A group of Greek women compete in synchronized swimming, in conservative athletic wear. Photo by Jasmyne Ray.
As a prospective freshman, one quality that attracted me to the University of Montevallo was that it seemed like an open and forward thinking place. Unfortunately, although I have greatly enjoyed my first several months here, I’ve discovered a spectre of sexism lurking on our campus.
Thursday Oct. 24 saw another Anchor Splash come and go with astounding success. The philanthropy goal was met, and, except for some technical difficulties, the general atmosphere was one of celebration and fun. Spectators watched the various Greek teams compete in various relay races and a synchronized swimming competition that more or less amounted to dancing in the SAC pool. Speaking from the point of view as one those competitors, I can say that Anchor Splash came together as a another great Greek event.
I also noticed something that Anchor Splash didn’t have. Instead of actual bathing suits, the sororities wore work out-esque clothing. It was an odd detail that I had first noticed during the synchronized swimming practices for Anchor Splash. One would think that bathing suits would be more practical due to ease of movement in the water. I was informed by one sorority member that wearing a bikini or even a one-piece for the synchronized swimming, is frowned upon because it would be improper to dance in front of such a crowd with that attire.
There seemed to me a certain amount of social disparity here. My fellow fraternal members and I were completely shirtless and sassily swung our hips and shook our butts, and it was utterly hilarious, not shameful or explicit.
However, according to the Anchor Splash standards, if the women in a sorority tried something similar, they would be criticized and looked down upon. To me, this is the same kind of thinking that allows a guy to be praised for having sex indiscriminate but a girl to be scorned as a slut or whore if she wears a shorter skirt or shows her midriff.
Although I am quite sure the sororities have their girls’ best interests at heart, having them dress and act in a glaringly conservative manner in a friendly swimming competition for charity is only submitting to and furthering sexiest attitudes towards how women should present themselves.