There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Beer

Every weekend, many students from campus vote.  It’s just not in the way you expect.  Students (and often their friends from out of town) meet up for a “night out” on DePauw’s campus – which often means Frat-hopping.  After all, there’s nothing else to do but put on a mini-skirt and heels in January to go drink $8 vodka and $0.30/can beer in trashed party rooms while the people that live there either stare at you dancing or try to rub their crotch on you to “dance” with you without asking first.  No matter what your reason for going to these parties, know two things:

1) You are providing a service.  That beer, while it costs less than a pack of gum, is being earned!  (Congratulations, you almost qualify as a stripper or prostitute already).  It is being earned either through ego-service (by simply being there, you’re making them feel important) or sexual service (which doesn’t have to even mean you meet one of them in the back with the Jack and the jukebox) .  Ego-service is being performed by adding to the number of people that attend the party you were “gracious” enough to be allowed into. (The number of guests at a party is often a “tell” for how well it went.  A good party makes Frat Superstars feel like the Macho Men the Village People sang about 35 years ago).  Sexual-service is being performed by wearing that skimpy clothing — by being there as a sexual object for the people that live there to look at (as surreptitiously or as obviously as they feel like making their gaze be), you’re in yet another way, earning that beer.  Even if you somehow drink an entire case or a bottle of their “Premium Liqueur,” you’re earning somewhere between $2.00-$2.49/hr if you stay for all four hours of most registered fraternity parties on campus.  You wise spender, you.

2) By going to these events you are Voting.  By stepping across the threshold of DePauw’s fraternity houses’ doorways you inherently are saying that Every Single Thing They Do There Is Okay.  Don’t like the music they play there?  Doesn’t matter.  Upset that they refused to give you a cup for water (because they want you to stay drunk)?  Doesn’t matter.  Upset about the way one of the boys there took advantage of your drunk friend last weekend?  Doesn’t matter.  Don’t like that they talked about women as objects of conquest in their Rush presentation? Doesn’t matter.  Why do none of these matter?  Because you are saying that No Matter What They Do, You Are Okay With It and Will Still Attend Their Parties: THE biggest green light for any behavior you can give.

So remember, when you go into a fraternity this weekend, you are voting with your feet: you are saying that Anything that happens there, you are okay with.  ANYTHING.  I hope whatever actions you are saying “OK” to are worth every ounce of that $0.30 beer you were so graciously bequeathed.

33 responses to “There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Beer

  1. I’ve heard some backlash about the article for slut-shaming. The only thing I’m shaming girls on is ignorance, which I hope that conversation — such as this article and even something as simple as Conner Gordon’s article in The DePauw — can help get rid of!

    The article could be compared to a article – exaggerated for emphasis. Women that attend these parties do so by complete choice on private property. By attending them, they are giving an OK to everything they do there. It’s a long-winded rant, honestly, but the point is sincere: if you don’t say no and stand up for your beliefs (by not going to somewhere whose behavior you believe is abhorrent), you are, in a way, saying that it’s not not okay.

    • This article strikes me as a simple refusal to acknowledge the complex social and biological forces at work on our campus.

      Boycotting fraternity parties is an easy plan of action to espouse if you don’t have any friends in fraternities, or you don’t feel comfortable at any fraternity, but that’s simply not the case for the vast majority of students. We have friends – people we grow to love and consider family – that live in greek houses, and it’s not so easy to cut them off for the purpose of proving a point.

      Yes, there are opportunists on our campus – and every other campus – but how much of our ability to connect with and trust other people are we expected to forfeit because a people like yourself are prone to ignorant stereotyping and generalizations? I understand it’s tempting to sit down and write a rant because you feel you see things so clearly, but you’ve made some very broad sweeps from a perspective of limited knowledge. It’s one thing to speak for yourself from that perspective, but you’re attempting to speak for every greek man and every woman on campus.

  2. The fact that you are shaming anyone at all is wrong — conversation should not be inspired by shaming those adversely affected by the issue. The solution you offer (i.e., don’t go to fraternities) is backed up with women policing. You police their way of dress, the way they should react to harassment, and even if they should react at all (to which you give an empathic “no, they shouldn’t” [exaggeration or not, that is an awful ‘joke’]).

