Maybe next, they'll just ban all alcohol and all parties.
Shame on you, Stanford.
First, you totally buy into Brock Turner's whole "men don't rape people -- alcohol rapes people" thing by banning hard alcohol. A move which, by the way, is not going to reduce sexual assault.
Then, you publish the most victim-blaming, condescending website ever. In Female Bodies and Alcohol, which you've since had the sense to take down, you wrote, "Women who are seen drinking alcohol are perceived to be more sexually available than they may actually be.”
And now, you've canceled one of Stanford's most outrageously fun and ridiculous traditions: Full Moon on the Quad.
For those who don't know, Full Moon on the Quad, or FMOTQ, was originally an event that took place on the first full moon of the new school year. Senior boys and freshman girls would line up across the Quad from one another -- and at the stroke of midnight, the boys would welcome the girls to Stanford with a rose and a kiss.
Over time, that devolved into something a little less romantic, and a lot more raunchy. Until this year, FMOTQ was open to the whole student body. Some students showed up naked. Some showed up in body paint. Most showed up fully clothes.
Some students kissed one person. Some kissed everyone they possibly could. Some, like me, didn't kiss anyone at all (except my boyfriend).
The event was always super inclusive -- there was an LGBT section, a "hugs only" section, and an abundance of mouthwash and gum stations throughout the quad. (Brushing your teeth before or after the event is discouraged, as the bristles make tiny cuts in your mouth, increasing your chances of catching weird kissing diseases.)
Consent was always important. PHEs, or Peer Health Educators, were present before and during the event to spread the message that consent is sexy. Other groups, including MAAN, or Men Against Abuse Now, also used FMOTQ to spread their message.
I love that they made the effort to spread this message -- because honestly, of all the parties and events I attended at Stanford, FMOTQ was one where I felt absolutely, completely respected.
No one touched or kissed me without my consent ever. If a guy wanted to kiss me, he would politely ask, "Can I kiss you?" And then I would say, "No, I'm not kissing tonight," or perhaps, "Sure, but only on the cheek."
And that was absolutely respected.
Which is why I was very confused and sad to learn that student services recently announced that FMOTQ isn't happening this fall. They're saying it will happen during winter quarter, instead, but I'm not so sure.
According to their post,
As part of a continuing effort to reimagine one of Stanford’s longest-standing traditions, Full Moon on the Quad (FMOTQ) has been moved from Fall to Winter Quarter. Contrary to rumors that the event has been canceled, FMOTQ will take place on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.
I emailed some of the people and committees mentioned in this post. I asked them if there were any actual reports of sexual assault or alcohol abuse at FMOTQ. None answered, and I wasn't able to find any evidence that there had.
What I did find was the March 2016 post from the Stanford Daily that Stanford mentioned in their post. The article, "ASSU Senate talks University defunding Full Moon on the Quad, Stanford Student Enterprises investigation, quotes an email from Stanford Vice Provost:
So... there might have been sexual assaults at FMOTQ? No numbers are given, nor is it explicitly said that students who "drink to excess" end up in non-consensual situations. All we know is that there is a connection between excessive drinking and non-consensual sexual behavior.
Which, I guess, is why Stanford decided to ban hard alcohol. (Because, you know, no one ever got drunk off of beer or wine.)
But as someone who's been to several FMOTQs, I'm having a hard time understanding how anyone could have possibly felt "pressured" to do anything. Like, if some dude is like, "Can I kiss you?" are there really people out there who would just be like, "Um, okay," when the real answer is no?
And how the hell did anyone feel "unwelcome"? As I already mentioned, there are areas that are literally roped off for people who are LGBTQ. There are areas that are literally roped off for people who only want to hug. And no one kisses anyone who doesn't want to be kissed.
My freshman year at Stanford, I was a good little Christian girl from Iowa who'd never kissed anyone. Never at any time did I feel pressured to be or do anything -- in my experience, consent and respect were always an inextricable part of Full Moon. I never set foot in the "hugs only" section, because I didn't need to. It's not like anyone assumed that just because I was walking around in the middle of the Quad, they could come molest me.
