Harmless and Witty or Dangerous for Women? A Critical Examination of a Campus Ritual

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Students at a Midwestern university have a ritual of naming their off-campus houses and displaying these names on house signs. Through a socio-feminist perspective, this paper analyzes the house signs as cultural texts on undergraduate gender and sexuality norms. The ostensibly humors signs reinforce hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity; sexually objectify women; and promote a social scene of partying, drinking and casual heterosexual sex--as standards for campus social belonging. This ritual may impede gender equality in high education and should be critically reexamined by the campus community.


Presented at the National Women’s Studies Association, San Juan, November 2014.