    There isn’t slut-shaming in this article, just good old fashion victim blaming. It’s obviously the woman’s fault for getting harassed at the party because she should know that entering that space means agreeing to the harassment in exchange for shitty beer. If she wants to avoid harassment and change the party culture on campus, she should obviously be the one to avoid the danger.

    Let’s address the perpetrators! Or the sorority rules that prohibit alcohol consumption on sorority property. Or even the culture that inspires this sort of bad behavior from men. You can campaign for change in other ways than boycott.

    But, really? Women’s ignorance? I don’t think any university woman is ignorant of the wandering eyes, harassment (verbal, physical, or sexual), or risks they take when they go to a fraternity to drink. How about you talk about your sexism instead?

  3. Not every single male in a fraternity is an evil sexist pig. I am in a fraternity here, and I invite my female friends to hang out and they come because they feel comfortable. I don’t mind sharing my beer with girls I don’t know, and I don’t expect a free crotch rubbing in return. I know many people hold various stereotypes against my and other houses, but in order to improve campus environment we need to stop perpetuating these stereotypes and making generalizations about an entire house based on the actions and sometimes rumored actions of a few individuals. It disgusts me to hear about sexual assault and other crimes that occur at fraternities, however individuals need to be punished not the entire reputation of a frat.

    Don’t even want to address the “slutty outfits” bit. When will men realize they have no right to comment on women’s clothing? Why do college aged adults even care about what other people are wearing?

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more, Joe. Frankly, it seems that some people are so entrenched in reacting to anything that could remotely be associated with rape that they miss the point. Rape is obviously an extremely emotionally charged topic that causes passionate reactions, as it should. However, the point of this article is not that rape victims should be shamed in any way. Rape is an abhorrent act that should not be tolerated by any means and the perpetrators should be held fully accountable for their actions. Nonetheless, this article transcends the topic of rape; it is a critique on society as a whole. “Frat bros” are not right to act in the way that they do, but their actions continue to be fueled by our campus’ social condition. Girls are free to make their own choices and are entirely free to dress as they like and go wherever they want to. However, it is these choices that continue to legitimize the frat mentality. The mentality of frat guys is not inherently “right”, but it becomes legitimate insofar as it is allowed to prosper and flourish. Girls go to these parties and typically do not complain to guys about their behavior, but rather play the role that frat guys expect them to play: they take their alcohol and dress provocatively. Ergo, this article actually stands by rape victims and women in general and calls for them to rise up against the system in order to break the frat mentality by showing frat guys that their actions will not be tolerated. Instead of going to frats that treat them like social objects and accepting their beers, women have the power to chose where they go to party. Finally, I think its in order to point out that not all fraternities hold these same views. Some fraternities seek to treat women with respect and value them not as sexual objects, but as people.

  5. I agree with TruthAdvocate. The topic of this article is society as a whole and how we overlook how our choices as consumers or party-ers act as our “votes” of approval of certain things.

  6. Hobo Joe,

    I am incredibly interested in what you have to say and would like to extend a sincere invitation to meet up with you on DePauw’s campus so that I can learn more about how you feel on this topic. My e-mail is If you are as dedicated to solving issues like this as you express in your article, I hope you will accept my invitation.

    • I would love to be there for that, too. And I seriously would like to have a conversation, not an argument.

  7. I believe Sam makes some very strong points. I see blatant generalizations throughout your entire post. Not every fraternity member is the same let alone the actual fraternities themselves. The way that you just ascribe the same characteristics to every single male Fraternity member at DePauw is frankly insulting. Also many of the attributes of parties that you ascribe as being essentially only prevalent at fraternity parties I think can truly be seen at most parties for people within our age group. Look back at freshman year and the little parties that DePauw put together to bring the freshmen together and I think you will see many of those same behaviors in them. It is not the Fraternities that are perpetuating the problem, it is our culture and society. I think this article would have been far better if it had taken a look at the way males and females interact socially at all parties rather than blasting away at Fraternities as if they are the sole perpetrator and as if every Fraternity member is some evil guy who just wants to take advantage of every girl that walks into his house.

