US: Yale group throws Anti-Valentine's event against fraternity culture
Gender equality group is hosting Anti-Valentine's event against 'tradition rooted in capitalism and hetronormativity' Source: Kelly Sikkema/

A group of Yale students are holding an ‘Anti-Valentine’s’ event to counteract a day ‘rooted in capitalism and heteronormativity’, and to help dismantle fraternity culture.

The event by Engender, a group fighting to dismantle toxic masculinity in fraternities on campus, will feature the screening of “This World: Frat Boys”, a sociological documentary that exposes the “sinister side” of fraternities, according to The Guardian.

“Are you going out this Wednesday out of respect a tradition rooted in capitalism and heteronormativity? Or have you slipped through the cracks to suffer the awkward, social consequences of aloneness on Valentine’s?

“Either way, come celebrate your Wednesday Night at Yale at the Women’s Center, with Engender, for a screening of ‘This World: Frat Boys‘,” reads the event description.

The US is expected to spend US$9 billion on flowers, candy, jewellery and greeting cards this Valentine’s, according to The Motley Fool, fueling criticism of the holiday as a product of capitalism rather than a celebration of love.

Engender wants to end gender segregation in fraternities to create equal employment opportunities, prevent group stereotypes that disadvantage women and benefit men and dismantle the heteronormative culture on campus, according to their mission statement.

Student Natalie Schultz-Henry said women’s inclusion in fraternities would combat the “epidemic of sexual assault, hazing, and unequal professional opportunities created by the exclusion of women from fraternities”, in an interview with Campus Reform.

In response to Engender’s mission, student Grant Richards wrote in an Op-Ed for Yale Daily News: “A frequent complaint lobbed against fraternities is that they are exclusively male and ‘breed toxic masculinity’. Fraternities are all male for a reason — it begets brotherhood.”

Asserting that fraternities are necessary to form close-knit male friendships, Richards says that they provide the atmosphere young men were used to at school.

He goes on to say: “If single-sex organizations are inherently bad, then sports teams and sororities should be abolished along with fraternities, but activist groups like Engender opt for the easy punching bag of criticizing fraternities over intellectual consistency.”

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