Smoke and Mirrors
By Grace D’Arcy, Guest Columnist
Published on Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Last week, mirrors were delivered to most of the Hinman Boxes of women on campus. According to the accompanying column by Mayuka Kowaguchi ’11 published in this paper (“The ‘V’ Word,” Oct. 19), these mirrors were meant to promote “Dartmouth women thinking about… the questions and issues surrounding female genitalia.”
This goal is a respectable one; we all attend a college that promotes, above all else, the consideration of all issues. This attitude, I believe, has been embraced by the faith-based community at Dartmouth, who frequently host a variety of discussions of faith-related subjects from multiple viewpoints, both theistic and atheistic.
If these mirrors were truly meant to encourage the consideration of issues surrounding body-awareness, then, I believe, those who consider themselves to be members of Dartmouth communities of faith — which do not support acting on this knowledge in a sexual fashion — would not have been offended.
Instead, these mirrors were delivered to Hinman Boxes with an accompanying note that urged something quite different; a message that was immediately shocking for, indeed, its lack of consideration. The delivered note, in contrast to the more politically correct opinion article, specifically advances its purpose to encourage students “to shift their perspective from the expectations and limitations (emphasis added) of belief patterns… [and] religious conditioning”.
This is one of many occasions where I have found the liberal body at Dartmouth to completely violate those principles that it purports to advance: respect and freedom. Regardless of the offensiveness of the message, if the Orchid Project’s main goal was to encourage consideration, what possessed them of the idea that a direct attack on all faiths was the way to do that?
To emphasize the offensiveness of this note, let me present a parallel hypothetical situation driven by the opposite message. Imagine the uproar that would have occurred, had, for example, a Christian group of believers disseminated a pamphlet and accompanying cross, urging students on campus to abandon their ‘misguided sexual profligacy,’ declared that their ‘parents and upbringing had brainwashed them in the ideals of the liberal elite’ and urged them to ‘give up their lives to the one and only King, your savior, Jesus Christ’? I imagine the immediate offense would have been drastic.
Imagine now that this Christian group accompanied such a dissemination with an opinion piece in The Dartmouth stating that they had distributed a note, which only encouraged people to consider the issues surrounding faith and sexual promiscuity? Surely The Dartmouth would have read both notes and rejected the opinion based upon its clear misrepresentation of the note’s purpose and message.
But, instead, because this paper is known for promoting the liberal viewpoint over the conservative, this misrepresentation was given the support of a respectable paper, further obviating the fact that what was written and disseminated by the Orchid Project was decidedly disrespectful and indicative of an indifferent ignorance about issues of faith.
The body of believers at Dartmouth and the body of non-believers would often mutually benefit from sitting down and “considering” the issues surrounding sexuality. Respectful discussion will only bred further respect and discussion, but blatant attacks on an entire outlook on life, will only bred further animosity, ignorance and offense.
The Orchid Project’s backhanded dissemination of letters insulting and urging the abandonment of faith, cannot and must not be ignored for the action that they truly represent: a liberal attack on faith.