  8. “I’m trying to apply the concept of “if you don’t speak out against something you’re condoning it.”
    Then wouldn’t it have made more sense to make an article speaking out against the fraternities instead of one blaming women for not doing it?

    • It just seems that you’re more interested in name calling than actually inspiring change. If you were really adamant about this, I’m not sure posting anonymously as Hobo Joe is a strong course of action.

  9. I wonder, Hobo Joe, what fraternity you belong to? I just want to know so that I can feel safe knowing that everybody who is in your fraternity shares the exact same, woman respecting, opinions as you. After all, everybody in a frat shares the exact same opinions and beliefs as their brothers, right? Its impossible for one person in the frat to think or behave different than the rest. If a sexual assault happens in one house, we should all avoid that house forever because if one man did it, all of his brothers will too!

  10. Author’s responses removed as part of Boulder Run policy. If the author has an issue with an individual’s comments, he/she can write an article addressing those concerns. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

  11. Hello, I’m the author of the response article. Obviously this author has many strong ideas about things on campus. If this is truly the author’s opinion, I would hope that he would endorse it publicly, and not just anonymously on a blog. The author brings up some important and dangerous misconceptions thar I know many groups on campus would like to confront. With that said, I would like to challenge the author of this article to a debate next week. In public. On campus. I feel confident we could get a student org to sponsor it. My email address is Hobo Joe, the ball is in your court.

  12. Okay, so here is my very condensed version of a response to this article.
    1. When you walk into a fraternity you are not giving a blanket consent or becoming that fraternity’s property. You are simply agreeing to not report anything that is not hurting you or violating human rights. (Example: not calling the cops when people smoke pot or drink while under age).
    2. Rape is always the rapist’s fault, 100%. In this context, the frat boy’s fault. The very nature of rape is that one person consents to sex and the other does not.
    3. My clothing and gender should not be a reason for me to be raped. If I wear a short skirt or a tight top, I a NOT “asking for rape”.
    4. My actions, however, are a more controversial topic. When I allow someone to touch me sexually, I am giving silent consent to that action and possibly more. Provoking anyone is a sexual manner when not meaning to consent to the sex is extremely risky. This is a well know n fact. Rape is never the victim’s fault, but provoking someone you do not trust is STUPID. People need to realize that. Perhaps this will put it in perspective: provoking a human who very obviously does not like you and then getting punched in the face is a problem. The fault is of the puncher, of course, but that other guy was just being dumb.
    4. Do not think I am generalizing all women here. Dressing anyway that you please is your choice completely and is NOT EVEN A LITTLE an “invitation” to be raped, but when you begin to encourage sexual actions with someone you do not know very well or trust completely, you are putting yourself at risk and that is not okay. Rape is a one sided action, but that does not mean that only one aspect of the crime needs to be fixed.
    Replies to this welcomed and appreciated.

  13. Hobo Joe,
    You are a loser. You have probably been a loser for most of your life. For that, I am sorry. However that doesn’t give you an all access pass to being a douche and raining on everyones fun because you decided not to join a greek house (or more likely got cut from all greek houses.) Get a hobby, or a pet, or something to occupy your time other than writing incoherent bullshit about how butt hurt you are that college kids are having fun while your trapped in your dorm room jerking it to re-runs of Dragonball-Z.

    Get fucked

    • I’m sorry, End Brocism, but I think you’re missing the point. Hobo isn’t raining on the “fun” that happens in fraternity houses. Futhurmore, you have no reason to believe that the author is or isn’t part of the Greek system.

      The problem with this article is the blaming of women for the sexual assault and other disrespectful behavior that comes their way at weekend frat parties. This is slut shaming and victim blaming. The ego you have about how awesome frat parties are has nothing to do with the real issues at hand.

  14. While I also disagree with this author, It troubles me that some of these response comments automatically assume the author is an Independent, and then adds a very negative connotation. Don’t try and counter generalizations and hate with more of the same.

