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Ivy League Sorority Silliness
February 12, 2010 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Style Guide for the Sorority Girl Cornell sorority members have been playing fashion police. A set of "style guidelines," roughly 6 pages long, was recently leaked onto the web. It insisted members consistently get manicured, pedicured, cut, colored and waxed and boasted austere fashion and beauty rules.

I'm sure what's sillier. The rules, or the fact that people are SHOCKED and APPALLED at how shallow sorority girls are.
posted by Ruthless Bunny (269 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Fuck-Me-Pumps" sounds like a Leprechaun shoe fetishist's favorite DVD.
posted by griphus at 1:10 PM on February 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


In Philly we refer to the Penn sorority girls as the "Uggerati."
posted by The Straightener at 1:11 PM on February 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


"I love things on wrists and I demand earrings if your ears are pierced!"
posted by scody at 1:13 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"You best have a mani pedi when you get to Ithaca."

Really, this is my favorite part. That and declaring that no, chandeliers are not appropriate earrings.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:15 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a dress code. I have a dress code when I'm promoting for my company, too.
posted by muddgirl at 1:15 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a dress code.

My company has a dress code too, but it's BROAD strokes. This is someone's hyper-fascist idea of style projected on poor dimwits who want to be socially acceptable.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:17 PM on February 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


In fact, after reading the whole thing, I sort of wish this was handed out at job fairs and the like.
posted by muddgirl at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


Thanks for this timely reminder of the importance of fraternal societies to the mission of higher education.

,{/}, [accessorized hamburger]
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


My company has a dress code too, but it's BROAD strokes.

Oh come on, really? Because for women at least, the strokes may be officially broad but unofficially are very narrow. "No fuck me heels" isn't written down, but it's still part of the code.
posted by muddgirl at 1:20 PM on February 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


link borked for anyone else?
posted by milestogo at 1:20 PM on February 12, 2010


25 years ago, my college roommate was fined by his fraternity for wearing white shoes after Labor Day. He was later told he'd have to start dressing better if he wanted to stay in. He quit (but joined another, more casually-dressed frat). This really isn't anything new.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:20 PM on February 12, 2010


Go ahead and judge me, but I read this and was left kinda liking this girl. She's got a great writing voice.

/tomboy who still can't dress herself properly
posted by availablelight at 1:21 PM on February 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


It's a dress code just for sorority events, right? Every time I've read about this, no one has mentioned that, and I'm curious if this is meant to be all the time. Because I seriously doubt that these girls are having to pass inspection every time they leave the house -- just when they're officially representing the sorority at some event or function.

Plus, we're dealing with, what, 19 and 20-year-old women? Did you know how to dress appropriately when you were 19 or 20? I'm not necessarily defending this list, but maybe some girls do need someone to say "Yes to these things" and "No to these things." Yes, maybe this just one girl's idea of what's appropriate and what's not, but at the same time, being taught how to dress for certain occasions is a good life skill to have.

I don't really care about sorority girls one way or the other (I had friends in them, but they weren't for me, but at my school, it was a pretty casual thing overall). But all the discussion of this just has always struck me as a "ha ha bitches" kind of thing that's distasteful.
posted by darksong at 1:21 PM on February 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


Link is borked for me too, but I spent most of college making fun of sorority girls and frat bros, so I'm a little tired of it I guess.
posted by Think_Long at 1:22 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


As mentioned in the comments to the linked blog, these are fashion rules for a specific event that has several nights with incredibly vague terms that are begging for someone to define them, like "casual chic". It seems she does go a bit overboard, but that's better than saying "Oh, you know, just be CASUAL."

I swear, I had a job where we had a retreat, and it listed dress as "Business Casual", and when we all asked the direct question "What kinds of clothes would count as Business Casual," it was like pulling teeth to get the person to say what we could and couldn't wear. And so everyone had to go around and ask everyone what they would be wearing and asking people if their own outfits would probably be okay.

That's like so much more stressful than some fashionazi telling people exactly what is expected of them.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:22 PM on February 12, 2010 [17 favorites]


Why is this silly? There's a thread further down on the front page celebrating the life of some fashion designer named Alex McQueen, who from what I can deduce based on the clothes and shoes he designed, absolutely hated women.

On the other hands, these are rules written by women who run a soririty for the girls who want to join it. If you want to join their club, this is the image you have to project. What's the problem? The clothes aren't slutty, degrading, dehumanizing, or anything like that. They apparently want girls to join who know how to dress tastefully. Is that shallow?

IBM used to have a written dress code that mandated the length of men's haircuts, the colors of their suits, and the patterns on their ties. True, they don't have the dress code anymore, but on the other hand, they aren't as successful as they used to be either. Most professional occupations also have dress codes. Considering that the purpose of a sorority is to network with other girls for career and social advancement, this isn't surprising or in any way laughable.

What is laughable is how many college interns and grads I see that don't have the sense to press their clothes or iron their shirts.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:22 PM on February 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


It's a dress code. I have a dress code when I'm promoting for my company, too.

But was the dress code quite plainly just the dictates of an individual based on her own individual fashion sense and admitted idiosyncrasies? It's kind of weird to have one person basically creating an army of lookalikes.

This really isn't anything new.

Perhaps, but it's interesting for those of us who weren't in the Greek system to take a look behind the curtain at how the system enforces conformity.
posted by jedicus at 1:22 PM on February 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


Burhanistan, how much gross plastic shizzz are you wearing right now?
posted by boo_radley at 1:23 PM on February 12, 2010


While the pettiness of the drafting is pretty hilarious--handbooks are not intended to be in the first person--on the whole it's not terribly unreasonable. Sure, it's a snapshot of how a girl in her early twenties in a particular social setting can look classy circa late 2009-early 2010, but... I have to say it sounds about right. Not terribly inventive, not terribly edgy, not terribly personal, but if you want to look good in an upper-middle- to upper-class social setting, that's how you do it at the moment, folks.
posted by valkyryn at 1:24 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


This looks like a dress guide for the rush events for all of the sisters when meeting prospective pledges. Presumably it doesn't apply all year around, and the particular person in charge of these events seems to have decided to use the opportunity to get her control freak on.
posted by deanc at 1:24 PM on February 12, 2010


I love that it's written in the first person. Who is this fucking 'I,' and why should anyone give a shit?
posted by jonmc at 1:24 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: poor dimwits who want to be socially acceptable
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:25 PM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


IBM used to have a written dress code that mandated the length of men's haircuts, the colors of their suits, and the patterns on their ties. True, they don't have the dress code anymore, but on the other hand, they aren't as successful as they used to be either.

I think we all know what to conclude based on these two facts.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:26 PM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


But was the dress code quite plainly just the dictates of an individual based on her own individual fashion sense and admitted idiosyncrasies? It's kind of weird to have one person basically creating an army of lookalikes.

What, you mean like how guys wear business suits, or the horrendous business-so-casual-khakis-and-a-ratty-polo-shirt?

Wait, that's different because it's grown men, not sorority sisters.
posted by muddgirl at 1:26 PM on February 12, 2010


I love that it's written in the first person.

Exactly. The defenders of this thing don't see that this is the sorority queen dictating how she likes the underlings to dress down do very specific details. Maybe she does have a keen fashion eye, but I don't want to live like that, nor would I want to be trapped in the head of someone who would follow along earnestly.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:26 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ha ha "style" and "Ithaca"
posted by Damn That Television at 1:27 PM on February 12, 2010 [19 favorites]


This is not nearly as bad as I expected. It's for a couple high-profile events. It's not outrageous. It looks long but that's mostly because of the formatting and extraneous detail.

Yeah, if you feel like you should be able to wear a tank top, flip-flops, and hot pants all the time this might not work for you. But the list mostly boils down to "look nice, don't wear ugly cheap plastic crap, wear nice clothes".

The horror.
posted by Justinian at 1:27 PM on February 12, 2010


I too am conflicted. On one hand getting someone at work to tell me what to wear to a "Business Causal" manager's meeting in Chicago, is frustrating because to them it's khakis and a golf-shirt and for me I've actually got to plan something because my wardrobe isn't Garanimals for adults.

What is being proposed is actually really helpful if it's meant to be a guideline for being comfortable and appropriately attired.

You have to admit though, it reads rather nasty.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:28 PM on February 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


and all this 'I'm weird about accessories..' and stuff. I think that inside this sorrority sister is a gay guy trying to get out.
posted by jonmc at 1:30 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you want to join their club, this is the image you have to project. What's the problem?

Well, my guess is that the sorority doesn't hand this guide out to prospective members. It might be nice to have a bit of full disclosure ahead of time.

Go ahead and judge me, but I read this and was left kinda liking this girl. She's got a great writing voice.

May be (I didn't think so but it's a matter of taste), but the guide is riddled with misspellings and grammar errors. It doesn't speak very well of Cornell's academic standards or the author's ability to run spellcheck.

Another thing I didn't like about is that some of the advice (particularly the makeup and hair section) is ethnocentric and obviously aimed at lighter-skinned people with non-African hair. Now it could be that the Cornell Pi Phi chapter has a narrow range of skin tones and hair types amongst its membership, but maybe not, in which case, well, fuck that.

It's also astoundingly classist. The author name drops a lot of high-end brands and expensive types of jewelry. She also requires a substantial investment in things like mani pedis, waxing, etc. Beyond that, just the sheer number of different outfits required would be expensive.
posted by jedicus at 1:31 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's written rather nasty because in the past, people showed up to a business-casual event in plastic flip flops and torn leggings and the auther is sick of it. It's a ridiculously common problem at all events where college students are expected to dress up.
posted by muddgirl at 1:31 PM on February 12, 2010


I think we all know what to conclude based on these two facts.

It's a rule as true as Murphy's or Moore's law: if an institution is around long enough and doesn't have strict rules, Furries will eventually wreck it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:31 PM on February 12, 2010 [15 favorites]


The defenders of this thing don't see that this is the sorority queen dictating how she likes the underlings to dress down do very specific details.

This defender sees it, and just can't be bothered to give a crap. I've never heard of a dress code where people got to vote on what the dress code was. They're all handed down from on high. This one is just waaaay more transparent about it.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:33 PM on February 12, 2010


II swear, I had a job where we had a retreat, and it listed dress as "Business Casual", and when we all asked the direct question "What kinds of clothes would count as Business Casual,"

On one hand getting someone at work to tell me what to wear to a "Business Causal" manager's meeting in Chicago, is frustrating because to them it's khakis and a golf-shirt and for me I've actually got to plan something because my wardrobe isn't Garanimals for adults.

And yet, right there in the dress code for this sorority under Round III, "House Tours" are very specific dress tips for "Business Casual."
posted by Pastabagel at 1:33 PM on February 12, 2010


I read this and was left kinda liking this girl. She's got a great writing voice.

I had the opposite reaction. I like the look she is espousing, but her tone is truly obnoxious. Is there some reason she can't write with the class and moderation she promotes in clothing choices?

here's a thread further down on the front page celebrating the life of some fashion designer named Alex McQueen, who from what I can deduce based on the clothes and shoes he designed, absolutely hated women.


Thanks for saying this, Pastabagel. McQueen's talent can't be denied, but I too got the strong message from his designs that he didn't care at all for those of us of the female gender.
posted by bearwife at 1:34 PM on February 12, 2010


The derision is coming on a little weak, here, guys. I know it's the end of the week, let's make one last push.

We can do this.
posted by The Straightener at 1:34 PM on February 12, 2010 [29 favorites]


My afore-mentioned ex-roomate's frat's dress code was, indeed, for every day. But, yes, I do agree that it's not that different from what most adults go through every day--OK, I'll wear a dark blue suit, but because I'm wiiiiiiilllllld, I'll wear a bow tie or fedora or a Gerry Garcia tie with my dark blue suit. Oh, is my scarf tied in that particular way that's fashionable this year?
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:34 PM on February 12, 2010


If "waxed" means what I think it means, then a certain line has been crossed, and that line would be in the swimsuit area. The only "sororities" that I know of that have closely-monitored standards for genital grooming are documented on certain subscription web sites and are not, in fact, sororities at all, unless you're seriously stretching the definition.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:35 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


What, you mean like how guys wear business suits, or the horrendous business-so-casual-khakis-and-a-ratty-polo-shirt?

Wait, that's different because it's grown men, not sorority sisters.


How is the wearing of business suits or business-so-casual-khakis-and-a-ratty-polo-shirt the product of an individual dictating behavior according to their own fashion idiosyncrasies?

For me this has nothing to do with gender. I'd have the same problems with a guide for fraternity members that had extensive, detailed, idiosyncratic, expensive, ethnocentric fashion requirements.

It's written rather nasty because in the past, people showed up to a business-casual event in plastic flip flops and torn leggings and the author is sick of it.

You can't actually know that from the guide. Nothing in it indicates that it is a reaction to past problems.
posted by jedicus at 1:36 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The truly said thing about this is that if these girls (and the author in particular) spent half of time and brain power they put into their attire and appearance, they might actually leave college with more than their m.r.s.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:36 PM on February 12, 2010


I've known my share of frat and sorrority people, most wore Greek lettered sweats and jeans for days on end and could've cared less about anything besides beer, sex and sports. This chick is weird.
posted by jonmc at 1:37 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If "waxed" means what I think it means, then a certain line has been crossed, and that line would be in the swimsuit area.

According to this piece in the Cornell Daily Sun (probably NSFW), it doesn't refer to that. "But there is one part of the girl grooming ritual that isn’t covered in the Pi Phi recruitment dress manual: pubic hair."
posted by jedicus at 1:37 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


silk is not satin people
posted by amtho at 1:39 PM on February 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'd have the same problems with a guide for fraternity members that had extensive, detailed, idiosyncratic, expensive, ethnocentric fashion requirements.

Except I see nothing particularly idiosyncratic. It reads more like the rules from the very-mainstream What Not To Wear. It seems a bit personal and daffy because it's rare to see "the rules" so clearly laid out in this way. We tend to prefer letting people screw up some minor rule and then bitching about it behind their back.
posted by muddgirl at 1:40 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's also astoundingly classist.
posted by jedicus at 4:31 PM on February 12


This is where I point out that the dress code comes from a sorority at an Ivy League school. Of course it's classist. What's wrong with 19-20yr olds wanting to joing the upper classes of society? More particularly, what's wrong with members of that upper class explaining how to look the part to up and comers?

The defenders of this thing don't see that this is the sorority queen dictating how she likes the underlings to dress down do very specific details.

The defenders of this things realize that the sorority "queen" has a vested interest in making sure that the girls in her sorority reflect well on her. If they look sloppy, the impression people will get is that her sorority is sloppy. If the members look well-dressed, the impression will be that her sorority is selective, and that reflects well on the people running it.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:41 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"No fuck me heels" isn't written down, but it's still part of the code.

See, this is why you should let us men-folk write the dress code.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:42 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


The fact that "no camel toe" had to be specifically prohibited honestly was what got me the first time round.
posted by a halcyon day at 1:43 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only outrageous thing about this list is that someone actually committed it to print.

As MrMoonPie notes above, unspoken dress codes have always been a part of that lifestyle.

