Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gentleman's Quarterly? That's a laugh.


In their April issue, GQ is running an article titled Where to Find Her, 2007. The caption beneath the title reads, “A whole world of smart, beautiful women are out there, from the beaches of Uruguay to aisles of Whole Foods. We searched far and wide to discover the best spots on the planet to meet them.”

The article, which if full of pictures of women who are indeed beautiful (in the most current sense), contains a sidebar which describes where not to find her. The list is meant as a joke; for example, men are instructed not to look for her at the family reunion, in high school, or while on vacation with the wife and kids. They’re also instructed not to look in Hooters or a Red Light District window, since of course women who use their bodies to make money cannot be both smart and beautiful (nor would they be fit company for a gentleman – for more than a night, that is).

According to the article, men should also avoid looking for her at a goat show in Tijuana, on Mykonos, and at Smith College.

I suppose I don’t even need to tell you that Smithies are pissed. Well, some Smithies at least. The Facebook group “F*ck You, GQ: Smithies are Beautiful” has 487 members as of 1pm today, and that number has grown by more than a hundred since I looked last night. The group constitutes a call to action to Smithies to send photos of themselves showing off their inner beauty and confidence to the editor of GQ to demonstrate their beauty. From the website:

…while this list offends all different types of nationalities, sexualities, religions, hobbies, and age groups in addition to ALL WOMEN EVERYWHERE, I feel that it is our JOB to stand up for our college. Smith does not get enough positive publicity. This article appears in a well-known, well-read magazine. It offends our school, our intelligence, our beauty, and our beliefs. It lowers us to a worthless thing. According to GQ, we are merely a place where smart and beautiful women cannot be found…

I am damn proud of my Alma Mater, and make a point of loudly declaring myself a Smithie whenever possible. Smithies are beautiful on many different levels, and it’s really hard to be at Smith if you’re not smart. But there’s another thing Smithies are, and it’s the thing that got the college landed in this article.

Smithies are Queer.

Okay, wait, don’t get mad at me yet. I know that not all Smithies like the ladies or identify with the queer community in any way. After all, some of my best friends are straight. But Smith has a reputation for being The Big Gay. Now, that reputation doesn’t go as far as you might think – in fact, it’s primarily known by people who went to other Small Liberal Arts Colleges in the Northeast. Students at SLACs like Dartmouth, Wesleyan (technically a University, I know), and our own beloved Amherst, as well as those at other women’s colleges know Smith’s reputation for being queer. I’d be willing to bet $20 that the person who contributed Smith College to the list either went to a Northeastern SLAC or to UMASS Amherst.

Although there are debates about how Smith got its gay reputation, I am proud of the atmosphere at the college that allows that reputation to thrive. Smithies are open-minded, tolerant, willing to learn from each other and politically and ideologically minded. It’s a tough place to be conservative, and I’d like to see both students and faculty make a more concerted effort to have those kinds of political discourses, but in general I think that Smith is a good place to learn how to be who you are. If that means that the “gentlemen” who read GQ don’t want to date us, so be it – we can do better than them, anyway. You know, like by having partners who respect us.

6 comments:

Love and Latex said...

Amen, my Smith sista!!!

Tom Paine said...

Smithies were considered Sapphists 30 years ago when I was in school....

Found you from Rachel's monthlong blogathon (I'm in the "bonus round").

Vita said...

Great entry!

My money was on went to UMass...or got blown off by a Smithie who decided she was too good for his whiny ass. Heh.

Mandy said...

I like the sarcasm - I think GQ might have been being sarcastic, too, about the Red Light District - as in, "don't look for your *girlfriend* here." But, like the rest of the silly sidebar, it just didn't get across as funny or sharp.

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