I don’t generally identify as a feminist. I am not easily offended and have made my fair share of inappropriate, less-than-P.C. comments. However, I am concerned with the Georgetown University Grilling Society’s T-shirt slogan, “GUGS: Grade A, Size D,” and its event “Grills Gone Wild Week.” Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love GUGS and what it stands for. As an alum/grad student, I am planning on taking off of work for Georgetown Day this year to enjoy the festivities, including GUGS burgers. As GUGS noted in one of its press releases, it is one of the few campus organizations that crosses political boundaries with the main goal of promoting fun and unity at Georgetown. In addition, I must admit that I am not even really personally offended by the slogans. I know I should be. I know that “Grade A, Size D” is a blatant equation of women to meat, and it also says that a woman’s worth is her chest, and to be top-notch she must be large. Perhaps I’m just so used to being sexualized and treated like meat that I don’t even realize it anymore.

What is so upsetting to me is that issues like this continue to come up at Georgetown. Groups on campus devise “witty” lines for their events, offending factions of the student population. Moreover, it appears that leaders of our most beloved organizations are completely unaware (or perhaps worse, don’t care) that they could be offending or upsetting a large portion of the school’s population. Last year, it was Hoya Blue’s comments prior to a game against West Virginia that sparked a similar debate about gender, sex, free speech and crossing the line. Even if you are not personally offended by GUGS or Hoya Blue’s actions, it should be obvious what about their statements was inappropriate. It doesn’t matter how many people are “for” or “against” the GUGS advertising strategy. If GUGS wants to continue to be a campus-wide group that reflects our “We Are Georgetown” attitude, it should choose to drop the slogan. Moreover, the leadership of GUGS, Hoya Blue and other large and visible Georgetown groups should reach out to campus advocacy groups and familiarize themselves with the issues around which these groups rally. I’m rather confident that GU Pride or United Feminists would be thrilled to give a short talk to these groups, and work with them to promote a more inclusive and nurturing environment on campus. If this were done before or at the beginning of a new school year or semester, these unfortunate events would likely not occur.

I commend GUGS and Hoya Blue for stepping up and taking responsibility for their actions. It is very hard to admit you made a mistake. That GUGS responded to complaints shows a lot of maturity among their leadership. I truly believe that they did not mean to be offensive, and were making a play on many of the images we are bombarded with every day. But it remains true that this type of depiction of women creates a hostile environment, even for those of us who are not personally offended. Groups like GUGS should learn from this – reaching out to other campus groups prior to planning and publicizing an event would allow them to learn about issues of concern and avoid confrontation.

I trust that GUGS will make the right decision for the long run and pull its T-shirt slogan permanently. As an organization that claims to be serving the entire campus, it’s the right thing to do. With that in mind, I can’t wait to celebrate Georgetown Day, and everything that the university stands for, with some delicious grilled meat.

Katie Keegin graduated from the School of Foreign Service in 2007 and is a first-year graduate student in the Masters School of Foreign Service

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