In other news, frats and sororites are shallow and conformist.

Film At Eleven.
posted by jason's_planet at 1:45 PM on February 12, 2010


Look, I fucking detest Greek life. I specifically picked a school with no recreational fraternities or sororities. But of all the aspects of their culture, getting worked up about a freaking Rush Week dress code? Rather than, say, the number of "date rapes" perpetuated at on- and off-campus fraternity houses?
posted by muddgirl at 1:45 PM on February 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


The derision is coming on a little weak, here, guys. I know it's the end of the week, let's make one last push.

We can do this.


Yeah, we're freaky n' geeky Internet People. Social rejects. Dorks. Recovering D&D addicts.

Our knees are supposed to jerk at the very mention of fraternities and sororities.
posted by jason's_planet at 1:47 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a 19-year-old male, I kind of wish there were similar dictatorial rules available for me. I'm self-unconscious and never know if I look like an ordinary human being or not, and, while I'm busy with other things in life, having a neat list for me to skim down and check off would make my life a little happier.

Of course, I go to art school, so there's every chance that list would include shirts with ridiculous stripes and seventeen piercings, so perhaps not.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:48 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


The fact that "no camel toe" had to be specifically prohibited honestly was what got me the first time round.

"Let's not have a repeat of last spring's two-bagels-in-a-sock spandex incident, shall we? Not to name names, but yes, Jessica, we're talking about you."
posted by Greg Nog at 1:48 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Recovering D&D addicts.

Who's recovering?
posted by griphus at 1:49 PM on February 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is where I point out that the dress code comes from a sorority at an Ivy League school. Of course it's classist.

I don't know about Cornell, but Harvard is tuition-free if your family makes less than $60k and highly reduced if it makes less than $80k. There is no tuition at the Yale School of Music. It's quite possible that many students at Cornell come from not-entirely-wealthy backgrounds. They may hope to join the upper class, but it's still classist to expect less-well-off students to come up with diamond earrings and several designer outfits.

It's not just classist, but it's classism based on income rather than meritocracy, which cuts against much of what most institutions of higher learning (claim to) stand for.

Except I see nothing particularly idiosyncratic.

Then you weren't reading very closely. It's full of phrases like "I'm weird about this" and "I love X." It's the author's personal style sense projected onto the entire sorority.
posted by jedicus at 1:50 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this feels too much like "Look at this fucking sorority girl" to me, I'm no fan of frats/sororities (and they're much less common up here in the great white north), but this doesn't feel like anything worth mocking. Anyone who joins a frat/sorority knows that a lot of it is about being part of a group, which requires conformity to some degree or another.
posted by dnesan at 1:51 PM on February 12, 2010


In other news, frats and sororites are shallow and conformist.

as opposed to every other subculture on the planet? Pretty much everybody is some kind of conformist. The older you get, the less of a rat's ass one gives about these silly playground rivalries and the more amusing it is to watch people get worked up about it.
posted by jonmc at 1:51 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


chandalier
deoderant


And to think I turned down a chance to go to an Ivy League school. I could have been edumacated much betterer by now, and I would clearly be better-groomed as well.

On the other hand, I am quite intrigued by this "Business Causal" of which Ruthless Bunny speaks. At my university, most people wore Business Antecedent or Business Contiguous.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:52 PM on February 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


No, I got that jedicus. But (a) the things she's "weird" about are things that EVERYONE who is sort of stylish is weird about. Like watches that light up, for example. And (b) the things she "loves" are clearly just suggestions and not mandates. I'm pretty sure, for example, that she doesn't expect every single person to show up to the cocktail party in a cute dress with boots, even though she "loves" boots with a cute dress.
posted by muddgirl at 1:53 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]




The derision is coming on a little weak, here, guys. I know it's the end of the week, let's make one last push.

On the whole, the advice is good. The audience is a group of teen girls who are trying to impress their peers. She's advocating restraint, to be ones self and not over do it. The fashion advice is very restrained, very New England and very waspy. You're not going to be fashionable, but you're not going to be out of place. There's no bad advice here. I've seen far worse coming from sororities, especially e-mails during the holidays to gently remind members to keep their weight down. If anything this is sort of like a concert rider where they put in "No blue M&Ms" not to be divas, but to see if anyone ends up reading it. She has some very specific notes, especially regarding accessories, which are probably death knells to the borderline recruits who miss them. Simple rank and yank.

My bigger beef is that things like this (from my experience) are used as ways to subtle classism under the guise of meritocracy. You simply had to follow the rules, right? One of the best comments I've heard about class came with the analogy of the Queen of England. English aren't clamoring to become the Queen, they don't go to sleep jealous of the Queen. Why? It is the Queen, you will never be the Queen. She lives in a castle, she's so far removed from your life you can't possibly be jealous. Here are upper class wears jeans and cowboy boots. Your CEO comes in in tennis shoes and a collared shirt. Hey you can be him, right? Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, study hard, etc. Every man's an equal, while completely ignoring the realities of life. You got into Cornell because you had an amazing essay on spending last summer studying biodiversity off the coast of Oregon where someone else, with equal credentials spent the summer playing video games and mowing lawns, they must be lazy.

And this is what this is. Sure the wardrobe isn't that expensive, especially if your wardrobe already contains 80% of what's on the list. Coming in without that "boyfriend blazer" or a dress in "winter colors" ? Well just go buy one! It is not as if you'll get kicked out of J Crew for having a Cockney accent. It was funny a friend once told me about a society at their school that required a family net worth of like $1mil or something before they let you in. Somehow that seemed much more fair than this pseudo-meritocracy.
posted by geoff. at 1:56 PM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


misspelled words!!!!!!

/grinds teeth
posted by annsunny at 1:56 PM on February 12, 2010


Also: This came across as pretty harmless to me. So what that it sounds like one person giving opinions? Would we rather this 19-year-old girl attempt to write third-person omnipotent? Nothing wrong with showing your personality and opinions. Better than pretending your opinions are some kind of mandate.

I'm failing to see the classism. Nobody's telling people here that they need X and Y designer outfits. They're specifying type of outfit, but from my limited knowledge they're not specifying any types that are in and of themselves outrageously expensive. Fashion's never been explicitly about wealth. A part of it is about taste and aesthetic sensibility.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:58 PM on February 12, 2010


using ditto markers to ditto something more than 1 line away!!!!!

/sharpens pitchfork
posted by muddgirl at 1:58 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seems like a lot of work just to have some drunken lacrosse player tear it off after 1 1/2 cosmos.
posted by Capt Jingo at 1:58 PM on February 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


"If 'waxed' means what I think it means, then a certain line has been crossed, and that line would be in the swimsuit area."

Women get all sorts of things waxed: eyebrows, moustaches, legs, backs, toes.
posted by Mitheral at 1:58 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, waxed could mean the eyebrows or other non-sexual parts, like legs and underarms.
posted by annsunny at 1:59 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fashion's never been explicitly about wealth.

I feel like laughing but it's just not coming out...

Fashion is always about wealth, or in recent decades the wealth substitute: time.
posted by muddgirl at 2:00 PM on February 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


Yes: Jeans, shorts, long & short sleeved shirts, tennis shoes.

No: Everything else.
posted by aerotive at 2:02 PM on February 12, 2010


That list makes me laugh but if you read through it, it's nothing different than every fashion critique you see on television or in women's magazines - tone it down being the main point. Dress young, you don't need a lot of makeup or sparkly shit, you don't need to dress like The Jersey Shore cast, etc.

I may have mentioned before I was in a (somewhat ill-fated) sorority for my last year of school in Florida. I can understand how these things work. I try not to admit this too often. In my sorority chapter, we tried to not be such Mean Girls-flavored dictators about this kind of stuff because it seemed catty and stupid.

Then we had 15 pledges show up between the ages of 17 and 20, half of whom had breast implants and owned both "casual" and "dressy" Juicy Couture velour jumpsuits. So we threw down the hammer. Lists like this one were circulated by the request of our new members who couldn't figure out what things like "business casual" meant, having never worked a goddamned day in their lives (and for the most part, neither had their mothers). So guidelines were drawn up. Collages were made of pictures of "Yes" and "No" outfits (Britney was heavily featured in both categories). Shopping trips were arranged. It was weird and gross, but then again so was all that velour.

The thing to remember here is that the girls who are drawn to sororities are of a generation who have watched sororities on film and television and want to live up to the "dream" - which boils down to "tits tits boys sparkly heels". This translates to them showing up to every event, including a meeting with the University President, looking like strippers. If you tell them that a terry cloth bedazzled jumper is not appropriate for a fundraiser charity tea with the Womens' Business Association, the next time they show up they will be wearing a school-logo hoodie, soffes and a giant stupid pouty face. Oh, and drinking an 84 ounce big gulp with a Red Bull chaser. This is the youth of America, people.

Sorority events are meant to bond the girls into a family unit (go ahead, say "clan" it will make us all feel better). Yes the Greek system is idiotic, no one argues this. But the method behind the madness here is the same as the one that takes a pimple faced kid in saggy jeans and turns him into a neatly pressed soldier (or crisply outfitted Gap CSR). Make them mirror each other and they identify with the group.

The dynamic is fascinating in Greek life because it's a social contract entered willingly, people PAY for the privilege. It's just a bunch of kids who want to belong and will pay for someone to teach them how to be proper WASPs (or pretend ones anyway). Despite the stereotypes, being celebutards in Juicy isn't the ideal for sorority girls, it's the (equally creepy) desire to be the beautiful upper-class housewife in pearls and a Ralph Lauren cardigan, serving cucumber sandwiches in the garden. Girls who have "bad reputations" get quickly shamed into submission or kicked out - act too rowdy or classless and you make the whole group look bad.
posted by SassHat at 2:03 PM on February 12, 2010 [46 favorites]


It's not just classist, but it's classism based on income rather than meritocracy
Why, what do you think fraternities and sororities are for? We had 1,000 students at my college, 95% on campus, all eating at the same time, so it was easy enough to form friendships and future business connections. My school was every bit as pricey as an Ivy, though there were a few poor kids on scholarship. But how to tell the right folks from the wrong ones? Meritocracy was handled by grades and grad-school admissions. What did we need frats for, if not be be classist?
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:04 PM on February 12, 2010


Fashion is always about wealth, or in recent decades the wealth substitute: time.

Of course there's wealth involved, but the way I always heard it was you weren't paying to spend money, you were paying so that somebody else would fuss over exactly what was attractive and what wasn't, so you didn't have to involve yourself. Hence the wealth substitute.

But when I interpret fashion, it's not like I have a little Wealth-O-Meter clicking away checking prices. Instead, it's all about — as I said — a certain aesthetic sensibility. How do those clothes look on you? Do they fit? Where is my eye drawn? How do they complement and contrast one another?

Many people spend lots of money so that other people can design things that work marvelously together, but I know plenty of people with uncanny taste who can pick out excellent outfits at K-Mart or Sears. You can probably get all the things specified in that guide at non-ultra-expensive stores.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:04 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Now it could be that the Cornell Pi Phi chapter has a narrow range of skin tones and hair types amongst its membership, but maybe not

So you're criticizing the pale-skin-tone advice based on a hypothetical?

As it turns out, if the Cornell Pi Phi chapter got any whiter it would be transparent. There appears to be one or two Asian girls and possibly an Indian girl. Nary a dark-skinned person to be found, though, so I think you're off-base on criticizing advice dealing with the skin tone of the actual members.

The lack of black members is not necessarily indicative of anything in particular. I believe Cornell undergraduate is something like 3% African American females, and in my experience there are usually a couple black frats and sororities, so it is unsurprising that this sorority would be lacking in black women.
posted by Justinian at 2:04 PM on February 12, 2010


I was immersed in Greek life around half a decade ago, and as far as ridiculous shit goes, this wouldn't even rank in the top 20. I'm also detecting a pretty obvious faux-bitchy tone. Maybe some of us are taking this more seriously than the actual sorority?
posted by naju at 2:05 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


the things she's "weird" about are things that EVERYONE who is sort of stylish is weird about. Like watches that light up, for example.

She also says that the watch must be a piece of jewelry. That's an anti-feminist reinforcement of the idea that a woman must be dependent upon a man to keep the time. A man's watch is allowed to be functional (even, gasp, readable in the dark), whereas a woman's must be just another decoration, interchangeable with a bangle. It turns my stomach, quite frankly.

I'm failing to see the classism. Nobody's telling people here that they need X and Y designer outfits. They're specifying type of outfit, but from my limited knowledge they're not specifying any types that are in and of themselves outrageously expensive.

"If you're wearing cheapo shoes, make sure they don't look it."

If your ears are pierced you must wear earrings, preferably diamond or pearls, to judge by the italics.

"Shoes: Nice flats: Tory Burch, etc." Tory Burch shoes range from about $200-$400.

The classism is quite apparent.
posted by jedicus at 2:06 PM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


The only Frat that I hung out at in college was AGR and they mostly wore plaid flannel shirts, turkey camo or deer hunter's orange.
posted by octothorpe at 2:07 PM on February 12, 2010


So you're criticizing the pale-skin-tone advice based on a hypothetical?

No, I was suggesting that if the hypothetical were true then there would be additional grounds for criticism. Evidently the hypothetical is not true, so I will not criticize the guide for being ethnocentric. Thanks for bringing in some facts.
posted by jedicus at 2:08 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


She's right about Ithica. The Trojans totally got waxed.
Achilles' mom gave him a mani pedi and he totally would die to hang out with Odysseus.

But fortunately I look good in (red) satin and can pull off booties, aka with my leather jock, bronze greaves and thracian helmet.

Our huggies, hoops and pearls are so adorably understated, the Cornell envoy said, that the hippie-chic cool of them will make or break your ensemble.
So much the better, for we shall accessorize in the shade.

"I won’t tolerate any gross plastic shizzzz... no obnoxious piercings!"
* glances at Prince Albert*
Molon Labe
posted by Smedleyman at 2:10 PM on February 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


She also says that the watch must be a piece of jewelry. That's an anti-feminist reinforcement of the idea that a woman must be dependent upon a man to keep the time.

Good God.
posted by Think_Long at 2:13 PM on February 12, 2010 [21 favorites]


Has no one linked to the sorority's site yet?
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:13 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is where I point out that the dress code comes from a sorority at an Ivy League school. Of course it's classist. What's wrong with 19-20yr olds wanting to joing the upper classes of society? More particularly, what's wrong with members of that upper class explaining how to look the part to up and comers?
It's a small part of the process by which an elite self-replicates, a symptom of the decline in social mobility that used to be one of the selling points of the American way:
...class is still a powerful force in American life. Over the past three decades, it has come to play a greater, not lesser, role in important ways. At a time when education matters more than ever, success in school remains linked tightly to class.
So, while I personally don't think anything particularly ill of the young women at the centre of this story (I'm not American and this describes a world more alien to me than some of the anthropological FPPs about far-flung climes we sometimes see here), I can see why the underlying subject matter wouldn't sit easy with people who prefer a meritocracy like it says on the tin.
posted by Abiezer at 2:13 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did you know how to dress appropriately when you were 19 or 20?

