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  • GOOD GRIEF on the sorority photo. Their daddies are proud, I’m sure. Anyway, enough about the wearing of the shoes, how ’bout some pics! 🙂

  • 1) I work full time knit & blog I already feel guilty in my mothering skills, so do moms of the like I know.
    2) I LOVE my virtual playground as I have met some of the nicest people I know here.
    3) I always worked full time & was put through college by the bank I worked for. Working WAS my sorority life. 🙂
    I’ve seen a couple of of back & forths in comments that were less than civil & I tell ya, even though I know I can close it, I can’t, yet it makes me feel uneasy. Go figure. Speaking of knitting, I love your Perfect Sweater color choice, nice and earthy & bright!

  • Erm, shoes, I’m with you. Shoes are just THE best thing ever for making you feel better. Moms / playgroups – have stayed well away from being one and therefore having to do the other, so am saying nothing. No. 3 – WHAT? WHY? (Ok, I didn’t read the story behind it, I was too gobsmacked, but I will go back). Erm, ‘Greek system?’ I know the WI here did a ‘topless but not quite’ calender the other year (and lets face it that was, well, Not Art, darlink) but I am baffled, completely. I would just sit and admire your shoes and how fab you are in them if I were you. Do they really make you 6′? And, therefore, are you 5’9″ ish? I am dying of jealousy at my 5’2″ if I stand up straight….
    OK, I’ve just read the back story and I still don’t get it. But somehow, I’m not sorry…
    Can you post a pic of the lovely shoes? Please? x x

  • How dare you tease us with descriptions of wonderful shoes…and then not show them?!

  • Lindsey’s baby’s only hope of getting into the Junior League provisional class of 2033 is to recognize one of the Green Hills Playgroup moms in an old Theta photograph from the 1990’s . . . or–maybe by then–to have been in one of the photographs herself. Maybe the cookie cutter will be shaped a bit different by then.

  • I believe it is important that we have enough self-confidence to stand up to snarky comments. While I agree it is a sad thing that some women will make comments to bring others down, it is more important that each individual focus on what they can do to combat such behavior. One is to only use positive constructive criticism, and the other is to have enough self-confidence to stay strong when snarky comments come up.
    And on that note, I’d like to say that the sorority ladies are all very pretty, and will likely enjoy showing that picture to their grandkids one day.

  • wow, that was a lot of food- and boobs- for thought! Somehow the article writing,the nasty blogging and and that photo are spiritually linked. Personally, I found the baby/toddler/elementary age was rife with passive- aggressive attacks from other mothers, that left me feeling lousy. It got easier when all the kiddies got into middle school age and parents could admit that little Bunky wasn’t so perfect and neither (unsurprisingly) are their skills. Now in full throes of teenage parenting we’re all in the same lifeboat.oy vay.

  • Nope, I’m not the Margaret from your Nashville column, but I must come out of lurkdom to say that I had really been enjoying reading your blog. However, yours is the second blog I’ve had to delete from my bloglines recently because it invited sorority bashing. I’ve become disgusted recently at how quick people are to make generalizations, about all kinds of things. It would be silly malign all Vanderbilt students because of this incident, yet people are happy to paint all sorority women with a single brush after seeing that photo. You were just saying that you “keep thinking about why mothers can be so very snarky to each other.” Why do WOMEN have to be so very snarky to one another? Why do PEOPLE have to be so very snarky to one another?
    Speaking of the Golden Rule… blog about others as you would have others blog about you…

  • I seems to me that a lot of women look upon motherhood and life as a competition. Who has the best house, job, brightest child, etc. I prefer women who want to support each other, to learn together, and to laugh together over mistakes.

  • I don’t need anyone else to call my mom skills into question. I do it to myself constantly. Yesterday I found myself two hours from home with a baby and a diaper bag with no diapers in it. After being consumed with guilt for half the day, I asked myself, “if this is the worst thing that ever happens to my kid…?” and felt a little better.
    I figure there are two ways to prop yourself up after you’ve screwed up – either tell someone else how you’re better than they are to boost your fragile ego, or listen for baby giggles so you know whatever you’ve done, it can’t be that bad.
    We’ll be the ones listening for baby giggles. (And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?)

  • I can relate about the mom skills. Every single day, there is something (or someone) that makes me feel inadequate as a mother. Keeps me humble, I suppose, LOL.
    I would also like to see a shoe shot, please!

