"Cornell Fetch," a website that lets visitors rank sorority sisters, has garnered massive amounts of outrage and page views — more than a million hits in three days. Undergrads feel objectified, university officials are disturbed, and the founders are absolutely loving it. One of them spoke to us about why they feel the need to mansplain the patriarchy to their female peers.
Cornell Fetch works much like Mark Zuckberg's first rendition of Facebook: it allows users to choose between Facebook photos of women in sororities next to their Greek affiliation. Do you like Rachel from SDT or Liana from Kappa Delta? Is Theta's Brittany hotter than Amelia from Phi Sig Sig? Cornell Fetch doesn't actually ask you to rate whom you find more appealing — the user decides for him or herself. And therein lies the brilliance, according to Teddy,* one of the site's founders and an undergraduate at Cornell. The goal of Cornell Fetch, he told us, is to expose a "sorority hierarchy" that's "generally known of but not acknowledged." So what if they humiliate women by posting their photos online and forcing them to participate in a ranking game without their consent? Girls are catty and judge each other, anyway! It's ironic.
"All we're doing is formalizing an unspoken consensus," Teddy explained in a rather self-satisfied manner. "We're not saying this general perception is right or even fair. We're just saying it exists."
The founders believe that new students "have the right to know that certain labels will be attached to you once you join a sorority," which is why they're collecting all sorts of data that will illustrate the positive and negative stereotypes associated with different sororities. It's hard to imagine how well that's going now that the site has gained national prominence — we're guessing that more judgers are clicking based on personal taste, not Theta's status — but the bros seem confident. The "data we will release at the end of our experiment will be even more controversial" and enlightening, Teddy promised.
So: why women? What about frat members? Are they living in a classless utopia? Teddy said the decision to play the game with women instead of men was "arbitrary." Given that women are objectified by strangers constantly, practically from birth, doesn't it seem cruel and counterproductive to shame them for being perpetually judged? It's "particularly important" for women "to realize how people's perceptions change once they attach a sorority label to themselves," Teddy said. "Women face a really different challenge than men." Ladies: they're just trying to help.
*Not his real name.
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