T-shirt, jeans, sneakers.

You've got the whole rest of your life to dress like old people. What's the rush?
posted by JackFlash at 2:15 PM on February 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


I intentionally had nothing to do with the greek system in college, but I did date a girl who was in a sorority. She kept getting fined for inane things like not wearing nail polish, wearing sneakers instead of heels, not participating in the 'dance marathon', and so on, so she left.

To be honest, this 'style guide' doesn't surprise me at all. What does surprise me a little is that anyone is shocked by such a thing. No one participates in the greek system because they want to be their own unique person. It's a system built on conformity and participated in (ostensibly) for social position, so having a document that details how to be just like everybody else seems perfectly in keeping with the whole organism. I mean, sure, it's laughable to me that anyone would want to 'go greek' at all, but it's not really a surprise that they do.

The derision is coming on a little weak, here, guys. I know it's the end of the week, let's make one last push.

Maybe the derision is weak because there's nothing really startling about this.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:20 PM on February 12, 2010


(I'm pretty sure The Straightener was joking)
posted by geoff. at 2:21 PM on February 12, 2010


Stuff like this is why, having hated high school, I specifically decided to attend a college with NO fraternities or sororities. It was my perception that they carried on the same type of behavior I disliked from the popular crowd in high school, expecting people to conform to certain rules, looking sideways at those who didn't and excluding them. I think college is a better experience if you don't put unnecessary pressure to conform on yourself, at least for four years until you enter the professional world and you have to. But I simply despise exclusive clubs of all kinds. I'm sure plenty of nice people belong to them, and half the reason is that I'd screw it up if I tried to join anyway.

The fashion rules here, some of them are decent advice but.. what's difficult is combining pretty basic, sensible advice with frequent "I'm weird about this, I'm weird about that." Umm.. none of your taste is the slightest bit weird, stop stressing people by making them wonder if a pair of well made, classic black pumps will be shot down even if they fit your rules, but you've reserved the right to just be plain "weird about shoes."
posted by citron at 2:23 PM on February 12, 2010


The author of that list has the saddest life.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:23 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's also astoundingly classist. The author name drops a lot of high-end brands and expensive types of jewelry.

Throughout, expensive brands are mentioned as style examples, not must-haves. In fact, one of the few times that a brand of jewelry is mentioned, it's when she's telling the reader that it doesn't have to be "Harry Winston."

These guidelines don't seem classist to me. It is perfectly possible to buy costume or simple, classic jewelry that is inexpensive but does not look cheap. Hell, you can buy earrings in the styles she mentions at Dillards, JC Penney's or Macy's for $20-$25.

She also requires a substantial investment in things like mani pedis, waxing, etc.

All of that (and shaving, which is mentioned further up,) can be done at home, with minimal expense.

Beyond that, just the sheer number of different outfits required would be expensive.

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Most of the clothing items she mentions are classic staples and can be purchased relatively inexpensively at department stores.

And frankly, they wanted to join a sorority. Part of doing so means dressing the part. These social organizations are a precursor to the corporate world.

I think she should have run a spelling and grammar check. I also think she should have removed all first-person references because it made her sound like a snotty control freak. But honestly, there's nothing in there I found terribly offensive.
posted by zarq at 2:26 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Don't mess with me." That's fantastic. Also fantastic is her casual mention of wanting to seduce pledges.

Though I disagree with the Tory Burch flats (they are so tacky, I don't care if they're in) and the requirement to get just about every possible salon service done, these really don't seem so bad. And I'm glad there's someone under 25 who recognizes that leggings are not actually pants.

I'd consider hiring the author as a personal shopper - even though I spent my college years gleefully wearing pajama pants, neon, and all sorts of plastic shizzz and I'd happily do it again.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:28 PM on February 12, 2010


Oh come on, really? Because for women at least, the strokes may be officially broad but unofficially are very narrow. "No fuck me heels" isn't written down, but it's still part of the code.

Tell that to the SYT who was having a smoke-break outside the building the other day when I was coming back from lunch.

SRSLY. They were 6in. heels if they were 2.

But, honestly, my first question about all of this is, people actually still join fraternal organizations at university? Really?
posted by clvrmnky at 2:29 PM on February 12, 2010


some fashion designer named Alex McQueen, who from what I can deduce based on the clothes and shoes he designed, absolutely hated women.

What?! Alexander McQueen, who reputedly committed suicide after being overwhelmed by grief for both his friend Isabella Blow and for his mother, to whom he was utterly devoted?

Alexander McQueen sent women down the runway who were far more "plus-size" than the original link's author would most likely tolerate. Beth Ditto, who is well beyond Miss Ithaca's dictated 130-pounds-or-less-for-certain-fabrics, wears Alexander McQueen.

You may not like McQueen's aesthetic, but to say he hated women is outlandish.
posted by Monsters at 2:30 PM on February 12, 2010 [16 favorites]


Eh, I have mixed feelings about this. I was in a sorority, and probably didn't belong in one. I certainly didn't enjoy it.

But did I learn how to dress myself, be professional, etc. etc. No one in our house ever had a list of printed rules, but you did get the gist of dressing for functions by watching upperclassman. And really, everyone dressed however they wanted most of the time. (Mostly sweats with greek letters on the butt. Not exactly classy.) But proper attire for functions (i.e. rush parties, dances, etc.) was the norm. People who weren't interested in that whole sorority thing were free to do their own thing.

However, I did notice the name of the specific sorority that put out this handbook and they didn't exactly have a great reputation for kindness to their fellow women on our campus. We were warned during rush that this specific sorority would be checking out the labels on our coats and also looking at the appropriateness and quality of what we were wearing. Rumors flew about girls being asked to strip on pledge night and circle the "fat" on their bodies with a Sharpie before a lecture about losing it; girls who were asked to lose weight were seated at the tables farthest from the kitchen at dinner and limited to salads; that the first night of pledging, pledges were asked to put themselves in order of prettiest to ugliest. Who knows if any of these things were true, but the members of that sorority didn't go out of their way to deny these rumors. In the end,experiencing the mind games and dysfunctional communication within the my house and others was enough to sour my experience, but I know some others who sincerely enjoyed it. To each his own.
posted by jeanmari at 2:31 PM on February 12, 2010


She also says that the watch must be a piece of jewelry. That's an anti-feminist reinforcement of the idea that a woman must be dependent upon a man to keep the time. A man's watch is allowed to be functional (even, gasp, readable in the dark), whereas a woman's must be just another decoration, interchangeable with a bangle. It turns my stomach, quite frankly.

Were you able to post that with a straight face? I honestly find your ridiculous interpretation of that way more sexist and offensive than the encouragement to not wear a watch unless it looks nice.

As for the classist stuff ... yes, it's kind of classist. But it's a sorority. These instructions are for existing members, so they're already paying ridiculous dues to the sorority -- they are expected to have SOME money. But, at the same time, unless you are SERIOUSLY dirt-poor (and thus probably unable to afford joining a sorority in the first place), it's not hard to meet her criteria.

For example, she mentions Tory Burch flats, with "etc". If I was in her sorority, I'd go look up Tory Burch flats, and then go find something similarly styled at Marshalls or TJ Maxx. If I didn't have accessories that fit the bill, I'd get some realistic-looking but inexpensive earrings or bangles at Kohls. Or I'd borrow something from the Queen Bee if I didn't have anything that worked.

As for manis/pedis/haircuts...well, you can DIY manis/pedis for cheap if you have to, and most sorority-minded girls would be getting their hair done regularly anyway.

Her brand names and specific examples were just EXAMPLES, allowing the girls to have a better picture of what she expected them to wear.

Also, "cheapo" shoes that look "cheapo" are ones that are obviously plastic or tacky-looking. You can get a nice looking pair of shoes at TJ Maxx or Marshalls for little more than total garbage that will wreck your feet and look like trash at Payless.

Pushy? Sure. A little over-the-top? Maybe. But I am with the other posters who think that it's really not THAT noteworthy. I am no fan of the greek system, but don't find anything remarkable in this list.
posted by tastybrains at 2:31 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


And I'm glad there's someone under 25 who recognizes that leggings are not actually pants.

Even American Apparel agrees. It makes me laugh to think some lawsuit threat might've caused that warning.
posted by naju at 2:31 PM on February 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


I've been to exactly two frat parties in my life. One was at a state school in Northern New England (I was visiting a high school friend). The guy sthere seemed to be harmless semi-jock lugs, who mainly sat around drinking beer and having barbecues & the like. The other was at an academic powerhouse school in NYC. Me and a female friend accepted an invite from two dudes we had met waiting in line to get autographs from Slayer*. It seemed like a typical college party only more so. The college where I went for two years didn't have any frats officialy, but some guys formed an unofficial one. It was mainly Italian & Latino guys from Brooklyn and the 'hazing' consisted of stuff like going to McD's to get a fratbrother a burger, and they had no house, so I think they just did it for the hats.

So, I've never had the tremendous hate-on for Greek Culture that some here have, and this whole thing is kind of amusingly alien to me.

*Really. The aforementioned female let Tom Araya sign her chest.
posted by jonmc at 2:32 PM on February 12, 2010


Cornell traditionally has some of the worse fashion of the ancient eight. I applaud this attempt to at least change it. However, the fact that the writer dislikes Forever 21 (which has awesome accessories) and seems to be okay with denim-leggings (which is a crime against humanity), I tend to see this list as an attempt to turn the sorority into an upscale version of the Long Island Princess which is ridiculous in it's own right.

The thing is, this list covers the time when the sorority is trying to looks its best. What about the fleece, sweatsuits, and Uggs that are worn when they go to class? Why are those crimes allowed to continue?
posted by Stynxno at 2:35 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


All of that (and shaving, which is mentioned further up,) can be done at home, with minimal expense.

Ah, but she doesn't simply say "wax your eyebrows." She says "Get waxed!!!!" and "get waxed, colored, cut and groomed." This indicates that it would be a service provided for you. Can you do it yourself at home anyway? Sure. But is she reinforcing the idea that the proper way, the best way is to pay for someone else to do it for you? Yes.

Throughout, expensive brands are mentioned as style examples, not must-haves.

You're right that it's not a requirement, but it sets the tone, the ideal. Your shoes could be "simple/elegant boots" or they could be "Tory Burch, etc" flats or "kate spade, etc" heels. Clearly the ideal shoes are the high-end designer shoes.

In fact, one of the few times that a brand of jewelry is mentioned, it's when she's telling the reader that it doesn't have to be "Harry Winston."

But the earrings are preferably diamonds or pearls, which aren't particularly cheap no matter what the brand.
posted by jedicus at 2:36 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


T-shirt, jeans, sneakers.
You've got the whole rest of your life to dress like old people. What's the rush?


Most old people I know also dress like this.
posted by maxwelton at 2:37 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


You've got the whole rest of your life to dress like old people. What's the rush?

Because you hope to have job interviews or an actual job or internship when you're 21. We've got interns in our office who are college students. They mostly dress fine most of the time, but every once in a while, we get a new one who's maybe never had an office job before and comes in looking All Wrong. Knowing how to dress appropriately (for the occasion, for the place) saves you and the people you work for embarrassment.
posted by rtha at 2:39 PM on February 12, 2010


(I'm pretty sure The Straightener was joking)

Yeah, I know.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:39 PM on February 12, 2010


Ten years ago, when I was a university newspaper editor, I wrote a style and editing guide for my sub-editors that was every bit as flouncy, officious, and self-absorbed. The only difference was that it told people how to write, edit, and behave, not how to dress. Semicolons instead of spaghetti straps.

I can hear you objecting that dictating dress and dictating writing styles are different - but is one really less personal than the other? Not for a writer. (Who, as a breed, barely dresses at all.)

This is a document from a student club - a student club that's explicitly about presentation and uniformity. Student clubs have rules, and student club leaders are officious little twerps. I don't see anything out of the ordinary or particularly objectionable here.

Mind you, I can barely dress myself at the age of 30.
posted by bicyclefish at 2:40 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


You've got the whole rest of your life to dress like old people. What's the rush?

There's a thrill that comes from knowing you look good. I've only really starting to piece together a nonhighschool wardrobe these last two months; before then I'd likely have agreed with you. But when you're wearing clothing that not only fits your form nicely but looks dashing on you, there's a little thrill that comes from it. People also react to you differently, not in huge ways but in ways that are somewhat noticeable.

In this case it's because the sorority is putting on a certain face. It wants to look like it knows something about looking good. And there's nothing inherently wrong with that desire. It's a little silly, but hey, college students are allowed to be silly, and part of being silly is worrying a little too much about if you look as gorgeous as everybody else.

T-shirts and jeans and sneakers are fine, but even then there's a difference in quality between the shit and the nonshit. I mean, it's a more relaxed fashion, but it's still fashion. It works great for college students, who probably can't afford much more. But it's fashion.

I love when things are so good I can notice them. Whether it's a web design or a novel or the way a girl dresses, if I actively notice myself enjoying it then it kind of makes me want to respond in kind. That's why I design web sites and write novels and worry about how I'm dressed. In my admittedly biased opinion, there's a youthful zest to fashion, even high fashion: It's a bunch of people saying "How can I dress in a way that's exciting and new rather than monotonous and cynical?"

But I get told frequently that I'm part of the problem, so feel free to cheerfully damn me and go about your day.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:42 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're right that it's not a requirement, but it sets the tone, the ideal. Your shoes could be "simple/elegant boots" or they could be "Tory Burch, etc" flats or "kate spade, etc" heels. Clearly the ideal shoes are the high-end designer shoes.

Except that "simple/elegant boots" is quite non-descriptive, and by providing brand names, she provides a solid example to go off of.

Pretty much everything out there is designer or a less expensive variation or knock-off of a designer's work. Concrete examples help, especially when you are giving suggestions to a pool of 18-22 year olds from different areas who probably all have different concepts of what constitutes "simple" and "elegant".
posted by tastybrains at 2:42 PM on February 12, 2010


T-shirts and jeans and sneakers are fine, but even then there's a difference in quality between the shit and the nonshit.

You have too much time on your hands.
posted by jonmc at 2:43 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


T-shirts and jeans and sneakers are fine, but even then there's a difference in quality between the shit and the nonshit.

You have too much time on your hands.


So do you
posted by freshundz at 2:44 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Were you able to post that with a straight face? I honestly find your ridiculous interpretation of that way more sexist and offensive than the encouragement to not wear a watch unless it looks nice.

You need to unpack your sense of what a watch that looks 'nice' is. Why is that a nice watch for a woman cannot be read in the dark? Why must it be made of a soft material like gold or leather? Why can't it be a durable, waterproof material like stainless steel? And why is it that a nice man's watch can be read in the dark and be made of stainless steel?

Requiring women to be adorned only with non-functional baubles while a man can wear functional things is sexist. It's right up there with requiring women to (at most) carry a purse while a man's formal wear can have pockets. Or requiring women to wear uncomfortable, harmful shoes that you can't run in while a man can wear just the opposite.
posted by jedicus at 2:45 PM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Your problem is not with the Ivy League. Your problem is with Pi Phis.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:45 PM on February 12, 2010


You have too much time on your hands.