  15. First of all, it is awesome to see there is so much passion, critical thought and debate on this issue—this is the value and purpose of higher education. I, like The Married Lady, rarely involve myself in public conversations, but I am intrigued by this one in particular and find it to be a valuable discussion to exploit individual and social barriers, the reality of the student experience and fears at my beloved alma mater, and across collegiate settings in general. It would be most beneficial if all subsequent comments were made/received with compassion in order to address the issues and not the person. We can create value through healthy, yet respectful disagreement, but we destroy value by lambasting and speaking dishonorably about others. With that being said, I have two questions for Hobo Joe:

    1. Hobo Joe, what was your motivation/reason for writing this article? This topic, like all topics, is very dependent on perspective, so it is important to try to understand yours.
    2. Instead of redirecting the topic, getting lost in the content or placing blame on one group, it is imperative to try to understand the root cause(s) of the problem in order to create a solution collaboratively as a community—students, administrators and alumni. Would you articulately define what you believe to be the problem(s) and cause(s)? It might help everyone in trying to address the issues effectively to create solutions.

    Thank you for your courage, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. While I am not in favor of a debate because it immediately pits one side against the other and effectively moves the group away from the meaningful topics altogether, it would be cool to see a public forum where individuals and groups (Greek and non-greek) could come together, candidly discuss the issues and create an action plan for the best direction of the DePauw community.

  16. Along with others, I feel the article is addressing a larger problem by simply going after fraternities. It is understandable that women who act out by dancing in rooms, when they aren’t sure who lives in that room, and wearing provocative clothing could lead to unwanted events. What ever those events might be I do not condone them on anybody. Whether that be too much grinding while dancing or worse, it shouldn’t be tolerated and thus women who go out to party should be prepared to combat such actions if they are not comfortable.

    What bothers me is the sheer and utter blindness that anyone person has that comes to a fraternity looking for a party. Yes, there are nights when fraternities party and so its acceptable come over and look for booze. This is because when a party happens the entire fraternity is ready to take on the events that may happen throughout the night. Door duty is set up, risk managers have finished their work and are on call until 3 in the morning. Presidents and executive members are on watch in case any of these party goers takes it a step too far. But this part still doesn’t bother me because this is what we “signed” up for when we decided to join a fraternity. What bothers me the most is the lack of disrespect of each and everyone of the party goers asserts. You must remember, this is our home. This is where we live. We are providing you with booze, whether it be a 30 cent beer, or a 2 dollar well vodka drink , it is with our money. That is my thirty cents. That is my 2 dollars. I’m not making a profit off of you, i don’t even know you. Here’s the other thing, many fraternity members have girlfriends and have significant others. There not looking to get into anyones pants, there simply trying to have a dance party in their own room with similar DePauw students who are glad it is the weekend.

    It is the members on this campus who take it to far who give the rest of us a bad name. Behind every blackout fraternity member there are about 3 who are responsibly keeping an eye on him because that member always takes it too far. The same goes for women on this campus as well. Women who finish there work at 4 o’clock on Friday and just looked to get fucked up on booze they didn’t buy, and haven’t bought since they walked onto campus their freshmen year.

    So before fraternity houses continue to earn a bad reputation for dumbass members who don’t represent the entire fraternity along with women who have no respect for themselves and others please consider other the entire picture. We have a Greek Life Office that works hard to combat such events. Our campus is working on it and we can always do better but that effort has to be made by every single person ready to make the change.

    You are in our home. We are graciously inviting you to join us for a party or just for company in a non-party setting. You did not buy the booze, we did. Be respectful and take care of yourself so we can do our job and make sure our house remains safe. Its bullshit that there is such a lack of respect, and frankly i’m tired of it.

    • Sir, I don’t know what you’re on about but your comment seems to be mostly unrelated to the original topic of the article and replies. While it’s understandable that fraternities are frustrated with how parties are operated and financed, that has nothing to do with how individual fraternity members harass women or keep them intoxicated. Not all fraternity men are “bad people,” but many here are suggesting that fraternity members confront their fellow brothers in an effort to decrease bad behavior.

