Dress for Disaster

From ‘Toga’ to ‘Dirty Professor/Naughty Schoolgirl’ to ‘Sports Pros/Hoes,’ sexually-charged themed parties are growing in number and visibility on college campuses. The behavior of young women at these functions is particularly noticeable, unlike their clothing, as they dance scantily clad and drink to excess. The dangerous combination of revealing dress, assumed character, and risky drinking was the subject of a recent study conducted by San Diego State University and the University of Michigan. Researchers found that themed parties represent one of a few places where women outdrink men. The resulting loss of inhibition, coupled with revealing and attention-grabbing costumes, and a parade of bare skin, pose problems for the safety and well-being of young women.

 Not only do such parties promote the submissive role of the female, but they are also frequently coupled with competitive drinking. An associated finding of the study, which observed 1,304 students at 66 college parties over three semesters,  suggests that parties with drinking games result in higher blood alcohol levels.

Binge drinking is widely acknowledged as a concern amongst young adults; however, its consequences are exacerbated when intertwined with sexualized themes and costume, particularly amongst young women. Themed parties, often thought to be controversial but hardly harmful, deserve campus-wide discussion and more critical examination.

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