Why the “Golden Ratio” Sucks

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A brisk wind at about 10 knots swooshes by on 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday in mid-September. Clumps of boys assemble throughout the quad, eyes darting around, looking for anyone not wearing a Vineyard Vines long sleeve tee and khaki shorts. An innocent group of girls pass by, making the boys squawk and follow like hungry seagulls flocking to the tourist who tripped and spilled her chili cheese fries. “Hey ladies! Looks like you’re going somewhere,” they say not-so-smoothly, sounding like desperate screeches of “Mine! Mine! Mine!” I’m picturing Finding Nemo right now, and I hope you are too.

During my freshman year, I remember trying to walk briskly to avoid the groups of guys hanging out on the benches outside my dorm, just waiting to latch onto a group of girls. Sometimes my friends and I decided to bluntly question our tag-alongs by saying, “Who are you and do I know you?” Well, that sure-fire way got rid of our followers.

Roll through the quad at the wrong time and you’re bound to witness this common spectacle. When the sun falls each Thursday, Friday and Saturday, boys emerge from their dorms searching for girls. They call this odd mating habit “freshman boy social life.”

Here’s the deal: Boys throw parties and don’t let other boys in, only admitting girls in pursuit of the golden ratio. The goal: Collect as many girls as possible at a party with as few boys as possible.

Why, you ask? Although I am far from understanding the inner workings of the teenage boy’s mind, the only reasonable explanation I see is that boys want to maximize their chances to get with a girl. They figure if they surround themselves with ladies, at least one is bound to pity them enough to hook up with them. By eliminating the number of other guys there, the competition falls. Clever huh? Not really.

Why am I so salty? Quite honestly, I feel sick of this rule. “No dudes.” Not only does it force me to separate from my guy friends (which I refuse to), but it also reveals the sexism that taints college social life.

So boys—

When you ask a girl to get you into a party simply because she is a girl, you reduce her to an object, a swipe card to get you into a building. When you tell a girl to bring her friends, but only her girl friends, you insinuate that you only want to hang out with her because if things go well for you, you’ll use her to “get some.” When you invite random girls to join you for the night, you aren’t flattering them, but instead revealing you only value their gender. In plain terms, you are objectifying these ladies.

Oh no! A scary, evil radical feminist word. Don’t run from “the F word,” this term is easy to understand. Objectification undermines the value of a person, and quite literally uses or treats her as an object. As I mentioned earlier, it’s like using a girl as your key card to get into a dorm building.

The best way to illustrate this phenomenon is through real life texts, so read this text from a conversation from a Friday night that took a turn and got real.

Isabelle Daellenbach

Isabelle Daellenbach

So here comes the “call to action”—nothing too crazy or too heroic. I just ask that next time you go out, take a second to think about the situation. Are you, as a girl, being used to get into a party? Are you, as a guy, using a girl to get into a party? More importantly, are you cool with it?

Remember that you shouldn’t feel pressured to conform to this “rule.” There have been nights where I was told at the door that I’m okay to come in, but my guy friends have to leave. One night, I was approached by a group of absolute strangers who asked me and a female friend if we wanted to join them at a party because they were two girls away from hitting the ratio (I had to laugh at how technical the whole process was—really smooth move, guys). What did I do in these situations? I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

If you want to join the flock of gulls—go for it, you do you. If you want to throw some shade, I love it. Just be aware and know what’s going on. That’s the first step.

This isn’t the end of the issue, unfortunately. Just wait until you get into the party. Let’s just say you won’t be asked about your studies or your hobbies or how you feel about the presidential election or the economy. Conquer one battle at a time, ladies.

Freshman, Boston College, Carroll School of Management (although currently going through a low key not-so-mid-life crisis so this is likely to change). I'm on the varsity rowing team and when I'm not at practice, I'm probably reading, watching Arrested Development (or basically any other show on Netflix), listening to podcasts, writing, collaging or eating.

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