“Fresh-Faced & Pretty” Sewanee Controversy Makes National News


Two weeks ago Ivy Style ran a post about the traditions and sartorial formality found at the University Of The South, otherwise known as Sewanee. The students shared the post assiduously, and it went on to break our all-time one-day traffic record.

But as revealed in the comments thread, as well as on Ivy Style’s Facebook page, the post had been shared by the school itself on its official Facebook page. And while most students seemed to find the photo gallery post a tribute to be proud of, a few women found the post “despicable,” as well as sexist, racist, classist, etc., etc., because of the phrases “fresh-faced and pretty” and “when females acted like ladies,” phrases that were taken from a reader email I had received.

So despite the post racking up over 2,000 likes on Facebook, plus many thousands more in pageviews, Sewanee removed the link on its Facebook page, along with the ensuing discussion.

Apparently someone decided this tempest in a teapot was worthy of alerting the website The College Fix (CONTENT WARNING: conservative/libertarian points of view), a news site that reports on political correctness on college campuses. Last week I heard from a reporter for the site (who happens to be female, a fact probably germane to this discussion), who asked me for some quotes and clarifications, and today the site has put up an article entitled “College deletes article calling its female students ‘pretty’ after complaints of sexism.”

Here’s a snippet:

The College Fix was alerted to the situation by an avid reader of Ivy Style who said the brouhaha is not surprising given the current campus climates seen nationwide:

“This outburst is similar to what happened in other campuses nationwide – at Yale, Mizzou, Dartmouth etc. Is there any question that the root cause of this perceived grievance comes from the same well that fueled Yale’s Halloween costume chaos and Mizzou’s BLM? I think not. What was an innocent article, admiring properly dressed college students, turned out to be something much more.”

I told The College Fix (though the quote didn’t make the story), that I didn’t think this is a particularly egregious act of censorship. But that’s probably because we’ve all gotten used to this sort of thing.

Oddly enough, it was only after the tempest began swirling in the teapot that I revisited the original Sewanee post from last September and saw that The College Fix had inspired it with a piece of its own called “Dress for success: Why college students should junk the gym shorts and sneakers.” So things have gone full circle: the PC-monitoring site inspired an Ivy Style post, which months later went on to inspire a College Fix post. Strange how that works.

In other PC news, the Australian comedian and social justice satirist Neel Kolhatkar has just released a new short film on YouTube called “The Privilege Game.” His clever spoof on campus political correctness from last year, “Modern Educayshun,” has racked up 4.5 million views. — CC

17 Comments on "“Fresh-Faced & Pretty” Sewanee Controversy Makes National News"

  1. Allow me to borrow the term “despicable” and–with all due respect–use it with reference to the behavior of the harridans.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and shared it with soon-to-be college students I know. One thing we forget is students also used to have thick skin. I’d hardly say calling someone “handsome” or “pretty” is sexist. It’s a respectable compliment.

    We all know students dress for success in the classroom, but they also have more casual settings. I wouldn’t expect the women at Sewanee to curl their hair, put on makeup, and wear a skirt to a late night study session at the library. I also don’t expect them to do so for any other functions, but the gesture of dressing “up” is a sign of respect to those around you – regardless of gender.

    Enjoying these posts. Keep it up.

  3. (CONTENT WARNING: conservative/libertarian points of view)

    Thanks, I’m now reading this from my “safe space” for additional protection.

  4. In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, Sarah Vaughan doing “I Feel Pretty”:


  5. “So things have gone full circle: the PC-monitoring site inspired an Ivy Style post, which months later went on to inspire a College Fix post.”

    And in other full circle news, the original protesting Sewanee lass has now removed her topless photo from her social media site. Good for you.

  6. Kenneth K. Beck | April 28, 2016 at 1:05 pm |

    For those who prefer the The Real Thing:

    Natalie Wood:


  7. Etymologue | April 28, 2016 at 1:30 pm |

    @Kenneth K. Beck.

    That was Carol Lawrence singing in the original Broadway performance, not Natalie Wood.
    Natalie Wood starred in the film version.

    Both were pretty ladies.

  8. James Bandy | April 28, 2016 at 2:32 pm |

    The lengths to which people will go to manufacture “discriminatory” or “sexist” issues where they do not exist never ceases to amaze me.

  9. Political correctness is the ruination of society. Colleges have become far too liberal, I say there’s a direct correlation between the liberalization of colleges and the slackening of students’ dress.

  10. “Old Man Yells At Cloud”.

  11. Was that content warning necessary? It’s not as though the content was some PC diatribe.

  12. How sad was my comment. Two short words but they were not enough to post. So I’ll say it again…HOW SAD.

  13. Generation Safe Space seems dangerously ill-equipped to deal with impending adulthood.

  14. In about fifteen years my precious daughter is going to be eating their lunches for them. Though she is but a child, she regularly hears from me and my wife to “face your fears” and to “act like a lady”.

  15. goldrushapple | April 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm |

    >>And in other full circle news, the original protesting Sewanee lass has now removed her topless photo from her social media site. Good for you.

    I missed it? Gosh darnit.

    Speaking of another lovely lady, google “trigglypuff.”

  16. Poor Triggly. The title of the panel discussion was “Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far?”, but it was an audience member who provided the answer.

  17. A Sesame Street classic, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong…” At the risk of sounding non-PC, take a look at the photo in the above story and pick out the one (in this case two) that doesn’t belong. No, it is not gender or race it is poor judgement in clothing oneself for what I would suspect is the commitment to a code of ethics while attending a reputable school.

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