Kirkland Housing Day Videos Spark Controversy, Conversation

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Escalon said that certain aspects of the video stood out as problematic to him.

“I wasn’t so much bothered by the women in bikinis as much as I was bothered by the fact that their faces were covered,” Escalon said. “When you cover their face, it’s kind of like saying they’re no longer a person, that they are just this body to watch, and that was kind of uncomfortable for me.”

Other students said they took issue with the targeted criticism of the “Dark Boar” video. Chua-Rubenfeld wrote in her email that the other Kirkland Housing Day videos featured “scantily clad” students of all genders.

“No one took issue with the gyrating boys in boxers, yet the girls who appeared in bathing suits were instantly scrutinized, criticized, and victimized,” Chua-Rubenfeld wrote. “The backlash, however well-intended, communicated to the women in the video that their choice to bare their bodies was shameful and degrading, which to me is absolutely unacceptable.”

Kirkland House Master Verena A. Conley wrote in an email to The Crimson that she is “aware that several students have expressed concern with some of the student-produced housing videos.

“The Kirkland community has organized a gathering to address these issues, and we look forward to a positive and constructive discussion,” she added.

Kirkland House tutors and interns from the Harvard College Women’s Center will facilitate a discussion about the portrayal of race, gender, and sexuality in this year’s Housing Day videos on Monday night in the Kirkland Senior Common Room.

—Staff writer Nikki D. Erlick can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @nikkierlick.

—Staff writer Brianna D. MacGregor can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @bdmacgregor.