  • from the department of encouragement and support for all of our accomplishments, in the vastness of human experience– mums being nasty. i just don’t get. am insecure enough as it is without help from the outside. trying not to worry about this over here, ’cause there’s always a whole lot goin’ on…

  • OMG!!!
    are you kidding me? those vanderbilt girls–i’m worried about the future generations…it’s just so degrading to see that kind of idiotic display of idiocy!
    at the end of the article, someone is quoted saying that the greek system does so much good at VU. AUGH! the greek system at any university does questionable stuff at best!
    okay i’m sorry. i’m going off the deeeeeeep enddddddd…….aaaaaaack! :o)
    love the sweater. and dude–where are the shoes?!

  • Professional photographer my ass. Did you see the crappy lighting in that picture?

  • Yikes, Ann. Why is it that some of the middle school Mean Girls never grow out of it? My oldest daughter is 11 going on 12, and we worry about what’s ahead for our girls, my friends with 5th and 6th graders and I. But what I’ve loved about blogland so far is the abundance of thoughtful, intelligent, I’d-share-my-shoes-with-you-if-I-could folks I’ve met through their writing. Maybe I’m too new to have been burned yet, but at least so far it’s been easier to dodge the virtual meanies than the ones in the school yard.
    And, almost completely off the point (although see what you said about the columnist), my nine year old just came in and told me this:
    Two paddlers were out in their boat, and the weather started getting really cold, so one of them started a fire to keep warm, except that ended up burning a hole in the hull and sinking the boat. Which just goes to show that you can’t have your kayak and heat it, too.

  • Really, Ann, I don’t need to be encouraged in my misanthropy. Could you start blogging about birds and squirrels again?

  • Well, that photo just puts me off my feed; schools with big football/sororities/fraternities will not be part of our college tour in two years’ time. And we are not too far afield from Vanderbilt.
    On another note, I’m just loving my guest towels in Euroflax, hanging in my “guest” bathroom!

  • Very thought-provoking today…sometimes girls are so mean…luckily I haven’t had to put up with any of that in a while…
    I really want to see those shoes!!

  • Well. Well. Well.
    Mothering skills. Boy. The oldest will turn 30 tomorrow. The guilt over his upbringing is endless. The conversation I had with him this evening was awesome, and I couldn’t be prouder of him—ever. It all goes with the territory.
    Boobs. Well.
    If they would only sell the dang photo and give the proceeds to charity, wouldn’t folks all be singing a different tune? (Or does that only happen in England?)
    What a bunch of crazy thoughtless kids.
    YOu know, that would be a great opening for a book, people coming into a house because they mistakenly thought it was on a tour…..
    Sorry about the stream of conciousness, but it’s late for me.

  • Oh what approximately $44,000 a year buys now-a-days — I just bet their parents figure that was money well spent….
    shoes please…..

  • Comment 1: Shoes please….
    Comment 2: I think churches are too much like mom’s groups.
    Comment 3: Churches are probably a lot like sororities too – but I was never in one so I’m not certain about this – something resonates for me about flashing our good deeds about in public…
    Comment 4: I’m convinced that God thinks we can do better – especially the sisterhood.
    Last Comment: Check out Yarn Harlot today. I want what she’s preachin!

  • Shoes not boobs ;-}
    It is breast cancer awareness month – but show us the shoes!

  • why did i click on the link to that photo? why? because it was there? i wish i could take back the last 5 minutes of my life from the Internet. *sigh*…

  • Writing from Ohio, where a university student died yesterday when 24 young men piled into a dormitory elevator, overloading it by over 1000 lbs and causing it to malfunction. The picture of the sorority girls is discouraging to me as a woman, but as a mom I can’t help but think, at least nobody died. Most of those silly girls will manage to grow up and go on to lead productive lives. And they’ll look back on that picture with regret (How could I be so stupid?) and nostalgia (My boobs were still so perky then!)
    That said, I highly doubt there was a future knit-blogger in the bunch!! 🙂

  • Topic 1: I’m thinking that we were lucky that I had to work full time and was not available for all that mom-competition. My baby is 21 now and I think she is one of the best young ladies around!
    Topic 2: My humble opinion is that one should respond carefully and with thought so that you can be proud of what you wrote. Never mind the grammer, I go for the content.
    Topic 3: Again, another group thing that I was never part of. Personally, I thought it was pretty harmless considering other college activities that you hear about. I do like Janet’s idea of selling the photo and donating the proceeds.

