It’s a Jungle Out There


Have you ever watched an Animal Planet documentary? One where the film crew is somewhere deep in the African Serengeti following a pack of Hyenas as they hunt. There’s usually a tight shot of a gazelle, minding their own business and completely unaware of the ascending predators and the swell of suspenseful music. Then the chase ensues and it’s hard not to help but feel protective for the gazelle even though it’s probably going to end badly?

It’s kind of the same feeling I get watching some of the creepy guys hit on younger girls at parties.

During welcome week I witnessed a frat bro standing on the steps of his porch targeting freshmen girls and inviting them in for a “good time.” This same guy was turning away other groups of people minutes earlier because the party was “too full.”

Young women in college environments are constantly targeted at these functions because they can be perceived as easy to influence. The combination of drugs and alcohol and pressure to be sexually desirable can blur the lines between what an individual is willing to do to fit in and what they are actually ready for.

At the risk of sounding like a mother, I’m putting this out there for everyone (regardless of whether or not they are freshmen), there is absolutely nothing girls need to prove to anybody, especially out at parties.

Believe it or not, girls don’t have to dance with that guy because he offered them a free shot and they don’t have to wear a certain revealing style because it’s what’s supposedly hot. Women can sexually empower themselves without turning themselves into an object.

Ronnie Ritchie created a helpful visual guide to distinguish the difference between sexual empowerment and sexual objectification. The main takeaway is understanding who has the power in a given sexual situation.

This power can be referred to the power of consent. Do all members of the situation consent to what is happening or is someone doing it just because they feel pressure to?

For example, sexual empowerment is someone dancing with a partner because they want to. Objectification is when they dance with a partner after the other has basically forced themselves onto them or because they gave them a drink so the girl “owes them one.”

It seems like such a simple concept, but in the moment it can get tricky to tell the difference sometimes. It’s important in situations like those to assess how the moment feels. Trust that gut feeling, If it feels uncomfortable at all, bow out.

It’s completely possible to have fun and be a sexual being while staying safe. Just know your personal boundaries and stay true to them. One persons boundaries are going to be different from others at the party. One girl might be completely okay with wearing little more than a bralette. Another may not, that’s totally fine, wear what makes you feel good.

The most impressive thing is someone who stays true to their individuality and sense of self. Putting oneself out there in ways that aren’t authentic will attract the wrong crowd. Everyone is at their sexiest when they’re themselves.

Lorinda Sasan can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.