Feminism and Classism in the Context of MTVu in University Public Spaces

I came across this article today on the Serendip forum at Bryn Mawr College. The author posts photos and a transcript of several “napkin notes,” a Bryn Mawr tradition for communicating with the dining facility (which I find fascinating by itself!), which are debating the appropriateness of MTVu in the public space of the dining hall.

Free of charge, MTVu provides televisions and a feed for universities to place in dining halls, recreation rooms, break areas, etc. The idea is that MTV is getting their programming to a target audience -perhaps the target audience: young, college-age, men and women.

But its the extent to which the programming is aimed at women that has recently come under fire, as this ‘napkin note’ suggests:

“I don’t want MTVu in the Dining Halls, because I don’t want to see degrading images of women while eating breakfast. We should be feeling empowered, not overdressed.


Sophia’s voice and others, through ‘napkin notes’ have addressed the inappropriate nature of MTV videos being forced on the students eating at the Bryn Mawr dining hall. In case you didn’t know, Bryn Mawr is a women’s college. Another student posted a ‘napkin note’ in response to Sophia’s:

“Dear Bryn Mawr College Dining Services,

You are all amazing people. To run this dining hall is like running the world. To deal with these dumb whiny bitches is too much! If they are trying to take the television out of the dining hall b/c they say that too many of the music videos objectify women, then they have meaningless and idiotic lives. You shouldn’t take the dumbass bullshit from these privileged students. If they feel as though they are being objectified, they should write to MTV who shows the videos and, most importantly, the artists who produce the music. To complain about music videos and a television?! Most of the women, girls really, who complain, don’t respect the spaces that they live in. They have no reason to complain about this place. Don’t take the TV away. Rather, tell the snooty dumbasses to SHUT THE FUCK UP! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT REAL OBJECTIFICATION IS!!!

c/o 2015

Posse Scholars are academic leaders within the Bryn Mawr student body and, her profanity notwithstanding, the ‘napkin note’ author raises another perspective on the issue, which is one of classism. The Posse Scholar author mentions “privileged students” and “snooty dumbasses.” The key word here being “snooty.” While dumbass is a class of person, it’s the “snooty” description that suggests, as does “privileged” that she considers herself to not be of the same economic or social class as those students who are objecting to MTVu in the dining hall.

Could objectification of women be relative to class?

Click the link above to the original discussion and see the ‘napkin notes’ themselves.

About Carl Feagans 398 Articles
Professional archaeologist that currently works for the United States Forest Service at the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. I'm also a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army and spent another 10 years doing adventure programming with at-risk teens before earning my master's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington.

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