  • Not everyone at Vandy shows their boobies. I’m getting an amazing (graduate school) education there. Don’t let one group of silly girls be the reason to write off a whole school.
    And yeah. Maybe that’s why Lipscomb called their groups “Social clubs” instead of sororities. Although, I guarantee they did their share of showing boobies around.

  • LORD. I’m sure their mothers are very proud…and their fathers have fallen over in shock. HO-LAY.

  • There are some things that we should keep to ourselves–nasty comments and boobs are some that come to mind.
    And some things we should share–knitting, our collective wisdom, and shoes!!!
    And Ann? There’s a name for those kinda shoes you described. 😉

  • What a great post! From tight sphincters to loose boobs. If I weren’t so behind studying for my pulmonology exam I would just knock off now, start my toddler’s new sweater and drink excessively. As for Lindsay- -playgroups are by and large meant to be exclusive little coteries of the competitive mom set. Go down to your local best park and enjoy the spontaneous contacts. Better yet, invite your best mommy buds in for a beer while the little ones play somewhere safe. Even better, get a copy of The Three Martini Playdate (yes, it’s a real book though I can’t remember the author right now). Thanks for keeping me laughing!

  • I love perfect sweater 3. As for the boob shot, all I can think of is when I was in college and playboy was recruiting for “Girls of the Ivy League”, not that I seriously considered it, but I just knew somebody who knew my dad would see it–scarier than the thought of posing nude!!!!
    Show the shoes.

  • SHOES, must see SHOES!!
    I just recently was thinking these same thoughts but was feeling very lonely in the real world. If I didn’t have the blog community, I wouldn’t have met one of my closet friends.
    My playgroup gave me such lousy feelings of inferiority, not belonging or being good enough (plus school aged kids returning to school) I don’t go anymore. I got tired of feeling like a doofus because I always seem to be the odd opinioned duck. I was the oldest mom and felt like the dumbest. I found a local yarn store (didn’t know it was there somehow) and now have the funnest time with women like me who don’t look at me funny for doing what I love.
    What is it about Mommying that brings out the snarky in us?!?! I agree with you and yarn harlot today too!!
    Sorry this was soooo long, it’s been a hot button of mine too.

  • you’re discovering something we teenagers have been aware of since…uh…before we were teenagers. internet slamming and bitching is the new version of writing something snotty on the bathroom wall at school. that’s why i cut off my instant messenger and ask the school directory not to publish my email adress.

  • Ann, I’m sorry Margaret was so touchy about the sorority subject.Did she just proved your point somehow? All I can say about sororities is that our lack of them in school (and my insistence that I never even join an eating house) ensured that all my embarassing pictures were totally UNprofessional. And ferreted away at our off-campus housing. I didn’t need to pay dues for those.
    Fingers crossed that the play groups around here aren’t like that. I’m sticking with the LLL’ers and hoping for the best.
    P.S. I don’t know what Lindsey’s been smoking but nipple shield convos are TOTALLY FASCINATING (er, or so my blog entries lately would suggest ;-])

  • No picture of the shoes? I love me a good shoe! I always try to wear something with a heel when I wear jeans ’cause it makes me feel like a hotty. (It’s probably not the reality but it sure makes me feel that way.)
    Gotta weigh in on the whole MOMS/playgroup thing. I’m in a MOMS group. They’re pretty nice folks. Being new in an established group is tough. But will these ladies ever make me feel like a bad mother? Hell no! I think that, if the author of those articles is made to feel badly about her abilities as a mother by one meeting with one group of women, she has more serious problems going on than playgroup hopping.

  • Show us the shoes!!! I was all excited with the build up on how they made the outfit and then….NO PICTURE!!! Come on! Share!

  • I didn’t read the whole mom clique saga and maybe that Lindsay was asking for it, but what prompted the other moms to be so snarky in the first place? Maybe they shoulda been minding their own kids instead. Seems to me there’d be fewer problem children out there.
    As for the boob pic, I’m of two minds. On the one hand, it’s not in the best of taste – not exactly “Girls Gone Wild” trashy, but neither the most upstanding of events. On the other hand, it’s just a boob. Okay, 80 boobs. Even we boys have ’em, though, in a wide range of sizes and states of perkiness. I’ve just never understood the whole double standard that says, “Naked man tit okay, naked girl tit dirty.”

