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Sorority hazing stunts send mixed message to women

Friday, October 4, 2013
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Sorority hazing stunts send mixed message to women

Tess Koman’s piece in Cosmopolitan is a sappy whitewash of her sorority hazing experience at Union College.

Koman and “sister” pledges were isolated, berated, dehumanized and objectified, but Koman is optimistic: The experience had been “weirdly worth it,” so much so that Koman later hazed pledges so that the new “girls could love the sisterhood.”

Schenectady police spokesperson, Lt. Mark McCracken — who [reviewed] Koman’s Cosmopolitan piece for evidence of law violations — reassures that, “no criminal act took place based on what I read...” Indeed, McCracken endured similar hazing as a new military recruit and during police training: Living in close quarters, name-calling and humiliation, McCracken argues, “molds [recruits] to conform the way you want them to.”

Also true for women in emotionally and physically violent homes!

Are sororities and fraternities — like military and police training academies — promoting obedience to authority? Is subordination enhanced by isolating newbies from all but their organization’s influence? Do isolation, gender humiliation and sexual objectification make women easier to control? Does learned helplessness breed loyalty? Yes on all counts.

Koman learned submissiveness by performing sexualized gender deference to men: Donning a “skintight outfit,” [Koman] was forced to dance for all the fraternities on campus to absurdly sexual songs. “[We] were told to do whatever we thought the boys would like.” No pushy feminists need apply, unless hazing brings them to heel.

“Weirdly,” the Sigma Delta Tau executive director maintains that her organization’s “mission [is] empowering women.” Never underestimate the potential of mixed messages to create subservience to an organization’s authority.

“The strange and awful pledging ordeal” — Koman’s rite of passage into Sigma Delta Tau’s “sisterhood” — instills and rewards secrecy. This keeps hazing “survivors” from disclosing Greek life inhumanities and illegalities.

Martha K. Huggins

Schenectady

The writer recently retired with emerita status from Tulane University after doing so as well from Union College in 2004.

Snow removal on bridge may be a bigger issue

Re the several articles about Western Gateway Bridge’s concrete wall: I use the bridge regularly, but don’t have time to marvel at the beautiful sights up and down the Mohawk River and Jumpin’ Jacks parking lot. I’m always the driver of the car and I’m always preoccupied with watching to see what stunts my fellow drivers are up to.

It will be interesting to see what the Department of Transportation does with snow on the bridge. This is not southern Georgia, but upstate New York, and it does snow here in winter. At times, it snows a lot.

I’m not an expert on snow removal, but I would not think that pushing snow against a concrete wall is the brightest idea. Then get a nice coating of ice on those sidewalks, with no handrails, that slope toward the road. Oh, boy, I can see the lawsuits coming now.

I’m sure that DOT has a plan! Or do they?

Marv Livingston

Charlton

Wilderness classification not right for Essex Lakes

Charles C. Morrison of Protect the Adirondacks [Sept. 26 letter] continues the misinformation on the Essex Chain Lakes’ upcoming classification.

First, a “wilderness” classification will not reverse the deeded right of float planes to land on First and Pine lakes. The Nature Conservancy gave this access to local towns, possibly to negate opposition to the state’s purchase. What could be more disruptive to a wilderness than a float plane landing within a quarter mile of Third Lake?

Second, Mr. Morrison’s cited support of a “wilderness” classification was an organized letter campaign, not a scientific poll.

Third, the logging “scars” are the residue of The Nature Conservancy’s stewardship and their push for maximum revenue. Finch [Pruyn & Co.] had done little logging in the last decade, and all the roads are logging roads. The “hunting” club’s use of lightweight vehicles did not “scar” these roads.

The pristine nature of the Chain Lakes is Finch’s legacy supported by the hunting and fishing club leases. These clubs were exclusive in that dues were required but membership was always open. The proposed wilderness classification will be very exclusive — only the fit with expensive equipment need apply. New York state taxpayers will instead support this wilderness club.

G. Robert Cooley

Scotia

The writer is a member of the Gooley Club board.

Too many death-defying motorcyclists

I had the privilege of viewing a motorcycle rider in all his glory on I-890 at 8:15 a.m. on Oct. 1.

Traffic was slightly slowed as a car had been pulled over by the state trooper just before Route 7. I checked my rear-view mirror to see a blur coming behind me at blinding speed. This death-seeking cyclist began passing me at at least 90 mph, squeezing between me and the poor person [next to] me. He managed to zig-zag between several other cars as they all put on their brakes because of his suicidal tendencies.

Is this something new? No! If you live in the Glenville hills, you know all too well about bikes speeding past your house at 90 mph-100 mph at all times of day and night, making you afraid to pull out of your own driveway. The sad fact is, they know no police can ever catch them.

So, please remind me why I should feel sorry for them?

I have driven across country many times, and I know of the great respect that the bike cruisers display as they travel from one place to another. Unfortunately, it is not that way with all the rest.

I will, as always, look out for all bikes, but I can honestly say that most of them will not look out for us.

Denise Crisci

Glenville

Viewpoint on health care battle was right on

John Figliozzi’s Sept. 29 Sunday Opinion piece, “Push to defund health care act unconstitutional, irresponsible,” was pure genius.

That the government is being held hostage by a handful of tea partiers is unconscionable. Shame on all these legislators, including [House Speaker] John Boehner and Rep. Chris Gibson [he initially voted to de-fund Obamacare, but now supports only a delay], who obviously don’t care what their constituents want and are not working for the good of our country.

If they succeed, I consider this an act of subversion.

Diane E. Bollinger

Ballston Spa

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