Under pressure from University of Georgia administrators, fraternity and sorority leaders have banned hoop skirts for Kappa Alpha’s Old South Week and Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Magnolia Ball.
Victor Wilson, UGA’s vice president for student affairs, equated hoop skirts with Confederate uniforms, which KA dropped years ago. “We’ve made a lot of progress,” Wilson said. “This is just one more step.”
It’s time to boot the Southern belle from campus, writes Elizabeth Boyd, who works at University of Maryland, in the Washington Post.
The Southern belle performances routinely staged on campuses across the South constitute choreography of exclusion. And most do not even require a hoop skirt. In campus productions — sorority rush, beauty revues and pageants, sporting traditions — young white women serve as signs of nostalgia for a bygone, segregated South and all its attendant privileges.
It sounds like universities would have to ban young white women. Or perhaps only the good-looking ones.
In response, one reader noted that the hoop skirt was worn by Northern abolitionists of all colors.
In another letter, Hans Bader brings up the First Amendment, noting a 1993 ruling that “even racist fraternity skits with offensive costumes are protected” as free speech. Banning hoop skirts “makes as little sense as banning powdered wigs or mint juleps,” he writes.