  • 1. I always feel like I am making a mess of Motherhood until Girly does something sweet and kind then I think that maybe I’m not a complete failure as a Mother. Of course she’s still going to blame me for everything that is wrong in her life anyway so, eh, what do you do?.
    2. I love Blogland. It wouldn’t be a village without an idiot or two.
    3. They really didn’t say too much in that article did they? Sounds like they have a future in politics. Say a lot without saying anything at all. I really hope that a decent amount of modesty (not too Puritan, mind) comes back in style by the time Girly is old enough to go to college/university.

  • Girls are nasty. Women … don’t seem to be much worse. I’m in college now and most of my friends are male – two of my three roommates are male. And I’m having issues with the female roommate and her snarky comments.
    As for that picture? Helped me realize that even the Sororitutes don’t have perfect bodies. And made me remember that I really hate bid day on a college campus.

  • Having just started blogging, I’ve not received to many comments yet, but I’ve seen plenty little shots of nastiness typed out that a person wouldn’t say to a fellow-bloggers face!
    I’m lucky our village playgroup is lovely, no snarkiness, no nastiness, just kids having fun. But the whole mum-thing is always going to be hard – work or not work? either way some other mothers will always seem to be looking down their nose at you. I compromise & work at home so I’m at SAHM with a house that’s a pigsty because any time that could be spent cleaning is spent working, and any “spare” time I have I prefer to knit rather than clean!
    I went to a Mining college so the Vanderbilt girl’s behaviour is a little tame… In the UK these kind of pictures seem to be common place as they’re usually on calendars raising money for a worthy cause. At the end of the day, it’s just young women celebrating (albeit a little drunkenly!) and being proud of their bodies. It’d be more threatening and sinister if it were a series of individual shots of each girl staged in a studio with proper lighting.
    When these girls are mums and their boobs have altered, drooped & headed south due to pregnancy, breast feeding & stretchmarks, at least they’ll have the photographic evidence of how they were in their heady, youthful, exuberant times.

  • Responding to email or to a blog can be dangerous. I felt compelled to make a waspish, but I thought justified, comment on the Rowan Forum. Vitriol poured forth from the key pads of these sainted ladies, even messages on my personal email (how did they get that?) So beware!
    Being a working Mum my day is so filled with guilt it’s surprising I don’t get in the car and just drive away, anywhere…However it is never a good idea to record your unfettered thoughts especially to a journalist……
    Love the girls. Fantastic, if I had had a body as good as any of those girls I would have flashed a few things off. Not sure about the sorority thing, don’t like the exclusion. Whats wrong with just joining the chess society?
    I’m with all the other respondees, lets see the shoes. You can keep your top on if you want to!

  • I have always secretly envied women who can affiliate themselves with someting – be it a mom’s club, a sorority, an organization – and really feel like they belong to it. I’ve never, ever been able to do that. And it seems like that for every woman who can and does, there are just as many women who either can’t, don’t care to, or in the case of Lindsay, feel compelled to expose the women who are cohesive as fraudulent. And there’s always frighful, often cruel competition in a lot of groups of women. Why is that?
    As for the sorority photo, all I can say is AAAAAHHHH! Don’t laugh – I was IN that sorority!!! At another school, years ago, where 95% of all the students on campus were Greek because we were stuck in a dry campus in the middle of nowhere 50 miles from anything you could call a city. There was no other semblance of social life. But we were free from frontal nudity on bid day, that’s for sure. Just a lot of girl-squealing and hugging, all members fully clothed. In our bizarre, competitive, cruel hierarchy. Hmmm…

  • Lol…what a hugely interesting blog post today! What to think about first????
    But just to comment on the last….as a Scot and thus a European, it`s beyond me to understand why you Americans (I don`t mean you specifically, Ann) get so worked up about a bit of bare skin, especially when it doesn`t even show nipples. Bare boobs in newspapers and everyday magazines is so common here that no-one gives it a second thought. I`m sure we were doing this kind of photo when I was at uni in the 70`s, for heavens sake. The revered institution of the Woman`s Institute did a topless calendar a few years back…or did they not release the movie “Calendar Girls” over there?
    I do get the bit about peer pressure. It sounds as if there`s a great many things more wrong with the Greek system than being persuaded to flash about the same amount of skin that you might show on the beach, though.

