At HLS, Girls Get Toasted, then Roasted

The Seneca takes applications. The Bee punches. But when The Vie, Harvard’s newest female social club, “toasted” new members this year, the Law School organization seemed in danger of getting punched itself.

The Vie’s first event, a cocktail party held in Cabot House’s Senior Common Room, featured pink champagne and “princess chic” attire, including tiaras—and it also touched off a firestorm of criticism across the law school.

George Hicks, a columnist for The Record, HLS’s weekly paper, warned his peers not to be surprised if they heard a “loud, grinding sound.” That, he explained, would be “the glass ceiling sliding back downward another couple feet.”

After reading his column, third-year law student Tammy Pettinato said she was “horrified.” “The Vie Society doesn’t just hail the end of HLS feminism—it dances on its grave in spike-heeled shoes,” she wrote in an e-mail.

What’s their deal? Hicks and Pettinato charge the society makes a mockery of women in law, reinforcing a kind of Elle Woods image they’d rather shake.

“‘Vie Society,’ by the way, wasn’t the group’s first choice for a name, but ‘Aspiring Trophy Wives Association’ was deemed too hard for future members to pronounce,” Hicks wrote.

Hicks also noted the lack of invitations sent out to women leaders of HLS student organizations.

Second-years Jamie Bartholomew, Angela Kim, and Angela Yingling said they chose to “toast” only a select but representative group of first and second-year students, inviting women “who would broadly represent the various groups at Harvard Law School.”

“It was going to be a small thing to start, and it would eventually include whoever wanted to join,” Yingling said.

In an e-mail reprinted in The Record, the founders extended invitations to bask in the “glittering presence” of the recipients of their notes. “Through friendship and networking,” the write, “we aim to improve the social, academic and professional options for all HLS women.”

They also write that the club will try to improve HLS’s “inadequate social nightlife.” Maybe it’s time for a new kind of Fun Czar.