I'm a college student.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:45 PM on February 12, 2010


Get a job, junior.
posted by jonmc at 2:46 PM on February 12, 2010


I get commissioned to design things for people. So admittedly I've got a bias here. A part of my upcoming life's work is based on learning how to make things look good.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:48 PM on February 12, 2010


Drop out of art school and become an accountant, junior.
posted by naju at 2:48 PM on February 12, 2010


What I'm finding hard to believe is that anyone but the author is truly going to read this. She would have been better off entirely by cutting and pasting fashion do's and don'ts from magazines and websites. But instead, she felt obligated to cast her measly, self-righteous opinion in the form of an awfully-read document that's likely twice as long as the assignments she turns in.

It's pathetic.

For anyone who wants a guide on how to dress or what "such & such" actually means, the internet knows no bounds and there are TV shows dedicated solely to this. Six pages isn't a "guideline", it's some sort of cute PowerPoint presentation, it's a disgusting portrayal of what young women think they need to do to impress not others, but themselves and their fellow sisters.
posted by june made him a gemini at 2:48 PM on February 12, 2010


It's kind of weird to have one person basically creating an army of lookalikes.
Is it really? Or is it just that we like making fun of sorority girls?

Ah, but she doesn't simply say "wax your eyebrows." She says "Get waxed!!!!" and "get waxed, colored, cut and groomed." This indicates that it would be a service provided for you. Can you do it yourself at home anyway? Sure. But is she reinforcing the idea that the proper way, the best way is to pay for someone else to do it for you? Yes.

Um, this isn't community college -- it's people with money. I used to cut my own hair and my own lawn, but I don't now because I have plenty of money not to do so.
posted by coolguymichael at 2:49 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


A part of my upcoming life's work is based on learning how to make things look good.

Really? What section of Wal-Mart will you be beautifying?
posted by jonmc at 2:49 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I get what you are saying about the watch jedicus, but I think you are off the mark. I think she is trying to avoid this by the description. And as far as I know, nice men's watches can't be read in the dark either, formal watches in general aren't made of stainless steel etc. You seem to be projecting onto men's watches things that aren't true.
posted by Carillon at 2:49 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


*not a cute..
posted by june made him a gemini at 2:50 PM on February 12, 2010


Drop out of art school and become an accountant, junior.

I thought the idea was NOT to be an old person.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:50 PM on February 12, 2010


jon, did Rory piss in your cornflakes?
posted by maxwelton at 2:52 PM on February 12, 2010


You need to unpack your sense of what a watch that looks 'nice' is. Why is that a nice watch for a woman cannot be read in the dark? Why must it be made of a soft material like gold or leather? Why can't it be a durable, waterproof material like stainless steel?

I have had many watches that were waterproof and had glow-in-the-dark numbers. They also looked nice, as nice as a bracelet. Why? Because I have taste -- if I'm going to bother spending money on something, I am going to love every aspect of it.

However, I rarely wear watches anymore. 1995 called and they want their timepieces back. Who needs a watch when we all have cell phones? Plus, I feel no need to compulsively know what time it is. If I care, I'll pull out my cell phone. Most of the time, I either know it because I'm at work sitting in front of a computer, or I'm not at work and I don't care.

Honestly, I think the whole "having a watch strapped to your wrist all the time so you always know what the exact time is" is really just The Man's way of making sure you are a slave to the rat race, and those of us who run around bare-wristed and fancy-free are the truly independent ones.

Maybe the sorority sisters of PiPhi have taught us all a little something about independence today.
posted by tastybrains at 2:53 PM on February 12, 2010


I hate young people, remember?
posted by jonmc at 2:53 PM on February 12, 2010


Why is that a nice watch for a woman cannot be read in the dark? Why must it be made of a soft material like gold or leather? Why can't it be a durable, waterproof material like stainless steel? And why is it that a nice man's watch can be read in the dark and be made of stainless steel?

Either you and I have different ideas of what constitutes "nice" is (stainless steel does not a "nice" watch make), or you and my SO do (her watch is both waterproof and quite durable).
posted by coolguymichael at 2:53 PM on February 12, 2010


I just caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I had a stark and depressing realization. I don't think I'd ever be able to be a part of this sorority.

Between my dirty jeans, thermal undershirts, and fuck-me-pumps, I'm thinking I'm just not the material they are looking for.

Being an unshaven guy with dirty fingernails in his mid 30's probably doesn't help either.
posted by quin at 2:53 PM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


And Rory, fwiw, I'm a designer too. What it took for me to look good wasn't someone else's opinions of what looks good, it was my own self-confidence and willingness to try new things. You see a style of shirt on a rack that doesn't look good but you've never tried it on? Do it.

I've resorted to buying my clothes online almost solely because being able to see it on real people with my physique is much different than on a hanger or on some drab model.
posted by june made him a gemini at 2:54 PM on February 12, 2010


Between my dirty jeans, thermal undershirts, and fuck-me-pumps,

*stares at quin's shoes*

Nope. Not working, dude.
posted by jonmc at 2:54 PM on February 12, 2010


I hate young people, remember?

HTH. HAND.
posted by Justinian at 2:55 PM on February 12, 2010


Which goes without saying, the author of this document is basing her style aesthetic on what likely looks good on her, and not what looks good on her sisters. Bodies from one girl to the next might not look too entirely different, but they are, and even skinny girls have nuances that another skinny girl doesn't need to "accommodate" for.
posted by june made him a gemini at 2:57 PM on February 12, 2010


god I'm glad I'm out of college.....
posted by HuronBob at 2:58 PM on February 12, 2010


And Rory, fwiw, I'm a designer too. What it took for me to look good wasn't someone else's opinions of what looks good, it was my own self-confidence and willingness to try new things.

Definitely a feeling I'm used to! And I do think this sorority thing is silly. Fashion guides written by young people are bound to be. But I it's a silly to laugh at, rather than one to be disgusted at. And, as I said before, having some semblance of a guide — not one that dictates what's good, perhaps, but one that gives a clue re:what's not — sounds to me like a marvelous idea. All the years I thought my black witty t-shirts were the epitome of sexy. I wish in fifth grade somebody'd given me a book about how not to completely be a schlub.

Once you know how not to suck, then you can start focusing on being actively good. Before then it's a crapshoot.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:58 PM on February 12, 2010


Why is that a nice watch for a woman cannot be read in the dark? Why must it be made of a soft material like gold or leather? Why can't it be a durable, waterproof material like stainless steel? And why is it that a nice man's watch can be read in the dark and be made of stainless steel?

The absolutely sexiest woman I ever hung out with (other than my beautiful wife, obviously) was a friend of mine from college who's watch of choice was her father's aviator. It was a big stainless steel thing that hung a size too big for her wrist.

I stand here today to tell anyone who asks, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman wearing a big clunky stainless steel watch. There are plenty of guys who are perfectly ok with it.
posted by quin at 3:00 PM on February 12, 2010


No one has mentioned beans yet. Has that joke been thrown out with glow watches?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:02 PM on February 12, 2010


Is it really? Or is it just that we like making fun of sorority girls?

I happen to hate the same social conventions that enforce the male formal dress code as well. You'll find few people who loathe putting on a suit and tie as much as I do, and I go to substantial lengths to avoid having to do so. And as I said above, I'd be just as angry about a similar fashion guide for fraternity members. Excepting the anti-feminist parts (e.g., the requirement that a watch be jewelry), this has nothing to do with gender for me.

And as far as I know, nice men's watches can't be read in the dark either, formal watches in general aren't made of stainless steel etc. You seem to be projecting onto men's watches things that aren't true.

A quick perusal of their website suggests that most Rolex watches come in stainless steel these days. Rolex also makes several models with luminescent dials. Most of the ads I see for high-end men's watches show stainless steel models.

What's more, even a plain, functional stainless steel men's watch that glows in the dark (and that even has a timer function) would be acceptable at most any formal occasion. Men can wear a single watch every day but women must have different watches for different occasions. It's a double standard, it's reinforced by this style guide, and it bothers me.

stainless steel does not a "nice" watch make

No, but this guide suggests that it is incompatible with a nice watch. Unless Rolex no longer makes nice watches, clearly a nice watch can be made of stainless steel.

I stand here today to tell anyone who asks, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman wearing a big clunky stainless steel watch. There are plenty of guys who are perfectly ok with it.

And I'm one of them. But the author of this guide would apparently disagree.
posted by jedicus at 3:02 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh come on, really? Because for women at least, the strokes may be officially broad but unofficially are very narrow. "No fuck me heels" isn't written down, but it's still part of the code.

Really? Do you work in a convent? I don't live in the liberal city, and 3-4 inch fuck me pumps have pretty much become the norm no matter how conservative the rest of the dress/suit/whatever.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 3:02 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, but she doesn't simply say "wax your eyebrows." She says "Get waxed!!!!" and "get waxed, colored, cut and groomed." This indicates that it would be a service provided for you. Can you do it yourself at home anyway? Sure.

Mrs. Deadmessenger, reading this over my shoulder, tells me that a home eyebrow wax job is a "recipe for disaster." Apparently, that's just one of those things that you've got to be an absolute idiot to try and do for yourself.
posted by deadmessenger at 3:05 PM on February 12, 2010


You have too much time on your hands.
posted by jonmc at 2:43 PM


Haha. Sometimes the jokes write themselves.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 3:05 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude, I'm home with an injury. I don't waste my time analyzing other people's clothes as a profession.
posted by jonmc at 3:08 PM on February 12, 2010


For anyone who wants a guide on how to dress or what "such & such" actually means, the internet knows no bounds and there are TV shows dedicated solely to this.

So it's okay to let the internet or a TV show tell you how to dress, but it's not okay to let your sorority sister tell you how to dress.

Gotcha.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:09 PM on February 12, 2010


Mrs. Deadmessenger, reading this over my shoulder, tells me that a home eyebrow wax job is a "recipe for disaster." Apparently, that's just one of those things that you've got to be an absolute idiot to try and do for yourself.

Fair enough. I retract that piece of evidence.
posted by jedicus at 3:10 PM on February 12, 2010


No one has mentioned beans yet. Has that joke been thrown out with glow watches?
On beans:

Yes:
Lentils
Garbanzo
Soybeans if they're consumed with the right meal: aka, not out of the can and eaten in underwear on a futon
No:
Mung
Lima. Ugh.
Anasazi I don't care if they're in season.
On plates:

Yes:
Porcelain
Stoneware
Cream or dark colors, but not both at once!!!!
Anything pastel should do fine
No:
Melamine
Paper: I shouldn't even have to tell you this
Anything colored like you'd expect it to be chic in Dagobah
Additional notes: Hopefully this isn't necessary, but guys. Beans on the plate. The plate is there for a reason, you are not just looking at it, you are putting the beans on it. I mean come on do you really need to be told that people
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:12 PM on February 12, 2010 [40 favorites]


See she says indiglo which really isn't appropriate in a nice watch, regardless of gender.

As for the stainless steel, I really figured that the point was to keep people away from those rubber strapped watches which to many people are the only watch that they might have.

What she is advocating doesn't seem to be a double standard, an equivalent watch to an appropriate everyday watch worn by a man would likely be acceptable. A man can't wear a rubber watch everyday or a shoddy looking piece and get away with it either. I know of women's watches that would be fine both in a more casual setting as well as formal occasions. That is the issue with a watch being jewelry, I don't think it is part of an anti-feminist angle.
posted by Carillon at 3:12 PM on February 12, 2010


I stand here today to tell anyone who asks, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman wearing a big clunky stainless steel watch. There are plenty of guys who are perfectly ok with it.

And I'm one of them. But the author of this guide would apparently disagree.


Dude, show me where she says "There is something wrong with a woman who wears a big clunky stainless steel watch" or "There are not plenty of guys who are okay with big watches".

All she says is "Here's how you're going to dress."
posted by 23skidoo at 3:17 PM on February 12, 2010


As a stylish gent, I have long decried the proliferation of camel toes and muffin tops.

Good to see that these pioneers from the Ivy League are taking the time to make the world a better place. This issue deserves its rightful spot amid Haitian relief work and AIDS research.

Wearing white shoes after Labor Day? In my day, we would flog men for less.

HAMBURGER!
posted by reenum at 3:18 PM on February 12, 2010


Dude, show me where she says "There is something wrong with a woman who wears a big clunky stainless steel watch"

"Unless your watch is a piece of jewelry you don't need it."

From the rest of the guide I'm going to hazard a guess that the author would not consider a "big clunky stainless steel watch" to be a piece of jewelry.
posted by jedicus at 3:21 PM on February 12, 2010


You need to unpack your sense of what a watch that looks 'nice' is. Why is that a nice watch for a woman cannot be read in the dark? Why must it be made of a soft material like gold or leather? Why can't it be a durable, waterproof material like stainless steel? And why is it that a nice man's watch can be read in the dark and be made of stainless steel?

So seriously overboard. I own a nice women's watch that is perfectly functional, waterproof and looks good.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:25 PM on February 12, 2010


Jedicus - I think you're misunderstanding the

"Unless your watch is a piece of jewelry you don't need it."

part. College kids use their phones to tell the time. Watches have become (even more so) a form of jewelry. It's not some statement about "only MEN can tell the time!"
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:27 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude, show me where she says "There is something wrong with a woman who wears a big clunky stainless steel watch"

"Unless your watch is a piece of jewelry you don't need it."

From the rest of the guide I'm going to hazard a guess that the author would not consider a "big clunky stainless steel watch" to be a piece of jewelry.


"You don't need to wear a watch unless it is jeweley" is NOWHERE close to "There is something wrong with women who wear watches that are not jewelry."

She said she'd tell them the time if they needed it. Since the purpose of a watch is to tell time, she is correct in saying they do not NEED a watch.

Try again to find where she said "There is something wrong with a woman who wears a big clunky stainless steel watch." It will be hard, because she never says anything like this.

All she does in this, like any other dress code, is say what is okay to wear and what is not okay to wear.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:29 PM on February 12, 2010


This looks great. One of my male privileges, I think, is that it's much easier to dress for work, and indeed socially. There is a more limited and conservative palette of clothes. If you wear a suit to work with a tie and iron your shirt and don't wear brown shoes with a black suit... you're fine.

But if you're a woman? Blouse? How big a collar? How decorated? How long a skirt? How high your shoes? And you'll be judged on it too. And all your clothes cost more, and you need more of them.

Anything that helps young women navigate this minefield is a good thing, I would have thought.
posted by alasdair at 3:31 PM on February 12, 2010


So seriously overboard. I own a nice women's watch that is perfectly functional, waterproof and looks good.

The existence of an exception does not disprove the notion that society in general and the author of this guide in particular have a double standard for men's and women's watches.

Just for starters: watches with few or no dial markings are almost always women's watches. Watches without second hands are almost always women's watches.

Watches have become (even more so) a form of jewelry.

Except for men they are functional pieces of jewelry. For women they are often substantially less functional

All she does in this, like any other dress code, is say what is okay to wear and what is not okay to wear.

