by Marissa Reed
*Trigger warning: graphic quotes and pornographic-like material is associated with the webpage of critique
It has been a few years since I’ve been on my state college campus as a student, but that doesn’t block the memories from my undergrad years. Recently, I saw a friend “like” a page on Facebook. That page was iowafuckingcity. I went to this page and what I found appalled me.
The website portrays Iowa City, the University of Iowa, and the Hawkeyes as a downright party town complete with women willing to take their clothes off, people getting extremely drunk, and literally no studying going on. The participants in these photos continue to glamorize binge-drinking, but that is a whole other rant. What I was most disgusted by, as I scrolled through some pictures, was that I noticed women were being taken advantage of in such a way that mimics “Girls Gone Wild.” Girls were making out with their friends and being photographed for male attention. It was completely voyeuristic and packed full of sensationalism for not just college-aged men to drool over, but anyone who came to the site, including men who are married, well over the age of 18, and have children.
I find this sort of exhibitionist-type action to be alarming. First, there are pictures of a “model” (read: girl who messaged the page and said she was willing to pose) that explicitly states that she is 18 years old. The comments go something like this (*I have deleted names for confidentiality purposes):
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- shes legal! shes legal! shes legal! Hahaha Wednesday at 8:29pm · Like · 18
- She needs sum D Wednesday at 8:32pm · Like · 3
- I enjoy the, “She is 18″ Wednesday at 8:33pm · Like · 2Bottom of Form
There were plenty more comments under these models’ pictures that suggest they are being treated as centerfolds of Hustler or Playboy. These kind of responses are extremely similar to the obsession with underage or teenage girls in pornography. The “Barely Legal” DVDs even have a “college girls” issue that glamorize the female college student as a piece of eye-candy rather than what she actually is, a woman attending a college or university for educational purposes. IowaFuckingCity’s posts and website mimic these sort of degradations and perpetuate the subordination of women: “Women can’t possibly be going to college to get an education, they are only there for us dudes to party with and then hook up!” This is a huge issue in our society.
Female students get trapped in the voyeuristic mindset, too. We are pressured from all sides to conform to the ideal beauty myth, especially once we hit the age of 18. By combining these two phenomena in a college zone, women think they can reaffirm their beauty by putting their sexual selves in the public, very male eye. I remember thinking back as a freshman that getting attention from males at college was a close priority to getting good grades. I believe a lot of that came from the media I was exposed to. I remember seeing the “Campus Girls” ads looking for student models to pose suggestively for the calendar. I remember thinking that I could never be one of those girls because I was not thin enough. I have natural blonde hair and green eyes, which is pretty much the beauty ideal, but still I did not think I was perfect enough to pose as a sexy University of Iowa representative in those pages. I can only imagine what women of color or of different shapes and sizes felt like looking at those increasingly unattainable ideals their classmates were glamorizing.
Patriarchal society supports the “sluttification” of women. Especially women doing sexual things with other women. Mind you, these women must fit the beauty ideal, they cannot be actual lesbians because they are posing for male gratification, for male acceptance, for male attention.
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This IowaFuckingCity creator has claimed the power of media and he is using it to continually objectify women. While he seems to get a lot of women to partake in these voyeuristic actions, he is still missing a large segment of the college student body. His images are misrepresenting women on campus. His images perpetuate the idea that women are to be used as sexual objects. He has created a space where it is okay for people to think in misogynistic terms and where it is encouraged to post lewd and sexually-suggestive voyeuristic material. The posts associated with this page and their website severely harm women as a whole and women’s individual sense of self worth.
October 14 Never pass up buying shots for a woman with a hair tie on her wrist she’s thinking ahead.
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October 15 Every girl has a slutty friend… if you don’t, then you are the slutty friend.
and 545 others like this.
October 9 Iowa fucking city student advice: If at first you don’t succeed, try drinking a beer while you do it. You’ll be amazed at how much less you care.
To read the original post on Marissa’s blog click HERE