Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lesbian Mecca?

So apparently, the April issue of GQ magazine contains an article called "Where to Find Her 2007," which describes the many locations across the world where GQ staff have apparently decided men can find high numbers of women who are both beautiful and intelligent. I do not know if this article can be found online (the GQ website is blocked by my office's brilliant new internet filter), but the first page of it is pictured below:


This existence of this article, while interesting, is not in and of itself something that I would normally write about on this blog. The reason I'm writing about it is that this article contains a small list on the bottom of one of its pages. The list is entitled "Where Not to Find Her," and lists places that apparently have been determined by the GQ staff to have very few attractive, smart women. The list, blown up for readability, is pictured below:


You will notice, if you look closely, that Smith College, my alma mater, is on this list.

Granted, this list is just silly, like most GQ reporting, and is trying to elicit a few cheap laughs on the part of its readers by propagating stereotypes such as implying that female athletes are ugly, stupid, or both (WNBA) and that old women are not attractive (the Supreme Court—unless, of course, they're trying to imply that Supreme Court Justices lack intelligence). They're also terribly clever when they point out that it may not be the best idea to date a blood relative, a high school student (assuming that the average GQ reader is no longer in high school), or a woman who is married to someone else.

In line with this approach on the part of the GQ editors, and given that Smith College is located in Northampton, Massachusetts, also known as the Lesbian Capital of the World, and also given that Smith College has somewhat of a reputation as a lesbian haven, I think it's fairly clear that the editors of GQ are not trying to say that all Smith students are ugly and/or stupid. Rather, I think they are simply resorting to an obvious stereotype to tell their readers (who are likely of the persuasion who need this sort of basic advice) that attempting to date a lesbian is probably not the most successful dating strategy available to them.

I believe that this article was just brought to the attention of Smith students in the past day or two, and already there is a Facebook group protesting the article. It cannot have been in existence for more than two days, and yet it already has 590 members (nearly a quarter of the size of the Smith student body) and 83 wall posts (by contrast, some of the Facebook groups that I've been in for two years still don't have half that number of wall posts). This group is, in fact, waging a photo campaign against GQ's editors in an attempt to prove them wrong (though I am not entirely sure how they will prove the intelligence factor through these photos).

The thing about Smith is that even though it's seen as having a huge lesbian population, several sociology professors whose classes I took while I was a student at Smith insisted that well over half of Smith students consider themselves heterosexual, and that the demographic breakdown of sexuality of the student body was not notably different from that of the overall population of the United States. My personal experience during my four years at Smith seemed to corroborate this theory, though I don't know of any actual studies or hard statistics on the matter.

The ironic thing about all this is that by publishing this article and pissing off all these (admittedly overly-PC, easy-to-piss-off) Smith students, this statement has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. GQ readers should stay away from Smith students. Because the gay ones don't date men, and now the straight ones don't date GQ-reading men.

6 comments:

  1. Because the gay ones don't date men, and now the straight ones don't date GQ-reading men.

    Hah!

    I'm glad to see that someone else thinks this was just a stupid joke by some male "journalists" looking to get a cheap laugh. Oh Smith. Sometimes I miss it terribly, and other times... yeah, not so much.

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  3. I'm a lesbian and work at Gap Kids and Gap Baby, and I applied to Smith because I have heard it's good for english and has a big lesbian community. Hahahaha, right on! (:

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