It's possible, I guess, that Stanford has changed so much in just a few years that people are running around kiss raping everyone and saying things like, "No one will ever like you if you don't make out with 20 dudes at Full Moon." That would help me understand why anyone could feel "unwelcome, apprehensive and even unsafe."
But I doubt that's what happened.
More likely, Stanford is terrified of bogus Title IX claims. Another culprit may be the anti-feminist feminist movement (hi, Everyday Feminism!), which has eroded young women's sense of sexual agency.
Like, remember last year, when Northwestern professor and feminist Laura Kipnis penned her Chronicle of Higher Education essay, Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe? In it, she questioned a new university policy that banned all relationships between students and professors.
Yes, she acknowledges, there can be a power imbalance in such a situation, and you should obviously proceed with caution. But is it really impossible for two consenting adults to have a consensual relationship? And, like, what do people even mean when they say "power imbalance" anymore?
Needless to say, many "feminists" did not receive this well. (I can't say I'm 100% on-board with her argument, but she makes some great points.)
Here's another example. Another fauxminist website called Feministing recently published Here’s What I Would Have Said To You Last Night Had You Not Cum And Then Fallen Asleep. In it, the author suggests that the very well-documented “orgasm gap” is not due to gender differences in anatomy or psychology… but due to “the patriarchy.”
In other words, because of "the patriarchy," women can't be expected to have any agency over their own sex lives? They can't be expected to tell their partner in verbal or nonverbal language what they want sexually?
I guess not. The same author wrote in Stop Expecting Women to be Chill About Sex,
If you think you're an adult woman who is mature enough to be having sex, then it is your job to make your expectations for the encounter clear. After all, as I wrote in The Orgasm Gap is Real - But Don't Blame it on The Patriarchy:
"Taking accountability is what marks the difference between boys and men; girls and women; children and adults.
And, given the deeply intimate nature of sex, sexy-time is probably one of the most important times for you to have and exercise agency."
But apparently Stanford, or Title IX people, or fauxminists, disagree. They think that "feminism" means protecting women from everything and making sure they never feel apprehensive about anything. Rather than, you know. Empowering them. Expecting more from them.
Safety is important. We can all agree on that. But was FMOTQ really unsafe for anyone? Or is the possibility that people might have to put themselves in the horribly uncomfortable situation of saying no to a stranger who wants to kiss them something that now constitutes "unsafe"?
But then, maybe the problem was never really safety. According to the Stanford Daily, one major goal of the 20-person working group that's in the process of defining Stanford student culture (since, I guess, students can't do that themselves) is "to change an atmosphere that the [20-person] group characterized as noninclusive and even 'club-like.'”
What does that mean?
Again, I asked some committee members, and got no reply. So I'm left with guesses and assumptions.
Maybe people think it's "club-like" because... there's music? Most of it is live -- or, at least, it was in my years. But there could also be DJ music. Which... is "club-like"?
Maybe people think it's "noninclusive" because... honestly, I don't know. My only guess -- and this is based on nothing except how people typically use the word "inclusive," and the fact that almost every marginalized community I can think of is already represented at FMOTQ -- is that statistically, some people are less likely to be approached than others? (For example, according to OKCupid data, people are least likely to message Asian men and Black women.) So maybe at an event based around kissing... some people feel excluded? And we could make it more inclusive by banning kissing? Or forcing everyone to kiss everyone so no one's feelings get hurt? (Because, according to fauxminists, you only need consent if you rank lower than the other person on the "hierarchy of oppression.")
Or... maybe it's something else. I don't know. I can't imagine. And they won't tell me.
Is it important for institutions of higher learning to stay current with changing times? Sure. But FMOTQ is one tradition that doesn't need to change.
By the time FMOTQ happens, students have been in school for almost a month -- that's plenty of time to begin understanding "campus social norms." (Moreover, it's a great way to see that "social norms" means different things to different groups on campus.)
The "culture of consent" has always (at least, as of 2005) been an inextricable part of FMOTQ.
And Stanford students don't need a 20-person committee to decide what their culture is. One thing that I always thought was beautiful about Full Moon was that it was a rare chance to see what a rich and diverse student body we have at Stanford -- from body-painted co-op types, to world-class athletes, to people who want to let it all hang out and kiss as many people as possible, to people who just want to listen to the music and share the experience that is Full Moon on the Quad.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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