By Lily Foss ‘13Staff Writer
Remember when you heard about the 5C stereotypes for the first time? I don’t. But I do remember hearing the word “Scrippstitute” for the first time, and being shocked by it. This image of Scripps women—or “Scripps girls” as we are so often called by those who dare to make these generalizations about us—was so contrary to the confident, courageous, and hopeful women I saw in the admissions brochures. A few nights ago at dinner, I asked a table of Scripps about their reactions to hearing “Scripper” and “Scrippstitute” for the first time, and almost all of them expressed similar feelings. Once, a sophomore, said, “I was surprised, and I’m still surprised by how much people buy into it. People take it really seriously.”
I have to admit, I’ve done my fair share of falling into the stereotype trap. I’ve warned first-year students away from CMC men, explaining that most of them are shallow jocks who are only interested in getting drunk and having one night stands. I’ve made jokes about Mudders’ lack of social skills. And I’ve defended myself to my conscience by arguing, “Well, some CMCers do act like that! And I know so many nerdy, socially awkward Mudders!” Which is true.
But I don’t know every CMC student. And the majority of the ones I know personally are in committed relationships. And while I know more Mudders than CMCers, and many of them are a bit lacking in the social department, not every Mudd student fits that description. And I privately suspect that a few fake the endearing social awkwardness to score dates (I should know; I’ve been dating one for two years). But does perpetuating these oversimplified images of real students have the same effect as spreading the myth that Scripps students are sluts? I still say no.
What happens when Claremont students believe the stereotype that CMCers are bros, or Mudders are nerdy? They might avoid those students. What happens when students from other schools hear that Scripps women are slutty? In my experience, these women become targets. When I was a first-year, as soon as my friends and I mentioned that we went to Scripps, men’s behavior towards us changed. We were propositioned. We were groped. Some of us were even assaulted. The idea is that Scripps women want this, that we will be easy to get into bed and out of clothes. Because others say that we’re “Scrippstitutes,” we’re expected to act like prostitutes. This is one stereotype that has very real and very dangerous consequences. How do we stop it? I don’t know. We can’t do it by ourselves. Even when we call out the people who say “Scripper” or “Scrippstitute,” it doesn’t stop the others who continue to make these generalizations.
If we’re going to rid ourselves of these stereotypes, 5C stereotype parties need to stop, stereotype orientation skits need to stop, and unofficial college brochures need to stop listing “Scrippsies, Scrippos, and Scrippers” as nicknames for Scripps students.
On the Scripps end of things, we should stop paying attention to other stereotypes as well. Some Mudders are geeky. But so are some Pitzer students, some Pomonians, some CMCers, and some Scripps students. I happen to have a giant map of Middle Earth covering one wall of my room. No one falls completely into a stereotype, and the sooner we acknowledge that, the sooner we can erase “Scrippstitute” from the 5C vernacular. Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have to put on stilettos and a minidress and find some guys to have sex with. I am a Scripper, after all. Isn’t that how you all spend your Monday nights?
Lily Foss will be writing a series of feminist articles for The Scripps Voice. Look out for her future columns!