Are you arguing that a big clunky stainless steel watch would be "okay to wear" according to the author of this guide?
posted by jedicus at 3:33 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or does this remind anyone else of Lucy Gao's birthday party instructions?
posted by estlin at 3:35 PM on February 12, 2010


jedicus: women everywhere are sleeping soundly because of your brave fight for sorority timepiece equality. Now, go have a beer or something.
posted by jonmc at 3:35 PM on February 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


not from American Apparel and worn with chic, cool, chunky boots over them

Um, no.
posted by HumanComplex at 3:36 PM on February 12, 2010


this is what happens when you have to apply to be friends with people.
posted by TrialByMedia at 3:37 PM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


All she does in this, like any other dress code, is say what is okay to wear and what is not okay to wear.

Are you arguing that a big clunky stainless steel watch would be "okay to wear" according to the author of this guide?


Nope. I am arguing against the last thing you said in this comment, that the author would disagree that there are plenty of guys who would like a big clunky watch on a woman.

The author makes no such specific claim, and more generally speaking, the author casts no judgment upon people who do or do not dress the way she wants them to dress. There is no "Ughghgh, don't wear a clunky watch, guys don't like that". There is nothing even close to that. There's just "Wear this, or else."
posted by 23skidoo at 3:43 PM on February 12, 2010


Eh, greek life is about as close to a formal social education as you get in this country. There's a lot of negative there, for sure, but there are a lot of very useful skills taught: how to make friends, how to deal with group politics, how to talk with girls/boys, how to dress well...

I dunno about you guys, but I would have gotten a lot more mileage out of a class that taught me how to dress well than, say, MTHSC 404 -- Advanced Multivariable Calculus That You Can't Use Anywhere in Real Life Because Nobody Outside of Academia Can Comprehend Let Alone Believe Your Results.
posted by LordSludge at 3:45 PM on February 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


Except for men they are functional pieces of jewelry. For women they are often substantially less functional

Less functional than what? Men's watches? If the watch has two hands and enough markings on the dial to tell you where 12/3/6/9 (some or all) are, then it's as functional as it needs to be. Is a watch with a second hand that much more functional than one without? Maybe if you're a Navy SEAL (but in that case, you're probably using some digital display computer that straps to your wrist), but watches I've had with second hands have never made more more prompt than ones without.
posted by rtha at 3:49 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't live in the liberal city, and 3-4 inch fuck me pumps have pretty much become the norm

hahaha where do you live, milwaukee? because here in the liberal city, we only wear 3-4 inch fuck me pumps with our pajamas. when we go out, we wear 6+ inch fuck me pumps
posted by toodleydoodley at 4:20 PM on February 12, 2010


jedicus: "Are you arguing that a big clunky stainless steel watch would be "okay to wear" according to the author of this guide?"

Who -- other than the ten or twenty people who want to be in this particular chapter of this particular sorority -- gives a crap what this woman thinks is okay to wear? As a feminist I greatly enjoy analyzing plates of beans, but I just can't find the gender battle here.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:21 PM on February 12, 2010


Watches without second hands are almost always women's watches.

What the what? I've never seen a watch without a second hand, could you show me an example? How can it even be a watch without a second hand? I have a really nice (Roots) watch that's stainless steel and totally readable, but it's also feminine and bracelet-y. I'm pretty sure it's not oppressing me in any sexist way, and I'm also sure it would pass the sorority girl check list. That said, sororities are weird & scary to me.
posted by zarah at 4:27 PM on February 12, 2010


Did you know how to dress appropriately when you were 19 or 20?

T-shirt, jeans, sneakers.


You damn kids get out of my wardrobe!

Seriously, it's long been my belief that when you don't have a product, packaging is everything. Nothing in this conversation is convincing me otherwise.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:34 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, it's long been my belief that when you don't have a product, packaging is everything.

What about if you think you have a good product and want it to be noticed? Just because the cover's good doesn't mean the book's shit.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:45 PM on February 12, 2010


Prior art.
posted by Evilspork at 4:53 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having read the list, it's put together well, left out ambiguity, and is just fine. If anybody is upset about it, it's because most people dress like absolute slobs these days. My dress shirt and tie costs less than some folks' sweatshirts now, yet I'm the one that's dressed up.

People really ought to look at a Brooks Brothers catalogue every now and again to get readjusted to reality.
posted by l2p at 4:54 PM on February 12, 2010


I went to college across the hill from these women. I spent 4 years in duck boots and parkas, except for that brief part of each year where I was covered in mayflies.
posted by Biblio at 4:55 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


zarah: "Watches without second hands are almost always women's watches.What the what? I've never seen a watch without a second hand, could you show me an example? How can it even be a watch without a second hand? "

My watch doesn't have second hand, and is a woman's watch (it has a small face, for a small wrist). But I don't think that makes it inferior. And my dad's watch was the man's version of the same watch (larger face, larger band; now worn by my sister), and it also didn't have a second hand.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:57 PM on February 12, 2010


How can it even be a watch without a second hand?

Maybe zarah is thinking about second hand as in the 2nd hand, not the unit-of-time hand, because there are plenty of watches with only two hands on their faces. I'm pretty sure there are quite a few with only an hour hand as well.
posted by Think_Long at 5:05 PM on February 12, 2010


Jedicus: Ah, but she doesn't simply say "wax your eyebrows." She says "Get waxed!!!!" and "get waxed, colored, cut and groomed." This indicates that it would be a service provided for you. Can you do it yourself at home anyway? Sure. But is she reinforcing the idea that the proper way, the best way is to pay for someone else to do it for you? Yes.

Women who can afford to have these services done by others will do so. Those who can't will do it themselves. For example, if someone tells me to "go get yourself some dinner" I'll either cook it myself or go out to eat, depending on the situation. She's setting a standard for a look. What she is telling them is that they need to be well-groomed. If they can do that themselves at a minimal expense, then she isn't telling them not to.

You're right that it's not a requirement, but it sets the tone, the ideal. Your shoes could be "simple/elegant boots" or they could be "Tory Burch, etc" flats or "kate spade, etc" heels. Clearly the ideal shoes are the high-end designer shoes.

No, the ideal is a simple, elegant shoe or boot that doesn't look cheap. And if they are passable, then I'm sure those don't have to be from a high end designer, either. Which means, "Don't Shop At Payless." But perhaps flats or boots from Nine West (who carry shoes which are also simple and elegant but don't look cheap and badly made,) would work. The Tory Burch style is conservative. not flashy and available from many other brands.

But the earrings are preferably diamonds or pearls, which aren't particularly cheap no matter what the brand.

I think the question we should be asking here is, "what look is she encouraging them towards?" rather than, "Is she expecting them to spend exorbitant amounts of money to look elegant?" Thoughout this document, she is urging them to adopt a classic, conservative look that is simple and well-balanced.

The reason that diamonds and pearls are mentioned is they usually go well with just about everything, without looking gaudy. As do the metallic earrings she mentioned: small simple hoops. I see no reason why costume jewelry -- fake understated pearls or diamonds wouldn't work just as well. I suspect the author of this document would find nothing to complain about, as long as the person wearing them chose understated designs that complemented a look, rather than overpowered it.
posted by zarq at 5:07 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


See she says indiglo which really isn't appropriate in a nice watch, regardless of gender.

This is an indiglo watch, which is quite nice as a dress watch, actually.
posted by deanc at 5:10 PM on February 12, 2010


Wow - I work in a cubicle in a Fortune 500 company and we have nowhere near this kind of dress code. Seattle, though, so there's that. Good thing, too, because I don't even own about half of what's on her "Yes" lists.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 5:10 PM on February 12, 2010


The "Alexander McQueen obviously hates women" thing is so tired. That's like saying David Lynch hates women because of how often he portrays them as whores or Hollywood chattel. Art is more than what you see on the surface, and despite what you may think, in McQueen's league fashion is about a lot more than just superficial appearances.
posted by hermitosis at 5:13 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


No, but this guide suggests that it is incompatible with a nice watch. Unless Rolex no longer makes nice watches, clearly a nice watch can be made of stainless steel.
Oh, so good watches have to be Rolexes, huh? All men have to go out and buy expensive Rolexes to tell time? God. You're such a classist.
posted by verb at 5:14 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nope. I am arguing against the last thing you said in this comment, that the author would disagree that there are plenty of guys who would like a big clunky watch on a woman.

Then you misread me, and I should have been more clear. I don't know what she might think about the existence of men that are fine with women who wear such watches. I was suggesting that she would disapprove of a sorority member wearing such a watch to the events this guide is about.

My watch doesn't have second hand, and is a woman's watch (it has a small face, for a small wrist). But I don't think that makes it inferior.

Without a second hand you can't use it to time things accurately.

Is a watch with a second hand that much more functional than one without? Maybe if you're a Navy SEAL (but in that case, you're probably using some digital display computer that straps to your wrist), but watches I've had with second hands have never made more more prompt than ones without.

Just FYI: Navy SEALs wear analog Luminox watches. For a dive computer they use the Cochran Navy.
posted by jedicus at 5:18 PM on February 12, 2010


Oh, so good watches have to be Rolexes, huh? All men have to go out and buy expensive Rolexes to tell time? God. You're such a classist.

I was simply using Rolex as an example because presumably if anything qualifies as a 'nice men's watch' it's a Rolex. I personally don't care what kind of watch, if any, anyone wears, man or woman. What I have a problem with is the notion that there are different kinds of watches that are appropriate for men and women (which is sexist) and the notion that only certain kinds of watches are appropriate for certain occasions (which is classist). I have a hard time understanding what's so controversial about those positions, particularly the former.

But that's enough about watches from me.
posted by jedicus at 5:21 PM on February 12, 2010


somewhere a choir is singing 'hallelujah."
posted by jonmc at 5:22 PM on February 12, 2010


Just for starters: watches with few or no dial markings are almost always women's watches. Watches without second hands are almost always women's watches.

jedicus, your argument has jumped the shark.

I followed the first Google link for "men's watches" to "All Watches". The first men's watch has a second-hand-less face with only 4 dial markings.

Seriously: there's real meat here (IMO), and you're obsessing on a fairly trivial detail.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:23 PM on February 12, 2010


I don't think it's unreasonable that a sorority should have a dress code, but this one was extraordinarily arbitrary and unhelpful.
posted by orange swan at 5:25 PM on February 12, 2010


jedicus: "Without a second hand you can't use it to time things accurately."

Has any woman ever been in a situation where she needed to time things to the second and she wasn't able to because her situation's dress code prohibited women from wearing watches with second hands?
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:28 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Without a second hand you can't use it to time things accurately.

There are plenty of men's watches that don't have a seconds hand either. The part of the appeal is that not needing to know the seconds is a status marker: a seconds hand implies that the wearer has "a great need for accuracy, as if he were something like a professional timer of bus arrivals and departures."*
posted by deanc at 5:30 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Without a second hand you can't use it to time things accurately.

I can't even believe I'm replying to this, but time what? Your speed at the track? If you need to be somewhere at 8pm, you don't need a second hand for that. Jesus. You dug yourself into this really weird hole and the additional digging did not help you.
posted by rtha at 5:34 PM on February 12, 2010


The reason this watch assertion is so embarrassing is it's like an unintentional strawmen mockery of feminism. I agree with tastybrains that it's more offensive to me than the actual instruction to only wear nice-looking watches.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:45 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the watch thing: is there anyone who wears a watch these days who doesn't wear it as a piece of jewelry? As someone remarked above, in 2010 phones tell the time, watches are jewelry. Given that, it seems a little presumptuous to insist that a watch be functional foremost.

The list is funny because it sounds so obsessive, but as nonsense goes, for it's time and place, it's pretty innocuous. It isn't Jersey Shore or the Real Housewives of [X], so that's a virtue by itself.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:56 PM on February 12, 2010


My whole college was a sorority, and we wore what we damn well pleased. Like most alumnae, I have one or two pairs of fuck-me shoes for special occasions, but what I generally wear is fuck-you shoes. They're tough, waterproof, and kick like a mule.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:56 PM on February 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


What about if you think you have a good product and want it to be noticed? Just because the cover's good doesn't mean the book's shit.

If I had an extra 15 minutes today it's a pretty safe bet that I would not have invested it in tying a perfect double Windsor. (I probably would have analyzed the data I collected for my little part of the "cure for Alzheimer's" thing I was working on.) If not having a perfect double Windsor kept me from being noticed by a person to whom such things mater - BONUS!

Now that I say this, I wonder why I'm wasting my time tucking in my shirts.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:07 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder why I'm wasting my time tucking in my shirts.

Why are you wasting time by wearing a shirt?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:12 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was simply using Rolex as an example because presumably if anything qualifies as a 'nice men's watch' it's a Rolex.
...Which is exactly why the author of this goofy little style guide kept referring to other major brands and using comments such as "Like [brand]..." when telling people what sorts of styles were acceptable.

And that was the point of my comment. The girl mentions brand names as examples and it means she's classist. You mention Rolex and it just means that you were naming a quality brand everyone knew, because, you know! Handwave handwave!

Let it go. If there is a critique to be made of this document it's that it is written badly. If there's a critique to be made of the rules themselves, it's that they are the rules for blending into a society that many people don't want to blend into. Analyzing every style rule for profound subtext is a losing game.
posted by verb at 6:15 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is hilarious.
I was in a great sorority at CU Boulder (and I am NOT a sorority type) and believe me, it HELPED when I got fashion "advice" or "rules." I had NO idea how to dress back in the day. I can totally see her passing this out during a meeting, reading through it with everyone, everyone laughing and knowing what she was talking about, and the "Dont mess with me" appears to be sort of tongue in cheek-I can totally see it. I got the same sort of thing before rush and understood the rules and was still allowed to be unique and individualistic within the confines of looking nice. It wasn't offensive back then and it isn't offensive now.

She's in charge of rush and has to get everyone looking nice. Its a big job with so many girls. I don't have much of a problem with it... it seems like a good idea. And to get them out of sweat suit and slutty shirts is a good idea.
Incidently, we weren't allowed to wear watches at rush because they didn't want us looking at the time if we were stuck talking to someone we didn't like.

I think you all are taking it way more seirously than you should. If you dress like she suggests, you will look classy and nice, but not dowdy. Not slutty. Not cheap. The girls in the house get it and probably appreciate it.
posted by aacheson at 6:25 PM on February 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


This looks like a dress guide for the rush events for all of the sisters when meeting prospective pledges.

That's DEFINITELY what this is.

Cornell fraternities (and there are nearly 50 of them) typically have many more pledge slots to fill than there are potential pledges. Most Cornell frats do a lot of canvassing and lobby decent pledges pretty hard to join. Fraternity rush at Cornell runs 3 - 4 months.

Quite the opposite with Cornell sororities. Sorority rush has very few events, all of which involve Helenic Society volunteers herding Freshman women from house to house on a rigid timetable, where the potential pledges outnumber pledge slots by a wide margin.

The dress guide is to aid sisters in presenting a uniform presentation / expectation to the potential pledges. Among other things, those potential pledges who don't show up in a similar uniform are quickly weeded-out.

(CU BSEE, 1984; male; former frat member)

Oh, I almost forgot (to the tune of Cornell's alma mater)...