  17. Does the author of this argument matter? Does his or her being adamant about the issue matter? Based on the amount of judgment I’ve seen from the comments above, I sympathize with Hobo Joe’s choice to go anonymous. Some of these comments (“You are a loser,” “Get fucked,” “clown suit,” “I hope whoever wrote this gets hit by a fucking bus” (that’s on Facebook)) cultivate violence in the discussion of an issue already based on it. I don’t agree with Hobo Joe’s argument, but I also don’t care who Hobo Joe is because this article certainly does not represent his/her identity. Isn’t the fact that he/she submitted it at all, as a voluntary participant in a discourse, something to be commended?

    • Not necessarily. When an anonymous post is used essentially to create a slam-book with zero accountability, that does not have to be commended. And while I do not think some of the responses aid constructive discourse, neither does the authors extreme over generalization of women, men, fraternity houses, the purpose of visiting said houses, etc. The author spoke in blanket statements, unfortunately this has led to him receiving blanket insults back.

  18. I feel like this article is being very much misunderstood, although perhaps it would have been better to have written in it a different tone. This isn’t victim blaming or “she was asking for it”, and the shaming is about acts that every fraternity member complains about on a weekly basis. Trust me, it gets old watching other people get wasted off booze you spent good money on. Not that I don’t mind sharing it with my friends, but many girls have come to expect. Don’t tell me this isn’t true, because many times I have seen girls leave the fraternity house once they realize there is not booze for them to drink. What he is saying may seem highly offensive, but he is just pointing out a dirty truth that people seem unwilling to accept. Yes, you go to a fraternity to hang out with guys you are friends with, but they are not the only ones paying for that booze, the whole house is most likely. The house pays for the booze so that girls will come over and hang out, because if we didn’t, girls would go see other friends who have free drinks. Sadly, this is how it generally works and you are outright lying to yourself if you disagree with this statement. Guys want girls at their party because it looks good, it makes them seem popular, and it makes for a better party.
    These friends that women go see are a member of an organization that works as one unit. I’m a fraternity member on campus here, and we are often reminded that the actions of one of us reflects the fraternity as a whole. When a man, in this case a fraternity brother, commits sexual assault but is not punished adequately, then the fraternity is in some way accepting their actions. If a fraternity really wanted to take a stand against their brother’s sexual misconduct, than they would expel him. But this does not happen, so the brothers allow for a man, who the legal system would consider a sexual predator, to walk the halls of their fraternity house. Who says he wouldn’t do it again? Going into the fraternity house, even if it is to see friends, validates their actions. It may not say you accept them, but it does say your not taking a stand. Do you think girls who are raped at a fraternity, continue going to that fraternity’s parties?
    No one here seems to be offering any solutions. While I know we all want to see our friends, just try and make the difficult choice and not go to their house. You can see them at other places, but you have to remember that a fraternity is a social organization, so in reality their success is measured by their social events, and the succes of social events relies on large numbers of girls. So basically, he is not saying that girls are asking to be raped, he is simply saying (I hope) that instead of just trying to raise awareness through things like Code Teal (which in my opinion does nothing, on our campus specifically at least), we have to take a much more active stance within our own insular community, rather than passively ignoring certain faults of fraternities. Fraternities are not just a collection of men, the men are united as one entity. While only a select couple may have participated, the group as a whole did nothing to stop, further creating a dangerous environment. I still cant believe that a year after a rape incident (I don’t care if people say there’s no way to know if it happened, because it did) I still see people flock to that house for parties, legitimizing their actions. Unless you know who committed the sexual assault, then it could be your friend for all you know. Don’t be naive, everyone has a dark side.
    And also, to all those complaining about Hobo Joe
    not revealing his real name, stop. The beauty of the internet is being able to create an honest forum for discussion, no matter how offensive it may be to some, rather than revealing his real name and having to fear some form of reprisal.

  19. If this comes to a debate on campus, the turnout would be great. Stop hiding behind the internet and stand behind your strong, accusatory opinion.

    Also, I’ve seen Christine debate…good luck.

  20. Pingback: Is This The Real Life? | The Boulder Run·

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