop on the weekends?