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Fraternities Defend Ratio Policy: 'We Just Want Our Parties to Pass the Bechdel Test'


Photo by drdcuddy / CC BY-SA 2.0

Fraternities at the University of Pennsylvania and at colleges across the country have been widely condemned for their unofficial “ratio” policy for hopeful partygoers. Many fraternities allow only groups with a preferable ratio of women to men, which many see as evidence of a heteronormative and predatory environment. 

Recently, however, representatives from Penn’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) have defended this practice. IFC Spokesman and Wharton junior Chad Buchanan III explained how fraternities’ concern with gender representation in media prompted their commitment to having their parties pass the Bechdel Test, a set of criteria which requires that two women talk to each other about something other than a man. 

“By requiring more female representation via the ratio policy, we are confident that our parties will meet this critical standard,” Buchanan said.

The IFC began to speak out on gender representation after discovering the filmography of Greta Gerwig. “I have recently been informed that women do not exist merely as props within a broader male-centric narrative,” Buchanan added. “We want our parties to reflect this understanding.”