High above a Pi-Phi's garter
Far above her knee
Stands the symbol of her honor
Her virginity
First she had it, then she lost it
Now it's gone for good
She went down on all the brothers
Like a Pi-Phi should

posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:25 PM on February 12, 2010


Oh, and if it's badly written, it's probably because the writer is in the Hotel School.

/hotelieiest
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:28 PM on February 12, 2010


Oops, I meant: /hotelieist.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:29 PM on February 12, 2010


I wonder why I'm wasting my time tucking in my shirts.

I'm not sure somebody with 1300 comments on the blue gets to play the "not-a-second-to-waste" card. I'm not judging, I'm just saying.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:00 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I had an extra 15 minutes today it's a pretty safe bet that I would not have invested it in tying a perfect double Windsor. (I probably would have analyzed the data I collected for my little part of the "cure for Alzheimer's" thing I was working on.) If not having a perfect double Windsor kept me from being noticed by a person to whom such things mater - BONUS!

I wouldn't invest it in tying a knot, either. Not right now in my life. But if I wore a tie every day, and took the minute a day it took to tie it each time, then I figure after a week or so I'd figure it such a small investment that I'd WikiHow it and be done with it.

But you live such a fastpaced savetheworld lifestyle that you don't have any free time to yourself. It's all curing Alzheimer's and posting a few thousand comments on MetaFilter, and taking the time to look down on people who think it's interesting to learn how to look good.

Years ago I realized that the socalled "oppressed" — the people who weren't socially "in", who didn't go out and have friends and dress nice and whathaveyou — spend much more time hating all the things they're not a part of than the people who're a part of those things spend there. Perhaps you don't like that some people tie better knots then you, but at least they're not as openly bitter or selfimportant.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:11 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


FWIW, SEALs wear whatever they want. There's no standard watch or anything.
posted by squorch at 7:16 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Proper attire for pillow fighting in slow motion is important.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:17 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The clothes? You guys are connipting about dress code?!? The weight, color, and looks if the PEOPLE are also regulated, you know. It's almost as though you're not seeing the girls for the wardrobe, which would be letting the terrorists win.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:18 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Another thing I didn't like about is that some of the advice (particularly the makeup and hair section) is ethnocentric and obviously aimed at lighter-skinned people with non-African hair. Now it could be that the Cornell Pi Phi chapter has a narrow range of skin tones and hair types amongst its membership, but maybe not, in which case, well, fuck that.


If you are referring to her mention of "light foundation" or "light cover up" in the make-up section, she means lightly applied.

And I see "people with 'African hair'" wearing the styles she suggests all of the time.
posted by jgirl at 7:19 PM on February 12, 2010


I haven't worn a watch for years. My BlackBerry knows what time it is.
posted by zarq at 7:20 PM on February 12, 2010


Oh, and it glows in the dark, too. :D
posted by zarq at 7:20 PM on February 12, 2010


Watches without second hands are almost always women's watches.

Bullshit. I own two analog watches, both decidedly "masculine-looking", and neither of them have a second hand.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:30 PM on February 12, 2010


I can't remember if this was linked here or on Fashionista:

And to be honest…a lot of folks in the working world could greatly benefit from a little beauty boot camp. The amount of shoulder pads I encounter daily astounds me; skirts that are better suited for school marms seem to be a cursory trend in the District; for many of these folks, dowdy would be a compliment.

She must know me!! And my diamonds, pearls, and Hamilton Boulton (with second hand) must not be helping!
posted by jgirl at 7:31 PM on February 12, 2010


On the watch thing: is there anyone who wears a watch these days who doesn't wear it as a piece of jewelry? As someone remarked above, in 2010 phones tell the time, watches are jewelry. Given that, it seems a little presumptuous to insist that a watch be functional foremost.

I don't want to have to dig through my purse to get my cell phone to tell the time, when I can just look at my wrist.

(My watch is a men's leather strap Timex with indiglo, so I just fail on all accounts.)
posted by Lucinda at 7:39 PM on February 12, 2010


I'd love to see somebody try to pull this in an Australian university. Engineering chicks in army surplus cut-offs and comfortable t-shirts would nail her to something wooden with something metal.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:04 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Years ago I realized that the socalled "oppressed" — the people who weren't socially "in", who didn't go out and have friends and dress nice and whathaveyou — spend much more time hating all the things they're not a part of than the people who're a part of those things spend there. Perhaps you don't like that some people tie better knots then you, but at least they're not as openly bitter or selfimportant.

How arrogant. 'Years ago' when you were like, what, 16? Even if we grant that you're the rare special snowflake exception, pretty much no one in your peer group, the one that you're drawing conclusions from, has their shit together.

Anyway, part of Junior Chuck the Great's point is that you get to exercise some control over your social life based on what you wear-and it just isn't the case that people who dress better have better social lives. I know how tie a double windsor, but dressing casual, generic, and/or invisibly means that people who care deeply about fashion tend to look through me, which is a big win because I probably didn't want to talk to them anyway.

I have never failed to have an interesting conversation with someone who asked me about my Metafilter shirt.
posted by Kwine at 8:28 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


How does a person get into an Ivy League university and not know the difference between "a.k.a." and "i.e."?

She's saying "Booties ok if you can pull them off, also known as probably not."
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:28 PM on February 12, 2010


Wow, some people are pretty clueless. It looks like a perfectly useful style guide to me. Is anyone confused as to what the author is trying to say? It doesn't look like it. Success! A couple points:
1. If you are going to dress up you may as well do it properly. This includes watches.
2. Watches are entirely unnecessary for formal events. Actually, anything that looks too functional is entirely unnecessary for a formal event. Of course, formal events are entirely unnecessary.
3. There's nothing wrong with liking to dress up.
4. It is my understanding that Fuck-Me-Heels are at least 5-6 inches. The shorter you are the taller they can be before veering into fuck-me territory. Anything under 4 inches is pretty pedestrian. (har har)
5. I like lists.
posted by captaincrouton at 8:34 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


How does a person get into an Ivy League university and not know the difference between "a.k.a." and "i.e."?

"Booties ok if you can pull them off, also known as probably not."


It's a little nonstandard, but to me it just looks a little affected, a little cute. The kind of "cute" thing I tend to do, actually, because English is not my first language.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:47 PM on February 12, 2010


Yeah, that is not an error; it's simply a bit of patois.
posted by Justinian at 8:57 PM on February 12, 2010


Watches are not to be worn at formal social events because it implies that you have something else to do that is more important than this perfectly lovely party you've agreed to attend. It's an etiquette rule, not a fashion one.

Also, sorority members at rush events don't need to wear watches because the whole rush system at big schools is run on a horrendously efficient timetable. Each group of pledges is greeted with song, told what makes this house special, entertained with a skit, and sent on their way. Next group pulls up in three minutes, repeat ad nauseum.

(For my sins, I was a charter member of a private university's Theta chapter. Our rush was more like "hey, you want to be in a sorority? Go talk to Diane.")
posted by catlet at 9:18 PM on February 12, 2010


Maybe zarah is thinking about second hand as in the 2nd hand, not the unit-of-time hand

Ah duh! Yes, that's what I was thinking 8)
posted by zarah at 9:19 PM on February 12, 2010


How arrogant

No, not arrogant. She's being defensive because the house drunk is baiting her with insults about her choice of education and career.
posted by zarah at 9:28 PM on February 12, 2010


He, not she. Duh part deux.
posted by zarah at 9:30 PM on February 12, 2010


If you are referring to her mention of "light foundation" or "light cover up" in the make-up section, she means lightly applied.

no IS WHITEFACE
posted by eddydamascene at 10:25 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dittoing what catlet said. As a former sorority girl, I can tell you that watches were strongly discouraged (and in my house's case, outright banned) from rush events so as to remove the temptation to glance at your watch when chatting with a rushee. The last thing you wanted to do was ever give the impression that you were bored or wanted out of a conversation, which a glance at a wristwatch could convey.

And anyway, rush events are very tightly controlled; the coordinators know exactly how long each party is, how long each rushee-sister interaction is supposed to be, and they're the ones who keep things moving. It's the sister's responsibility to get to know the potential pledge as best she can within the time constraints, and to sell the sorority to the rushee as well.

In my own experience, a dress code like this would've been nothing out of the ordinary. Hell, some of the other houses on my campus could've benefitted from such a mandate.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:46 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Previously; second time's a charm, I guess.
posted by TedW at 2:18 AM on February 13, 2010


As a watch geek, I have to say this. The price/brand of a watch has nothing to do with it's appropriateness for a given situation. This $6000 Rolex is sporty, and not for formal occasions. This $5000 Baume & Mercier is more appropriate.
And this $2.5 Million Vacheron Constantin is on my wish list. (C'mon you people, my birthday is in a week.)
posted by bashos_frog at 5:33 AM on February 13, 2010


Pastabagel mentions the IBM dresscode. My father was at IBM, and when fellow Swedes were brought over to the US for their skillsets and worked under him, he would not speak to them until they followed the code. This may seem mean when the code wanted three piece suits, dress socks, and I think that "engineer-beard" look started at IBM, but the Swedes would show up with mismatched suit pants to jacket, and striped white tube socks. Eyesore.
posted by dabitch at 5:53 AM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, some people are pretty clueless. It looks like a perfectly useful style guide to me. Is anyone confused as to what the author is trying to say?

Dress like me, buy expensive brands (or stuff that looks expensive), get expensive services done, and don't forget to totally ignore your own style? Because that's what it says to me.

But I am a big believer in individualism, so there you go. And I like dark eye makeup, flat shoes, and chandelier earrings.

3. There's nothing wrong with liking to dress up.

There's nothing wrong with not liking to dress up either. Or wearing a watch. Or wearing dark lipstick, for that matter. this whole list is extremely classist, conservative, and totally arbitrary.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:35 AM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


How arrogant. 'Years ago' when you were like, what, 16? Even if we grant that you're the rare special snowflake exception, pretty much no one in your peer group, the one that you're drawing conclusions from, has their shit together.

Well, yeah. I thought that was how it works. When you're 16, you think it's totally cool to be antioppressor and flaunt the rules and hate on people that do things you can't do. It doesn't just come from emo nonconformists. The same instinct is what leads to the stereotypical dumb jock who beats on people smarter than them. So it runs both ways.

Then, by the time you're, say, 19, you start realizing that there's more to the world than your backwater social group, and that everybody's actually pretty cool, regardless of who they are or what they like or how they feel about things. Then you mellow out a little bit and start getting into things you'd never have touched, you stop insulting everybody who's a little bit different than you are, and generally you find your niche.

At least, that's how it's supposed to happen. Growing up. But a lot of people take their previous immaturities upon themselves as badges of pride, and refuse to accept and embrace others, and keep on being utterly frustrating people who act like they're afraid of getting wedgies. It's obnoxious, and it contributes nothing.

So, when somebody proudly boasts about their ignorance regarding fashion, I see it as them not having totally grown up. I have the same reaction when atheists get thoroughly obnoxious about religion, even when I agree with their beliefs. Regardless of if your opinion's informed or you're totally clueless, being obnoxious just alienates other people.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:51 AM on February 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Look, the list is a wholly ridiculous thing to bitch about. People don't join sororities (well, most sororities, anyway) as an expression of individualism, or as a way to confirm their very special snowflakiness.

They join because of an image. Each house has a very distinct image they project to the rest of the campus -- alpha dogs who are beautiful and get 4.0s; the margarita queens; the down-to-earth fun girls; the brains; the athletes; the girls who are abundantly rich, gorgeous, and vapid, etc. -- and the whole point of rush, if you choose to participate, is to figure out which of these images you'd like to incorporate as your own.

Whining about this list being a detriment to individuality is like complaining about math having numbers. It's part of the scene, and the girls who elect to become part of the greek system know this full well. This isn't rocket science.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:51 AM on February 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Honestly, I took a look at it to get an idea of where to start updating my clothing.

I work at an extremely casual company (sweatshirts, sneakers and ponytails are just fine for my peers and me). For ten years I've not moved beyond the sorts of things I wore in college.

But now I'm going to business school, and it is a different world. There was a heated debate last year over a proposed dress code for school! that required suits for everyone. It was narrowly defeated, but the people who wanted a suited dress code are still applying those standards to all of us. I am starting to suspect that many of my peers and the faculty do not take me seriously because I dress at school as I do at work.

My family is working class, and I did not learn these sorts of things. Until now it was unimportant, but if I want to be treated like a responsible, thoughtful adult woman, I'm going to have to start performing femininity instead of simply being myself. I will hate having to prance around like some sort of overfed halter-class quarter horse, but it will be better than being dismissed and belittled as being unserious. And I suppose that's how gender standards get enforced.
posted by winna at 7:14 AM on February 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


It isn't "ridiculous" to point out just what this list is - an attempt at controlling people's personal habits and not some kind of harmless style manual.

Is it also ridiculous to claim that this person's opinion of what looks good is terrible? No, because guess what, style is up to the individual. Yes, there are some guidelines by self-declared experts out there (usually in it for some material gain), and social norms on business dress and the like, but in general this list is itself written by a control freak and just comes across as superficial, classist, whiny, and totally arbitrary. That it's extremely poorly written just adds to that image.

Defending this list (and by extension, the sheep mentality of sororities) is what's really ridiculous.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:30 AM on February 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dude man who else is missing the shit out of Zambrano right now?
posted by The Straightener at 8:59 AM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


At a time when education matters more than ever, success in school remains linked tightly to class.

This is sort of a tautology, isn't it? Why does education matter more than ever? Because class matters more than ever.
posted by limeonaire at 9:04 AM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


l2p: "People really ought to look at a Brooks Brothers catalog every now and again to get readjusted to reality."

Why? Did someone die? Seriously, I'm a grown up and I wear a suit and tie about once a year for a wedding or funeral. They'd laugh at me if I showed up for work in a suit.
posted by octothorpe at 9:09 AM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not feeling the outrage either, but I did find this amusing.

Look, I'm as classist as the next guy -- seriously, you should see what people are wearing to the opera this season [not being ironic] -- but I look back to my 18 year old college freshman self and think of how he would react to something like this. Newly liberated from a repressively religious household, abundant drugs, fascinating new friends, free to stay out and do whatever I want and now you're asking me to spend all day dressing up like what now? FUUUUCK. YOU.

Seriously, I've always thought it so conveniently nice that the Greek system sorts these people out of your life right at the age that it matters.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:37 AM on February 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


It isn't "ridiculous" to point out just what this list is - an attempt at controlling people's personal habits and not some kind of harmless style manual.

Indeed, the issue here isn't what to wear or not wear, or if dress codes in and of themselves are kosher.

A queen bee is dictating to the underlings, what to do and not do, based upon her own unabashed personal inclinations. And it's done in a style and tone that makes one think of junior-high-school-girl cliques. And this is done in a university environment, which is supposed to promote higher ideals than wearing the right clothes to fit in to the right crowd.

25 years ago, my college roommate was fined by his fraternity for wearing white shoes after Labor Day.

