A few weeks ago, I helped my 18-year-old sister move into her freshman dorm at Hillsdale College in Michigan. I was anxious for her -- I worried that the female culture at her school would be similar to that at my own alma mater, Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
As a reserved evangelical from Colorado Springs, Colo., I was shocked by a lot of things at Tufts when I entered in the fall of 2003. What shocked me more than anything, however, was the way women treated other women. I regularly heard young women refer to each other using the most obscene and degrading insults. I observed females encouraging others to binge drink and then berating those who couldn't hold their liquor. At breakfast on the weekends, I often overheard young women discussing their shame after feeling pressured by their girlfriends to participate in a degrading activity, such as a lingerie-themed or "secretaries and bosses" party. One year, a sorority actually commanded its pledges to strip to their underwear and allow fraternity brothers to mark the physical flaws on their bodies with permanent ink.
Continue reading the Wall Street Journal piece "Lipstick Jungle" by Ashley Samuelson.
Unfortunately, kids that grow up in this environment do not become more skilled at resisting it. Instead, they tend to become it. Learning to take the high ground and rise above coarseness might be the most valuable social skill that we can impart to our offspring.