PUBLISHED:16:50 EST, 11 October 2012| UPDATED:16:50 EST, 11 October 2012
Students at Harvard University have lambasted one of its halls of residence for naming a party ‘IncestFest’ – at which students are reportedly encouraged to make out with as many people as possible.
Kirkland House, which accommodates undergraduates at the illustrious university, throws the winter gathering for its ‘close-knit, bordering on downright incestuous’ students every year, the student newspaper explained.
Now one Harvard student has spoken out in the newspaper, The Crimson, about the ‘offensive and insensitive’ name of the party, and her criticisms are picking up support from fellow students.
‘Offensive’: Students walk into Kirkland House at Harvard, where the annual ‘IncestFest’ party is held
‘I am not only objecting to the name “IncestFest” because it is offensive and insensitive – although, indeed, it is, and it saddens me that this is not immediately obvious,’ Samantha Berstler wrote.
‘I am writing this because incest is notoriously invisible and leaves its victims burdened with shame and humiliation for the rest of their lives.
Anger: Student Samantha Berstler called the name ‘offensive and insensitive’ in the student paper
‘This invisibility and this shame are directly enforced by the myths of incest as “sexy” and “misunderstood” – myths propagated by using “incest” as slang for “sex with someone I’m living with” and by dances that institutionalize this meaning.’
She added that her horror over the flippant use of the name came as incestuous relationships are often not between two consenting adults, but often involve children as victims.
‘Generally a father is exploiting a daughter or an older sibling is exploiting a younger sibling,’ said Berstler, who is from Madison, New Jersey and currently studying for a year in Oxford, England.
‘The sexy siblings on TV and the image of the oppressed pedophile are lies that distract from a silent epidemic raging throughout the world.’
Yet her article was criticised by some students, who said she was taking the name too seriously.
‘Looks like someone needs to get some action at IncestFest,’ one commenter, who also attends the nation’s top university, wrote.
Others backed her idea, condoning the tasteless name for the party.
‘The name will stay along with the posing that it is hip, transgressive and avant garde until incest actually resumes being transgressive in the part of America that Harvard students care about,’ one wrote.
Debauched: Students reportedly aim to ‘hook up’ with as many people as possible at the party (file picture)
Top rate: The undergraduate winter party seems at odds with Harvard University’s illustrious reputation
In a welcome pack, The Crimson warns new students that as term nears Christmas, they’ll ‘watch underclad men gyrating in the dining hall and figuring out who you’ll hook up with at IncestFest.
‘House life is incredibly close-knit, bordering on downright incestuous,’ it adds, according to a report on Campus Reform.
Kirkland House, which is also known as the place Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his dorm room, would not respond to requests for comment or further information about the celebration
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