Sadie Hawkins Dance Raises Issues of Heterosexism at HC
Article detailing the cancelling of the Sadie Hawkins Dance by Students Council for fears that it was heterosexist, and the controversy surrounding it. From Bryn Mawr-Haverford College News.
Ray, Dan (author)
Haverford College student newspapers --https://archives.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/resources/hcl-003-003
Scanned and cataloged by Chris Bechen, Haverford Class of 2018. Description by Chris Bechen.
2 NEWS _
DANCE from page 1
asserted BGALA co-Head Rachel Guerra
‘98. “It came up in the context of things not
accepting of queer students at Haverford.”
Senior co-Head Michael Greenblatt stated
that in planning next week’s Day of Silence,
the Sadie Hawkins dance, along with Screw
Your Roommate, had been mentioned as
campus events that excluded bisexuals or
homosexuals. Greenblatt added that in joking
with his friends, “everyone was starting to
call it the Straightie Hawkins dance.”
Other students appear not to have given
the dance much discussion at all. “The only
people J heard talking about it were’ people
making fun of it,” said Jenn Stevens ‘98.
Sophomore J.T. Duck stated, “It was some-
thing I thought about, but I didn’t think any- 3
one else was really thinking about it.” He
added that he had suspected others were
displeased with the event after he saw adver-
tising flyers in his hall that had been vandal-
Despite the private sentiments and con-
versations, the issue was not brought to the
attention of Students’ Council until last
Wednesday, when sophomore Julia Lynton
sent an email to SC President Kevin Joseph
- *98 voicing her concerns about the dance.
“The signs and general theme of the dance
illustrates the blatant assumption that ‘alter-
native’ sexual orientations are not present,
much less widespread, on the Haverford cam-
pus. I find it wrong that SC assumes that
everyone feels comfortable with what a small
group finds normal,” she stated in her email.
“I find it interesting that SC devotes time to
promoting BGALA in certain ways and at
certain times, but that when a huge campus
event is planned, the struggle of homosexuals
and bisexuals in our already homophobic
society is merely illustrated. not prevented.”
Lynton recalled that she decided to write
the email to Joseph after a conversation she
had. “I was talking to a friend, and I was like,
‘You know, that’s really fucked up,’ and I
thought about it some more, and I kept seeing
these signs around...” According to Lynton,
her letter was forwarded to other members of
SC later on the day that she sent it.
“The assumption of a Sadie Hawkins,
dance is that girls ask guys, and that’s just
blatant heterosexism. Not. necessarily in a
nasty intentioned way, but I don’t see any
reason to continue a fifties tradition that’s
offensive to nineties standards,” said Lynton,
explaining her objection to the theme of the
eyes ea et ee |
Sophomore Abby Roza expressed hercon-
' / (FUESDAY, APMIS, 1997.
-cerns to her dorm representative, Adrienne
Horowitz ’99, on the same day, talking to her
in person. “I just told her I was disappointed
_ in Students’ Council because... they obvi-
ously weren’t thinking of including homo-
sexual people when they were designing [the
gaacel. <= | ms
Elaborated Horowitz, “She just wanted to
share her feelings that the dance is exclusion-
ary. She wasn’t asking for anything necessar-
ily to be done. She specifically said that she
didn’t jump in and say something right away
because it wasn’t a huge deal to her that
something be done about it. She didn’t know
if anything could be done about it. She just
wanted me to know her feelings, or Students’
Council to know her feelings.”
That same evening, Horowitz relayed
Roza’s concerns to Joseph, who had already
forwarded Lynton’s email to the other mem-
bers of Executive Council. According to Jo-
seph, “Executive ‘Council talked via tele-
phone about the issues and our options be-
tween 12:30 and 3 a.m. on Thursday morn-
ing. We slept on it and then met at 9:15 a.m.
Thursday, prior to our weekly Deans meet-
ing, to decide.” Ultimately, Executive Coun-
cil canceled the event.
Decision to Cancel
A statement written by the majority of
Executive Council was posted on the com-.
ment board, explaining their course of action.
“While heterosexuals, in all likelihood, are a
majority here at Haverford, it’s important to
recognize that we as a community, by our
own choice, respect and welcome ail of our
neighbors and classmates. And sponsoring
what is conceivably, by its very theme, an
exclusive dance under the pretenses of it —
being welcoming and inclusive is at odds
with our personal beliefs,” read part of the.
letter, signed by Joseph, A.L.E.S.A.
Blanchard-Nelson-’99 (SC Vice-President),
Rich Zito °99, and Josh Kurlantzick ’98 (SC
co-Treasurers). Paul Alvarez ‘00, SC Secre-
_tary and Chair of Activities Committee, was |
the only member of Executive Council who
did not sign the letter. :
Alvarez, who disagreed with the decision
to cancel the event, posted his own letter,
stating his position. “... While I feel that
Executive Council took a correct path in
[canceling the dance], I don’t think it was the
- best path that could have been taken. The
Sadie Hawkins Dance is a tradition that has
_ gone on for many years, and was never meant
to make any political statements. It may how-
ever be a tradition that the campus needs:to
_ reevaluate... ,” wrote Alvarez.
“I think that people should look at the
dance for what it really is, which is just
- Students Find Flaw With Sadie Hawkins T hem te
_ In Split Decision, Executive Council Decides to Cancel Dance.
basically being a dance, and not really any-
thing political, not really Saying any state-
ments. I wouldn’t care if we had a theme at
all. It’s the point of having a good time and
_ fulfilling a promise I made when I was run-
ning to basically try and throw parties on this
campus,” said Alvarez, elaborating on why
he wanted the event'to be held.
He also explained that he had worked out
a verbal agreement several week ago with DJ
Howard, the scheduled entertainment, and
that a written contract was going to be signed
on the Thursday that the dance was canceled.
“We had a vocal agreement, and so basically,
I had to, in a way, break my word of this
agreement, and tell him that he couldn’t per-
form, which is his livelihood... I was pretty
upset at the fact that I had to do that,” Alvare
Concern over lack of parties was another
reason why he was reluctant to cancel the
dance. “I agree that is was really our fault,
that maybe we should have thought about the.
dance. I want to throw as many parties as
possible but time’s short and the campus is
very close to the end of the semester. ’m not
Teally able to throw that many P®™
can’t go back in time if we cancel 0
big parties that we had planned, @
another reason why I was upset ad’
Hawkins being canceled.” .
Other members of Executive CO a
plained that, to them, anything S207
celing the dance was not a viable OF
Stated Joseph, “With around.48 }
before the dance it [was] hard cs
[and] rename an event while since?
nizing the error that was made. LOB oe
renaming it would not work, ard
we had to work with. The damit mes
canceled for a sincere and effective *
tion of the error. Renaming it would aa
ing a real underlying issue that ib aes
Blanchard-Nelson offered a su”
ion. “It would be like putting 4 Bay
a larger wound. [Canceling the 6@®
not be addressing the problem,
it up, and I feel that a part of 1
Students’ Council is to address po 7
see DANCE page#
* Make great job/internship contacts without
s Wearing a suit or heélis
_* Work all weekend — cutinthesun!
parents) to yo-yo, juggle,
* Teach kids (and their
ephty a frisbee, and/or hula hoop!
Alumni Weekend '97
___ May 30 June 1, 1997,
_ Come by the Alumni 0
| étails and an. ffice, Founders 214, for — 3 : : * : I
| S@lauS and anapplicationform.
= email@example.com _ a