Every once in a while, I learn something that makes it hurt to be human. Something so horrible that I want to crawl back into the primordial ooze and just wait for humanity to evolve for another couple million years before I emerge again.
Guess what? Today was one of those days? (How did you know?)
I was innocently minding my own business, reading about Momma K's efforts to get her Jazzercise teaching certificate over at Petroville. In the middle of her post, she said, apropos of feeling picked on: "I felt like a sorority pledge in a game of Circle the Fat."
"Huh," I thought, never having been a sorority pledge. "What's that?"
Then in the comments section, someone said: "You made me laugh so hard…especially at the Circle Fat thing. Been there, done that. Don’t want to go there every again."
Curious, I googled it. I got to a review of a book called "Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities," by Alexandra Robbins that was published in The American Spectator.
I read about circle the fat: "to lay on a floor blindfolded and naked while snickering fraternity brothers "circle the fat" areas of your body that "need work" with permanent marker... "
I almost threw up. I sat there staring at my monitor for the longest time, hard put to move or blink or even continue thinking, because my brain had contracted in a painful, charlie-horse like spasm after reading that phrase.
Why would ANYONE involved think this is ok? Why would a young woman agree to such humiliation? Why would any young man with one ounce of kindness or morality take part? What kind of people are we raising?
I am not normally overly moral or a prudish scold, but come on. This is so wrong on so many levels that it just ties my heart in knots to learn about it. I didn't think that much could shock me anymore, but this shocks me and pains me and brings me great despair.
It's not out of an exaggerated sense of propriety, either. It is more a deep sadness that these young people have so little concept of their own value as people that they would all take part in this. It seems that they believe they are a collection of soulless parts that can ridicule and be ridiculed with no lasting damage. Hey, it's all in good fun, right?
I spoke with a young American Muslim woman who wore the hijab one time. She said: "You assume that dressing like this takes away my power. In my mind, it gives me power, because I decide who sees me and under what circumstances."
I had never thought of it that way before. I don't think veiling women is necessarily a solution to women being exploited and to them opening themselves to humiliation. But at least the Muslim woman had thought about it, which seems to be more than these young women have done.
PS - I don't know if this is the type of thing Momma K was talking about. I didn't ask her. She may have experienced some kind of girl-on-girl cruelty of a similar sort. In any case, I don't think that pointing out other people's flaws, especially in a group-think situation, is often productive or healthy.