Sounds like a rather, um, flamboyant fraternity. Makes me think of this.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 9:44 AM on February 13, 2010


Why? Did someone die? Seriously, I'm a grown up and I wear a suit and tie about once a year for a wedding or funeral. They'd laugh at me if I showed up for work in a suit.

This comment strikes to the heart of the matter, I think. Octothorpe, you don't need to wear a suit though some people's jobs require them to. I have to be well-groomed and dressed professionally for work every day, but in my office that only means a dress shirt, tie, slacks and dress shoes, but no suit jacket for most work-related meetings in and out of the office. This week, I'm working at multiple events where my usual work clothes would look out of place, so I'm mostly wearing black: dress shirts, slacks and shoes, no tie or jacket.

Every organization probably sets their own standard, which is probably dictated by the environment in which they operate. IBM and Microsoft's expected dress code is no doubt different than that for working at Macy's or Old Navy.

This sorority has certain outlined dress code requirements for their events. Not all do. Seems pretty straightforward to me.
posted by zarq at 10:04 AM on February 13, 2010


It isn't "ridiculous" to point out just what this list is - an attempt at controlling people's personal habits and not some kind of harmless style manual.

People who chose to join, or want to join, that sorority. If you don't want to be a sheeple who has to listen to what this woman says about what you should wear, you are free to exercise your independence by not joining.

Newly liberated from a repressively religious household, abundant drugs, fascinating new friends, free to stay out and do whatever I want and now you're asking me to spend all day dressing up like what now? FUUUUCK. YOU.

So don't join. Easy. It's not like you have to listen to her if you don't want to be part of that group.

Every campus with a Greek system has Greek organizations that will not ask you to wear this kind of jewelry or those kinds of shoes. If you don't know the rep of the frat or sorority you're rushing, you shouldn't be rushing it.

The sorority I joined in college was a no-status sorority. Our rushes were relaxed and fun....Until we hooked up with a national, and the next rush, the national came in and dictated everything to the nth degree, and it was awful, so I went inactive. If they'd been like that from the start, I wouldn't have joined. No one's forcing these girls to rush this particular sorority.
posted by rtha at 10:16 AM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The style guide does not mention Crocs (not all Crocs have open toes), sweatpants with words printed on the butt, clothing with very big logos, burqua, hijab - or wearing no makeup at all.
posted by iviken at 10:17 AM on February 13, 2010


burqua, hijab

With the wide variety of stylishness to frumpiness that I've seen in hijabis, I wouldn't be surprised if Islamic sororities start doing this kind of thing sometime down the road.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 AM on February 13, 2010


Dress like me, buy expensive brands (or stuff that looks expensive), get expensive services done, and don't forget to totally ignore your own style? Because that's what it says to me.

That's exactly what this style guide is saying for formal events. Communication Success!
If you don't like it, don't join the sorority.
posted by captaincrouton at 10:39 AM on February 13, 2010


I want to hate this, but I love the author's instructions. So torn!
posted by ukdanae at 10:58 AM on February 13, 2010


Style is not individual. Ever. Unless you're in the top .5% of people in terms of creativity and you have time to make you own stuff. That's almost no one. So let's just assume that you don't make your own super-creative clothes.

Your earrings? You bought them from a store. A buyer, or a team of buyers, picked them out and bought them based on what would sell to the most people at the right price point.* Before that, someone designed them, probably based on another, existing design. All you did was buy them. That is not some sort of amazing achievement that makes you better than people who choose to buy other stuff. It means you have fifteen dollars and you got yourself to a store. That's not your personality. That's not who you are.

If you think that a list like this is going to harm anyone or anything in any meaningful way, stop putting your personality on in the morning.

You can say what you like about this being classist, but truth is that those of you who are too cool to conform are busting out some classism yourselves. Good for you, you don't have to wear a uniform to work, thank God you can express yourself unlike hotel maids and the folks at McDonald's and the people doing data entry. Hope that makes you feel awesome about your class privilege.


*This changes based on the brand but let's roll with the mass-market because really, we're not on the waiting list to buy the limited edition Cynthia Rowley dresses made out of photos of her most recent collection. Unless you are in which case call me.
posted by kathrineg at 1:08 PM on February 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


Or to put it another way,
“You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue. It’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? …

“… And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you, by the people in this room.”
posted by shiu mai baby at 1:17 PM on February 13, 2010 [12 favorites]


> My family is working class, and I did not learn these sorts of things. Until now it was unimportant, but if I want to be treated like a responsible, thoughtful adult woman, I'm going to have to start performing femininity instead of simply being myself.

Never been so happy to be a grad student in the arts. The rich pretty girls HAVE to respect me or I fail them. Even IF I look like a working class, gothish, chubby freakshow. Meritocracy happens!

This also makes me reflect on my classmate who looks like nobody more than Gabby Sidibe and wears a sorority badge daily. I'm so glad there are sororities which offer women like her a comparable service and companionship. It's just not true anymore that all sororities are like the one in the post.

I'm still really curious about what goes on in the Greek system. It was banned in my undergraduate school, and I'm really ignorant to its actual significance, beyond the stereotypes.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:23 PM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


For those of you who think this kind of stuff doesn't hurt impressionable young people in college, I would like to remind you of Suzanne Pomey and the scores of young people who get into credit card debt trying to keep up with their peers.

I didn't know Metafilter had so many mean girls, btw. I mean, in one thread you rip Taylor Swift to pieces for being skinny and blonde, and now you reveal that you secretly crave a manual on how to be liked for what you're wearing while you're at college.

I'm thinking they don't let in fat girls or the disabled, or girls who wear glasses.

Good for you, you don't have to wear a uniform to work, thank God you can express yourself unlike hotel maids and the folks at McDonald's and the people doing data entry. Hope that makes you feel awesome about your class privilege.

Who wears uniforms doing data entry? What does any of this have to do with working (aside from the argument that manuals like these are important so girls know how to dress in the workplace). They are in a pretty expensive college, a place that doesn't have strict dress codes, aside from the college sponsored orgs who have decided to force you to buy Tory Burch flats.
posted by anniecat at 1:55 PM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sure the new edition will have something about dying your labia or bleaching your anus. I'm sure the commands regarding waxing pubic hair issue was just an oversight and they have a spring/summer addendum.
posted by anniecat at 1:59 PM on February 13, 2010


People really ought to look at a Brooks Brothers catalogue every now and again to get readjusted to reality.

Isn't that the catalogue where everyone's on a South African plantation and they have one light-skinned black friend? Some reality you got there.
posted by anniecat at 2:04 PM on February 13, 2010


I didn't know Metafilter had so many mean girls, btw. I mean, in one thread you rip Taylor Swift to pieces for being skinny and blonde, and now you reveal that you secretly crave a manual on how to be liked for what you're wearing while you're at college.

Not sure if you're responding specifically to me so this may or may not be relevant to your point, but I never ripped Taylor Swift anywhere. I do get annoyed when she wins stuff because I like Beyonce more. Of course I have a small mp3 player and right now I only listen to ABBA, Beck, Beyonce, Cabaret, Cake, and the Clash. For obvious reasons.

I'm not sure what manual I personally need for being liked. I wasn't particularly popular in college because I was an super-quiet egomaniac who hated nature. I did have ugly shoes, maybe that had something to do with it. Guess I'll never know.

Who wears uniforms doing data entry?

Uh, the people who have to wear certain kinds of office clothes. Guess that's not technically a uniform!

What does any of this have to do with working (aside from the argument that manuals like these are important so girls know how to dress in the workplace).

There are significant number of people in this thread who seem to feel that one's individuality, selfhood, coolness, intelligence, or whatever are inextricable from the way that one dresses to the point that being told how to dress for a three-day event would rip them to the very core of their being. The logical conclusion is that people who wear uniforms are just not as cool as those of us who go to work in a clever limited-edition threadless tee and/or stripper heels.
posted by kathrineg at 2:19 PM on February 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Or to put it another way,

shiu mai baby, you stole my brain! I love that speech.

What does any of this have to do with working

Have you seen the askmes? The ones that are a variation on "I'm starting my first job - what should I wear?"

See also 1, 2, 3, 4

Those of us who don't see what the big deal is regarding a style manual aimed at people who want to join this organization aren't mean girls because we think this, so quit it with that, please.
posted by rtha at 2:20 PM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Look, I'm as classist as the next guy -- seriously, you should see what people are wearing to the opera this season [not being ironic] --

Whereas I grew up in an English family long indebted to the Victorian self-improvement efforts of my great-grandparents, and where my grandmother was a serious classical pianist and my mother did her degree at the London Royal Academy of Music (viola). The approach to high culture-- Shakespeare, opera, whatever-- was that you never dressed up beyond what you might wear for work. Overdressing for the opera, you see, demonstrated that you only went on certain occasions, and weren't a serious listener. Dressing up was, in fact, déclassé as the idea was that you were so at home with culture that it was part of your ordinary life.
posted by jokeefe at 2:27 PM on February 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


For those of you who think this kind of stuff doesn't hurt impressionable young people in college, I would like to remind you of Suzanne Pomey and the scores of young people who get into credit card debt trying to keep up with their peers.

Suzanne Pomey is a thief who spent a hell of a lot of money on a lot of shit besides clothes, not sure what that has to do with anything.

If you want to criticize consumerism, fine; this woman didn't invent it and it's bizarre to hold her up as a symbol of all that is wrong with consumerist, debt-laden America. For one thing, wages have been going down, did she cause that? Credit card companies show up at freshman orientation, did she cause that?
posted by kathrineg at 2:28 PM on February 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Of course I have a small mp3 player and right now I only listen to ABBA, Beck, Beyonce, Cabaret, Cake, and the Clash. For obvious reasons.

I am pretty confident that this is the best comment I will read here this week.
posted by jokeefe at 2:36 PM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


For those of you who think this kind of stuff doesn't hurt impressionable young people in college, I would like to remind you of Suzanne Pomey and the scores of young people who get into credit card debt trying to keep up with their peers.

I see what you're saying, but Pomey's really not a good comparative example. The specifics of her case were unique, or at least extremely rare. Pomey spent her Harvard career stealing other people's money and spending it on all sorts of luxuries in order to buy herself friends. Her partner in crime, Gomes, snorted the money he stole up his nose. The people reading this document aren't being told to emulate her.

Peer pressure can make people do stupid things, like overspend their means. And yes, that does happen in college, whether or not one is a member of a sorority or fraternity. Kids are often leaving their parents homes for the first time and enjoying their first taste of freedom. If they haven't learned the value of money before they arrive, they may make poor financial choices.

But for the reasons I stated above, I remain unconvinced that the young woman who authored that document is urging her young and impressionable charges to spend thousands on a wardrobe. I'm also not convinced that giving reasonable fashion advice that may just serve someone in good stead in their future professional or social endeavors is a bad idea.

Interestingly enough, Ross G. Douthat, who is quoted in that article, used to pen a blog for The Atlantic and now writes for the New York Times.
posted by zarq at 2:55 PM on February 13, 2010


Shui mai baby: Was the movie you quoted worth seeing? I passed it by when it came out, but that is a fantastic monologue.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:09 PM on February 13, 2010


Rory: That monologue scene is one of my favorites in all of cinema. I liked the movie overall, for the most part. Hathaway, Tucci, and Blunt are terrific, but it's Streep who makes the movie (of course). The sartorial eye candy is sublime. My biggest beef with the film is that Hathaway's character has lousy, lousy taste in friends and boyfriends; they all give her a hard time for giving everything to her job. it's maddening, really, because if I were a young woman who had the opportunities she does in the story? You bet your ass I'd sacrifice like hell for it, and I would hope I'd be surrounded by people who could appreciate what i was doing.

tl;dr version: totaly worth the rental; brace yourself for some obnoxious non-feminist attitudes towards relationships in Hathaway's character's personal life.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:25 PM on February 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you want to criticize consumerism, fine; this woman didn't invent it and it's bizarre to hold her up as a symbol of all that is wrong with consumerist, debt-laden America. For one thing, wages have been going down, did she cause that? Credit card companies show up at freshman orientation, did she cause that?

You don't get what I'm saying. Calm down and try again, with a little less bizarre huffing and puffing.
posted by anniecat at 3:32 PM on February 13, 2010


I remain unconvinced that the young woman who authored that document is urging her young and impressionable charges to spend thousands on a wardrobe.

She's not urging them to; she's implying that the only people who can get in are the girls who have the means (or can get the means) to meet those standards. It's like Sweet Valley High. Hopefully this rich girls' club doesn't receive funds from Cornell, which, by the way is a state university.
posted by anniecat at 3:37 PM on February 13, 2010


Suzanne Pomey is a thief who spent a hell of a lot of money on a lot of shit besides clothes, not sure what that has to do with anything.

Suzanne Pomey was a middle class girl from Kentucky who got into Harvard and developed a taste for social climbing and appearing to be someone she really was not. She needed a lot of money to do that. And I believe the bulk of the money she spent was on clothes at stores like the Gap and Banana Republic. Not even in the vicinity of Tory Burch and Betsey Johnson, so she didn't look like someone's poor relation and could fit in with her well dressed Harvard schoolmates.
posted by anniecat at 3:41 PM on February 13, 2010


Have you seen the askmes? The ones that are a variation on "I'm starting my first job - what should I wear?"

Um, I don't recall ever seeing a "I want to fit in with the pretty, popular girls on campus. What should I wear?"
posted by anniecat at 3:43 PM on February 13, 2010


She's not urging them to; she's implying that the only people who can get in are the girls who have the means (or can get the means) to meet those standards.

I and other people have explained at length in this thread that one doesn't need to be wealthy to achieve the style she's describing. It's perfectly possible to do so without breaking the bank or being a slave to brand names.

It's like Sweet Valley High.

I don't know that reference, sorry.

Hopefully this rich girls' club doesn't receive funds from Cornell...

To the best of my knowledge, they do not.

...which, by the way is a state university.

No, it's not. It's a private university. I have friends who graduated from Cornell that deliberately chose it (among other reasons) because it is a private school and not a SUNY.
posted by zarq at 3:51 PM on February 13, 2010


I liked the movie overall, for the most part.

I did too, but ultimately I could not get over the hypocrisy of everyone ribbing Hathaway constantly about being plain and overweight, when she's radiant and thin by normal standards. And it's not just a joke about how fashion people think -- the movie blithely sells her outward transformation as an important part of her overall metamorphosis.

If you want to transform someone, make her seem plainer to begin with -- even better, hire a plainer actress! Don't trot out the willowiest, glowingest, wholesomest young actress in America as an example of a fat fashion-tragedy. Especially if the story is written so that she barely protests.
posted by hermitosis at 4:07 PM on February 13, 2010


Actually anniecat, it turns out we're both wrong about Cornell. Sort of.

