Thursday, December 11, 2008

Insulting the Intellect, Agnes Scott College Opens Its Doors to Road Trip II: Beer Pong

If you view the website of Agnes Scott College, a private all women's college in Decatur, Georgia, the visitor or prospective student will find idyllic pictures of fresh-faced young women with telescopes, smiling students engaged in music, or tony looking youngsters attending a swanky social gathering. In the rotating slideshow, there sits the most formidable question of life development: Who will you become? If your eyes drift to the right, the mission of the College hugs the top corner, "Educating women to think deeply, live honorably, and engage in the intellectual and social challenges of their times."

By every measure of that statement senior Louisa Hill, a guest blogger at The Bilerico Project, is doing just that. For all the varied struggles against sexist oppression, I surmise she would not have anticipated finding one of those battles on her own campus when the College stuck a deal with upcoming sequel Road Trip II: Beer Pong and gave open accessibility to not just the physical campus for shooting the flick, but the matriculated students as well.

Hill's report gives account of deeply disturbing actions that has taken place on campus with the filming of Road Trip II: Beer Pong. She outlines the racist and sexist recruitment efforts:

...Craigslist ad states "primarily seeking White" and "Attractive Female
Model Type" extras, valued at $7.17/hr (be sure to send in your
weight!). These racist and sexist standards are clearly visible on the
movie's promotional flier, helping to perpetuate the image that only
sexy white people go to college. The flier shows a headless white
woman's body, focusing on her large breasts, barely covered by a shirt
that says "Nice Rack." Her pelvis is in front of a triangle of shot
glasses. The tagline? "Get your balls wet."

The students were also subject to horrendous stereotyping as the film crew shot the "Lesbians Until Graduation" scene which only eroticizes lesbianism as nothing more than an experimental "choice" made in the absence of men and, in the movie industry, sells women and their sexual identity as a heteronormative gift for men.

...the scene involved the male protagonists
stumbling upon the room full of these "making-out lesbians" (to
presumably "convert" them?). When we expressed offense, the recruiter
said she was warned about encountering uncooperative students who were
"really into being women" (versus into being objects?).

Other incidents of objectifying the students at Agnes Scott were documented, including reckless behavior of extras working in the movie. One student reported being told that she was so attractive, she should be careful of being raped. Another student, carrying a cup of coffee, was asked by an extra to get him one as well.

In the glitter of gifted professors and sprawling green spaces, it is easy to forget that higher education is business. It is an intellectual playground for thinkers and activists, the thrilling table in the exchange of ideas and challenge. Underneath that playground, however, the business roots of higher education occasionally sprout foul-smelling weeds that spring from damaging deals. To students, those agreements feel like betrayal, and rightly so. All the elements that lift a women's college to another realm of engagement and learning is completed neutralized by a $30,000 business contracts that allow hapless Road Trip II: Beer Pong to sick its claws into, what appears to be, a vibrant and promising student body.

While the College recently announced its smallest tuition increase in over 35 years and boasts the College's willingness to go the extra mile during these hard economic times, I'd wager that the students and their families would not have minded a sharper tuition spike if it meant cancelling deals with films that not only stand in contradiction of the College's mission, but attack the values and minds of the women whom they claim to be educating.

Cross-posted at Bitch Magazine

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey there,
Before you leave a comment, just remember two things:
1. You are taking responsibility for a public comment
2. Anything that resembles racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, or anything based from religion, citizenship, or ethnic bias - don't bother commenting, you'll be deleted.