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Southern Voice Online Editorial

Recruiting ‘lesbians until graduation’ at Agnes Scott
My college topped SoVo’s list for LGBT-friendly schools. So why do they allow C-list movies to demean us?

Agnes Scott College, the supposed World for Women, has become the cesspool for Hollywood’s C-list sequels. In my four years here, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the filming of such quality films as a remake of “Revenge of the Nerds” and the prequel to “Van Wilder.” Our most recent cinematographic credit is “Road Trip II: Beer Pong.”

First, let’s recognize the irony of a film whose Craigslist recruitment ad seeks extras who are “EXPERIENCED Beer Pong players” being filmed at our Princeton Review-named “Stone-cold Sober” school. More importantly, this movie’s reinforcement of sexism, racism, and heterosexism unhesitatingly undermines the college’s values and mission to educate women to “live honorably, think deeply, and engage in the intellectual and social challenges of their times.”

Although Agnes Scott was tied for Georgia’s most LBGTQ-friendly campus by Southern Voice, students eating dinner were recruited in the cafeteria to be extras in the film’s derisive “Lesbians until Graduation” scene. The recruiter assured us that the only requirement was “acting like lesbians.” But in case we were interested, they welcomed same-sex “background kissers.”

When we expressed offense, the recruiter said she was warned about encountering uncooperative students who were “really into being women” (versus into being objects?). When we asked what the scene entailed, the recruiter explained that the main premise of the scene was to portray “lesbians” being together. She continued to describe how the male protagonists stumble upon the room full of these “making-out lesbians” (and presumably “convert” them?).

This recruitment was foreshadowed by a fake bulletin board as part of the movie’s props advertising the “exploratory meeting” for their fake college’s “Lesbians Until Graduation” club, qualified by statements like “Miss your boyfriend from high school?” which is apparently the only acceptable “excuse” for being a lesbian.

TO UNDERSTAND the mindset behind these actions, let’s examine how the filmmakers put up signs that said that if we entered certain areas on our campus (including our main quad with our library and humanities building), we were granting the production crew permission to reproduce our images “throughout the universe for all of eternity.”

This same utter entitlement to our bodies was reproduced in the way that the production team assumed that just because we were on (our own) campus and that we were women, they could recruit us for this degrading “Lesbians until Graduation” scene.

I wonder if they had been filming a “Gays until Graduation” scene at Morehouse, would someone have gone to their cafeteria asking students if they would want to “act gay,” offering them the option of “making out if they were interested?” I doubt it. There’s something much more complicated and insidious here.

Unfortunately what this movie is reproducing is a cliché: the tokenizing and eroticizing of lesbianism as existing solely from the absence of men for their sexual enjoyment.

Agnes Scott women already face the insulting stereotype of pillow fighting in silky pajamas. How are we supposed to be taken serious as an academic institution when the production teams stop students from entering the library to study?

FURTHERMORE, the movie’s Craigslist ad states “primarily seeking White” and “Attractive Female Model Type” extras, valued at $7.17/hr (be sure to send in your weight!). These racist and sexist standards are clearly visible on the movie’s promotional flyer. The flyer shows a headless white woman’s body, focusing on her large breasts, barely covered by a shirt that says “Nice Rack.” Her pelvis is in front of a triangle of shot glasses. The tagline? “Get your balls wet.”

An anonymous group of students protested the film with flyers associating this image with our college’s admissions slogan: “Agnes Scott: Who will you become?” These posters were displayed on our quad and in our student center for a few hours before they were removed.

Our school received $30,000 for the filming of this movie on campus. This amount is less than one year’s tuition, which means that if only one student stopped coming here because of this film, the school would lose money.

I hope that our administration stops compromising our college’s mission statement and reputation as a women’s college with these offensive films. If they haven’t gotten the message yet, we’re just too “into being women” to stand for this objectification any longer.

By LOUISA HILL
DEC. 5, 2008

Comments

Very well written article! I can't believe that kind of crap is going on at ASC. It's very demoralizing.
OMFG. And for $30,000? No, nuh uh - I cannot believe that is going on.
Okay. Who are we writing letters to?
I second Mel--this is bullshit. What's the address for the Alumnae Magazine again?
Seriously?! I honestly thought this was a joke at first.

I can understand the college allowing crummy, potentially offensive movies to film on campus. I know that a lot of people would be offended by the mere association of the campus with an exploitative film, but I'm not. What does offend and shock me is that ASC's administration would approve these people to recruit extras from the students, and disrupt campus by being so invasive. Does anyone know who is responsible for greenlighting these people to come onto campus to film recruit? I'd like to write some letters.
I never even thought about what alumnae might think of this situation. It was a veritable shitstorm on campus before Thanksgiving. President Kiss did send out an email in response, but it was...well, she might as well not have said anything (and I'm a pretty big fan of the lady).
Any chance you can post the e-mail for us alum to read?
Thanks. You're right, though, she might as well not have said anything at all.
The e-mail really only ticked us all off more.
I pretty sure that this offends all alumnae. There's the older, conservative generations that would be shocked at the content of the movie, and the fact that they would try to recruit students to play (*gasp*) lesbians. Then there are the younger ones who y'know, have the same problems that the students do.
Good article, and spot on, really. I wish more protests had been put together against the crew and what-not while they were still on campus...but alas. It was midterms.
As a community member and a Mercer faculty member, I'll be happy to join the letter writing campaign. The exploitative nature of the film and its invasiveness are both grounds for protest.
thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this editorial! i couldn't agree with you more!
It wasn't me that wrote it, I just saw it in my news feed and thought everyone should know that ASC is in the news, and for something it shouldn't be proud of. If you want to say thanks to the woman who wrote it, you can email the publication: editor@sovo.com her name is Louisa Hall

:)
Actually, her name is Louisa Hill, she's a student here now!
So who do we write letters to?

Obviously President Kiss, but are there other folks to target? I'm sure I can mobilize lots of alums.
I don't have a problem with stupid movies using the campus as a backdrop-- but they way the filming impacted the students is no good. During midterms? Filming in the library? That's just silly. And requesting student participation in the "lesbian scene" even after they were told some students would take exception to the suggestion? It gets everyone riled up and, again, midterms? All I remember about Scream 2 was needing to walk the long way around the quad and being jealous as hell that the crew got air conditioning piped into Main, and the Scream 2 crew was on campus a lot longer than the Road Trip II crew.

I agree that showing our buildings in movies whose ideals we don't agree with won't bring the college down somehow, but I wish someone would have thought ahead to the effects on the students before they agreed to the film (and the timing of the film).

August 2010

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