By Delphine Burns
Arriving as a freshman in August, I initially didn’t explore much outside the Pitzer campus. Slowly, I became familiar with Pitzer customs, norms and traditions. I began to hear students talking about what it means to be a Pitzer student as opposed to a student at the other 4 Claremont Colleges, or “4Cs.”
Upperclassmen informed me of generic stereotypes for students attending each college. Although they varied, they were ultimately similar and followed common threads.
Essentially, these are the stereotypes I’ve heard, with some comedic exaggeration.
Pomona students are portrayed as being type-A perfectionists who are pretentious overachievers.
Scripps girls are described as feminist-vegans who live in harmony while cultivating their seemingly flawless campus.
CMC students are often pictured as guys, even though the school is co-ed, who are basically Fraternity Boys concerned exclusively with girls, athletics and booze.
Mudders are portrayed as nerdy pyromaniacs obsessed with anything possessing wheels.
So yeah, stereotypes are often inaccurate, and are always broad generalizations, but they’re out there and can be approached sensitively if necessary.
Eventually, I started attending events on other campuses, whether academic or social, and meeting students from the other schools.
As I did this, I began developing my own first impressions of students and the schools they attended. I don’t judge people based on what college they attend; it’s just entertaining to observe whether they fit the stereotype Pitzer kids had informed me of.
Obviously if we had predispositions about personalities and tendencies of the students at each of the 5Cs, they’ve made generalizations about us as well.
As for Pitzer, the common stereotype is that we’re barefoot new-age hippies who are always blazed.
I heard this stereotype perpetuated time and time again by students on other campuses, and even Pitzer students. It seemed to be the one that the 5Cs had established for our school. This stereotype really doesn’t offend me.
However, the other day I heard that there’s another stereotype specifically for Pitzer females. Apparently, it’s assumed that we Pitzer girls are “sluts.”
Although “offended” isn’t the word that would come to my mind to describe how I feel about this stereotype, I’m still not a huge fan of it. I’m not a fan of the word in general.
First, why the fuck do we use this word so freely? It’s degrading and kind of objective. No one wants to be called a “slut.” We never really call guys “sluts”, so why is it okay to call girls that? How come if a girl can openly express her sexuality, she’s a “slut,” but if a man does so he’s often respected?
The next thing I’ll say is what any Pitzer student should say. The concept of “slut” is a social construct. It’s loosely defined, and means something a little different to everyone.
Thirdly, I don’t really know how this stereotype was born or can be applied. If we’re defining “slut” as someone who has a lot of sex or is open about their sexuality, then I’m sure there are “sluts” on every campus, and that is not something to be ashamed of.
The fact that sex positivity is promoted and executed on our campus is a good thing. Pitzer promotes safe sex, because abstinence in college is unrealistic. Encouraging students to make smart decisions regarding their sex lives is a policy to be applauded, not ridiculed.
Additionally, if I am a member of the 14.5 percent of freshmen admitted to Pitzer this year, that’s an honor. I don’t need to be communicated to anyone as being anything but fabulous. Hearing that we’re just a bunch of “sluts” is absolutely unwarranted.
I understand that each and every one of the 5C stereotypes can be taken insultingly, and that’s why I’m writing this. As someone who thinks the stereotypes can be innocently hilarious, they also can be taken a little too far.
If being called a “slut” offends me, then being called a “pyro” can offend someone at Mudd. Let’s remember that these are all in good fun, and that we’re all wonderful liberal arts students who should live in paradise together. Remember, we should just bake a cake made out of rainbows and smiles, and then we could eat it and be happy.
Next time you’re stereotyping, just be mindful of whom you’re talking to and how you can convey your message positively or in a more lighthearted manner.