From wikipedia:
Cornell is a non-profit institution, receiving most of its funding through tuition, research grants, state appropriations, and alumnus contributions. Three of its undergraduate schools/colleges and the graduate-level College of Veterinary Medicine are called "statutory colleges" or "contract colleges". These colleges receive significant partial, ongoing funding from the state of New York to support their teaching, research, and service missions. For 2007-08, these colleges will receive $167.7 million in SUNY appropriations.[58] Residents of New York enrolled in the statutory colleges pay reduced tuition. Furthermore, the New York State Governor, the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, and the President Pro Tem of the New York State Senate all serve as ex-officio members of Cornell's Board of Trustees. The statutory colleges are an integral part of the State University of New York.[59] Despite some similarities, Cornell's contract colleges are not public or state schools—they are hybrid and mostly private institutions that Cornell operates under statutes, appropriations and contracts with New York State.[60]
Cornell's colleges are:

* NYS College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
* NYS College of Human Ecology
* NYS School of Industrial and Labor Relations
* College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
* College of Arts and Sciences
* College of Engineering
* School of Hotel Administration

The first three get SUNY funding. But they're still mostly private schools. The others, including the College of Arts and Sciences, are completely private institutions. Fascinating.
posted by zarq at 4:10 PM on February 13, 2010


Residents of New York enrolled in the statutory colleges pay reduced tuition.

It's still tons more than a SUNY.
posted by jgirl at 4:40 PM on February 13, 2010


Definitely.
posted by zarq at 5:05 PM on February 13, 2010


Perhaps now my opinion of Hathaway's changed I'll be more able to appreciate the movie. Till recently I thought she was a mediocre performer. Then I saw Rachel Getting Married and was reduced to tears. Given a good writer/director she can be incredible.

So I'll add this one to my queue.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:41 PM on February 13, 2010


When I was in fifth grade, there was a group of the popular, blondest, trendiest girls: Jennilee, Breanne, I forget who else. They were called "The Group." I wasn't in "The Group," and I did kind of think they were bitchy, though I wouldn't have thought that word at 10 years old.

Two other girls, I really don't remember who they were anymore, came to me and asked me if I would be the leader of their group, another group, an Anti-"The Group" group. I was, you know, popular but not with a capital "p" I guess. Funny, but a "weirdo."

I told them no. I didn't elaborate, but my thought process was: "you don't want to be in a clique at all, guys. Don't " I was a conscientious objector to cliquery at age 10. Strange story, but true.

I am not sure if I would make the same decision today. Power's pretty delicious.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:09 PM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just looked at the Tory Burch flats selection, and those are some truly hideous creations. I don't have a problem spending $$$ on a pair of shoes with style and quality, but DAMN. I could get better at Payless.

And $95 for a jelly shoe.
posted by HopperFan at 8:54 PM on February 13, 2010


One observation I thought I might add at this late stage, is that what is remarkable here is that the document exposes the mechanics behind the effortless cool these girls are trying to project. Since cool is all about making the impossible seem natural, the fact that it's all scripted makes the Phi Phi girls a little less cool.

As such this is newsworthy. It afflicts the comfortable.
posted by eeeeeez at 9:30 PM on February 13, 2010


You know, using Miranda Priestly quotes really doesn't help make your argument seem less bitchy and stuck up.

Nor is it even relevant. What I said was style is up to the individual. That said, sure, there are people who decide what to mass produce out there (and as someone who pays attention to fashion, I can get sick of seeing something by the time it hits mass market). However, there are other things at work here. You can choose what you will and won't wear. You can choose to create your own clothes or alter what's out there. You can choose what styles suit you, or what makeup colors you like on yourself, what shoes you're most comfortable in, etc. A person can look polished, put together, and presentable without adhering to this one person's arbitrary rules. Also, guess what? Those rules don't apply to every single body shape. What this sorority queen is trying to put forth is judgmental and even a little dangerous to young women's body images, and prone to create or worsen self-esteem issues.

There's also a measure of confidence that comes when you feel good in your clothes, comfortable, and know that you look good. Personally, I can pull myself together quite well. However, her way isn't my way. And I'm no less presentable for it. That's the argument I'm making -- that there are ways to be presentable and to represent the group well while still maintaining that everyone is different and has her own individual taste. And that's okay.

Jumping the gun and implying that my statements insist that every ounce of personality is in one's clothes is bizarre and obviously false. However, one's appearance serves to communicate something, and to deny that is silly. That's the foundation on both sides here.
As to the issue of uniforms, people in uniforms express themselves through clothes and accessories all the time. Especially the latter. Or in their grooming, choice of makeup, hair styles, etc.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:08 PM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The author didn't photocopy this and shove it under anyone's door and say "you have to wear this or you suck as a person and are unpresentable". In fact, it was reproduced without her permission. So I don't get the defensiveness. She's not even talking to us.

She said that her way, with a decent allowance for choice and taste, was the way of the women in her sorority for a specific 3-day-event. All of the women involved are allowed to dress themselves, within certain boundaries. That's pretty much what we all do every day, except these rules are explicit whereas most of us don't think about it, we just do it. We don't wear tube tops to our job at the bank. We don't wear latex unless we're going kinky. We don't wear giant ruffled clown collars. We all follow rules all the time. Within our smaller social groups (which is what this sorority is) we follow even tighter rules.

We're just fish in a fish tank, looking at fish in another tank like "Why do they keep swimming in circles? How strange and conformist."
posted by kathrineg at 12:05 AM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyway, I'm being unnecessarily reductive of your argument and I apologize for that.

I would hate it if someone circulated this about me and then assumed that I was doing something really horrible, and I went to school with some people who were badly burned for not following the unwritten dress code that there is at every event. So a written one seems like a step up as far as I'm concerned, and an understandable way of uniting what is, essentially, a team. Like basketball players wear uniforms, it doesn't mean they can't wear what they want, it means that while they're on that team and participating in a team event, everyone dresses the same way to create a cohesive look. It's not meant to humiliate them, nor do I think a dress code is inherently humiliating.

I'm a little baffled that people find this obnoxious or think that it is meant to apply to everyone. This girl clearly does not care what I wear so I see no reason to be offended by her guidelines.
posted by kathrineg at 12:56 AM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not offended at all by this, but I am not looking at this as it might apply to me, but to those in the school. That should be clear. However, those rules she wrote were intended to apply to every sorority member, and thus to those pledging, since they'd have to fit that image. Obviously not everyone in general. (Why would you even think that?)

She didn't slide it under everyone's door but that's pretty much where it was intended to go. There's a lot of judgment inherent in this document ("if you can pull them off", "weigh less than 130 pounds", "cheapo" and all the grooming stuff), and that's its biggest fault. I see something that is dangerous to women's self-image at this sorority. It's not a few harmless "style rules". And it is way beyond "obnoxious".

Those people who tend to believe negative things about women's interactions with each other (not me) would lap this crap up. This control freak listing how everyone should look under her watch.

Anyhow, we in society do follow rules all the time, but we still have plenty of choice in the matter. To pretend otherwise is pretty odd. Unless you're (royal you) a complete conformist and dress for other people's sake. What I said about accessories and grooming also still stands. So what if we can't wear a tube top to the bank? We can still wear nice earrings or our hair done up. What I am saying is it's okay to embrace different bodies, classes, styles, accessories, and just plain ways of doing things. These girls could still look presentable at these events without all the narrow qualifications.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:22 AM on February 14, 2010


cmgonzalez, I find it kind of noxious that you're castigating this list, bemoaning the fact that it gives fuel to "those people who tend to believe negative things about women's interactions with each other," and yet you yourself have exactly zero problems using lobbing the severely anti-feminist "bitchy" ad hominem at me. I'd be grateful if you could check that shit at the door, thanks.

You say that "we still have plenty of choice in the matter." And you know what? You're absolutely right! If you (the general you, although it would obviously apply to you personally if you were a potential rushee at Cornell) don't like the image that the Pi Phis seek to promote -- an image that this list pretty clearly delineates what is and isn't acceptable -- then don't rush. Don't pick them. The whole point of rush, for those who elect (and there's that element of choice again. Neat, right?) to participate, is that you're figuring out what house is going to gel with your own personality, style, and perspective on life. If you're someone who likes being told precisely what is and isn't acceptable to wear as a sister, then you join something like Pi Phi. If you don't, then you're polite during the parties but you don't accept the bid, if you get one. That's it. It really isn't more complicated than that.

Rail on all you like about the unfairness of this list, and how it's potentially detrimental to women's self-image; that's cool. Chances are we agree on a lot of points there.

But -- and this is the key point that you seem to be missing: Participation in this group isn't mandatory. If you don't like those rules? Don't join the Pi Phis. Want to wear a tank top to work? Don't apply for a job at a bank. Think you look lousy in brown polyester? Skip the application to UPS. Wanna skip clothing entirely? Vacation at any of the dozens of nude beaches around the world. See? Choice! It's great!
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:43 AM on February 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


At least, that's how it's supposed to happen. Growing up. But a lot of people take their previous immaturities upon themselves as badges of pride, and refuse to accept and embrace others, and keep on being utterly frustrating people who act like they're afraid of getting wedgies. It's obnoxious, and it contributes nothing.

So, when somebody proudly boasts about their ignorance regarding fashion, I see it as them not having totally grown up.


Kid Charlemagne didn't proudly boast about his ignorance of fashion; perhaps you're confusing him with jonmc? He didn't express himself very politely-granted. But the Kid's point of view is reasonable and legitimate, and you lump him in with scared teenagers who haven't figured out who they are as the best explanation for his position. That's an o.k. judgment to make inside your head, I suppose, but it's a bad way to treat people.

One of the biggest symptoms of not having grown up is explaining the perspectives of others to them, as though you understand them better than they do themselves. That is the arrogant part. In a few years when you reach the wizened age of like 22 and you read your comments in this thread again and cringe, do me a favor and donate a few bucks to a good charity.
posted by Kwine at 11:54 AM on February 14, 2010


One of the biggest symptoms of not having grown up is explaining the perspectives of others to them, as though you understand them better than they do themselves. That is the arrogant part. In a few years when you reach the wizened age of like 22 and you read your comments in this thread again and cringe, do me a favor and donate a few bucks to a good charity.

Certainly!
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:54 PM on February 14, 2010


I can't favorite Rory Maninich and katherineg enough - fashion is both an individual thing and totally, totally unindividual. Oh, the paradox! You, yourself, are deciding what best defines "you" based on what designers have already considered that "you" will be wearing this season. It's a really fascinating process to me - both how people go about choosing what to wear and how designers choose what people will wear.

You can make the argument that fashion, in general, is classist if you want to go down that road. You either have money to buy high-end things, or you have a lot of time to go searching through vintage shops, or possibly both - but if you lack one or the other, you've cut off your access to a lot of what's considered "fashionable." Most of us shlubs with jobs are going to end up dressing like every other shlub with a job. And that's ok. Even if you're sitting here bemoaning this list and talking about how your workplace doesn't require you to dress a certain way... I'll bet you dollars to donuts that most people at your workplace dress more or less like you and there's a common consensus as to what's "acceptable." Not that someone mandated this from on high, but if you came to work in a suit at a casual job or in sneakers at a more formal place, someone would notice.

As for this list, I'm just grateful that she specified that leggings aren't pants. It needed to be said.

Anyhow, I think about fashion a lot for someone whose daily work wear is limited to "Am I going to mind if I get poop on this?"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:16 PM on February 14, 2010


"You need to have color on your life. Otherwise you will look like ghost. Yes you will."
posted by bunnycup at 4:26 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is absolutely nothing wrong with attacking an argument. And if an argument sounds bitchy I will call it bitchy. The word itself is not being used as some sort of "anti-feminist" attack, but in a general sense. So I'd appreciate if you'd check that shit at the door and stop picking where there is nothing to pick.

It's also quite obvious that if someone isn't comfortable with these rules at this sorority, they're free to not join. However, sometimes there are real issues at stake that simple willful ignorance or turning away without daring to take some of these issues on costs a lot more in the end.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:11 AM on February 15, 2010


(In a general sense, meaning words evolve past their original uses, such as "lame". This morning I woke up thinking just how irritation it is to me that people use the word "mad" to mean "very".)
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:12 AM on February 15, 2010


And if an argument sounds bitchy I will call it bitchy. The word itself is not being used as some sort of "anti-feminist" attack, but in a general sense.

Well, yeah, but there are a lot of people in the world at large and on MetaFilter who feel that the word itself has anti-feminist connotations and maybe there are better words to be used. Assholish, for instance, is gender neutral.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:13 AM on February 15, 2010


However, sometimes there are real issues at stake that simple willful ignorance or turning away without daring to take some of these issues on costs a lot more in the end.

Ok, and in a genuine, snark-free way I ask you: how exactly are you daring to take on some of these issues by participating in this thread? If you hate the stifling, sheep-mentality aspect of sororities* so much, then the way to change their influence is to change the people who would otherwise join them.

So with that in mind, exactly what is it you hope to accomplish by getting all fighty about some random sorority's stringent and sort of ridiculous style guide here at Metafilter? I'm reasonably confident that none of the participants here are potential Cornell Pi Phi pledges. Will your words here change anything, anything at all about the way this sorority, or any other that hews to a similar image, operates? I mean, if you're so set on making a difference -- and I applaud you, if that's your actual intent -- then why not, oh, I don't know, go to Cornell and hand out leaflets discouraging women from pledging Pi Phi? Sponsor a forum to help young women gain self-confidence so they don't feel the need to join an organization so obsessed with outward appearance?

Or you could already be doing those things within your own collegiate community, and if that's the case, more power to you. I'm just trying to figure out why you're so set on planting your Flag of GRARdonia on this particular hill in this particular thread, when it's pretty clear that the majority of posters on MetaFilter -- myself included -- recognize that the list is dumb and arbitrary, and yet completely within the rights of a privately funded organization to expect of its members who are voluntary participants. If you thought exposure to fezes and tiny little cars were a cause of brain cancer, I would think you'd be reaching out to potential shriners, not picking fights in an online forum.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:17 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


D'oh, I left that poor little footmark-indicating asterisk all orphaned. Meant to add this post-script:

* Which isn't to say that all sororities are stifling bastions of herd mentality. Houses vary greatly from campus to campus, and I've known many, many women who were cool, interesting people who neither sought nor needed an organization like the Cornell Pi Phis, and yet who not only rushed but managed to find houses that celebrated individuality. Just like not all Christians are the scary right-wing hate brigaders, so it is that not all women who join sororities are shallow, vapid, materialistic sheeple.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:35 PM on February 15, 2010


I find her list is very tasteful. She seems to have something against Forever 21 and I disagree with her take on buns, but her advice is good if you want to look subdued, well put together and fit in. I really don’t get the hate, except maybe because of a sullen rage against anything perceived as being pretty and popular.

I took comments like the '130 lbs or no satin dress unless a designer' as pretty good advice. Cheap satin dresses look awful on average shaped women, and the cut off point implies she expects most of her group to be at a healthy BMI (ie over 130, unless this group is shorter than average). It's not 'fatty can't wear satin!' it's a warning that you will look like you're wearing a cheap piece that does not forgive lumps, if you pick that fabric at a lower price range.

@Jeddicus
Actually, fresh water pearl studs will set you back about $15, if you don't rabidly shop sales. The manufactured diamond supply is more limited, but little chunks of other clear rocks cut to look sparkly will do quite nicely, given her willingness to accept knock offs.
posted by Phalene at 7:07 PM on February 24, 2010


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