Hazing News

The Indiana Daily Student decries the so-called “Rush Boobs” practice

Here is the link

And an excerpt:

The week before spring break, the Indiana Daily Student ran a story interviewing participants in a growing trend as they drew greek fraternity letters on their breasts, took topless photos and shared the shots — nicknamed “Rush Boobs” — with brothers to promote their organization during ?recruitment.

The tradition, evidenced by ?’s prolific collection, is both prevalent and ?time-honored. Despite the condemnation of various administrators and campus leaders, Rush Boobs are certainly being shared on IU’s campus and ?beyond.

Obviously, the practice is hugely problematic. Not only does it encourage the objectification and sexual commodification of women for the sake of a men’s organization, it precariously toes the line of privacy exploitation, revenge porn and ?celebrated misogyny.

While the original coverage exposed the multi-faceted grossness that is the Rush Boobs tradition, it also touched on the fact that the women who participated in taking photos of themselves did so ?willingly.

Since no names or faces were attached to the photos, the participants said they felt detached from their photos, according to the article. They did not, however, know what happened to the photo afterword.

As frustrating and disturbing as the nude promotion of fraternities may be, it is beyond the realm of any institution to limit those women’s right to do whatever they choose with their bodies.

If they decide to write on themselves and take photos, no matter the nature of said photos, they certainly may.

To deny them that right would simply be endorsing ?another brand of objectification. At stake here is far more than the misuse of topless photos.

The issue at hand being woefully overlooked is the origin of this tradition’s popularity: the fraternities ?themselves.

“Rush Boobs,” as the article delineates, are frequently part of a pledgeship process that includes a multitude of challenges and demands.

In order to become members, men must complete a series of tasks or face consequences. In reality, it is their agency that’s being denied here, not the women who participate.

Potential brothers are pressured by their peers into asking this of a woman in order to achieve brotherhood status, and it is this kind of hazing practice we should be focusing our energy on ?eliminating.

According to the men interviewed, they felt uncomfortable and guilty when approaching women about providing Rush Boobs photos — the pressure to conform to fraternity tradition pushes them to ask things of their peers that compromise, as one interviewee put it, their “gentlemanliness.”

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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