  • Oh, I have so much to say about the larger mom community, it could fill a long and very boring book! But like Inigo in the Princess Bride, “let me sum up.”
    1. Some girls play social games, as if we all live at Versallies. Or are back in middle school. I must have a learning diability about social games because I do not understand them at all. If I like someone, I talk to them and enjoy it. If I do not like someone, I avoid them, but not in a rude way. Some other girls/moms play for social standing or whatever. I just want to be surrounded by friends and yarn and happy children (preferably all at once.)
    2. Competitive Mothering. Its the root of so much evil. Of course its hard to be neutral when someone does somtheing to their kid that you think is damaging (dino nuggets are not damaging) but get over it. You gotta be accepting so that you can be accepted.
    And I have found that after I say “I’d never do that to my kid!” is a guarantee that 10 minutes later I will do it. Never say never.
    3. Making fun of other women is a self-hating gesture. Avoid it if possible. No blonde jokes, no soccer mom jokes. Chicks have got to hang together the best we can, even if sometimes we do not like it.
    4. Knit with your friends. Knitters are nicer! All that fiber is good for you!

  • Whoa – just what we send our daughters to college for. Still, I’m so of two minds about this kind of thing. The female form is lovely, what is the harm in flaunting it ? Versus, what was the intent in the minds of these young women? I suspect it was to be “naughty” and provocative. And what has happened to the spirit of feminism? Has it come down to this, that our daughters can display themselves in a sexual way with so little thought or reticence? Are we to take it as an amusing little prank, as they seem to? As a sign of the breakdown of morality in our culture? As the fetishiizing of women with their foolish compliance? As a display of youthful beauty, no different than a classical nude painting or sculpture? I’m confused; I loved the English ladies’ discreetly nude calendar, so I’m not sure just why this sorority photo worries me so. Maybe because it’s just so…….vapid.

  • Your article embodies the reasons I’m homeschooling my kids, they don’t watch TV, and we don’t drive a car. Oh, and every darn one of them will learn to KNIT! Bwahh ahh ahhhhhh!

  • OMG. I was in an actual sorority. There is no way we would have done that, and we were the “party” sorority. Have times changed that much in 15 years?

  • I was actually in a sorority at Vanderbilt, from 94 – 98, and it was hands down my most valuable experience there. It was a group of women that I was very proud to be associated with, and frankly still am. I can’t even begin to explain how much I learned about leadership, fairness, friendship, loyalty and women. All sororities, all people of a certain color, all MOMS groups – nothing is the same and can be judged with such a large net. Just like a few members of a moms group aren’t represenatative of the whole experience, a few girls being silly aren’t a definition of their organization, their school nor their future potential.

  • What a post today! I did want to respond to Margaret’s comment about “inviting sorority bashing.” I, too, was in a sorority in college, but I don’t think that honest criticism of bad behavior is sorority bashing.
    I went to my 10-year college reunion this weekend and it was *fascinating* to see just how well the greek groups and cliques held up over the years. I don’t think too many snarky things were said publicly (or privately that I was privy to), but I’m sure that there were at least some snarky thoughts! It’s basic primate behavior – we find others that look or seem like us and we protect the group in whatever way we can.
    Thanks for another thought-provoking entry. And I second the call for more squirrels and birds and knitting of course!

  • 1. Competitive mommying, ick. The baby/preschool/early elementary years are the absolute worst for it – junior high has a blessed way of shattering parental illusions – but then the whole my-kid-is-SO-much-better-than-yours thing rears its ugly head again with the college admissions circus. C’mon people, have a little faith in your kids and their abilities to handle things. Relaxed motherhood is so much more fun, and your kids won’t have near as many nervous twitches. Also they might learn to think for themselves and not pose half nekked to prove they’re popular gals…which brings me to…
    2. Class assignment: check out femalechauvinistpigs.com. Come prepared to discuss.
    3. SHOW US THE SHOES. SHOW US THE SHOES. I seem to remember your wedding shoes, which were darling, I’d love to see these. The right pair of shoes does wonders for one’s jeans. One’s 13-year-old might even consent to be seen in public with one…long story but I’ve gotta go.
    Ann in Minnesota

  • Am I the only one who thinks the sorority pic is a hoot? My daughter is 21 and in a sorority. I just don’t have a problem with this, although they probably would have preferred it stayed private. I also found the playgroup articles amusing and so very true. There are nice people everywhere and if you don’t try you won’t fit in. Still need to see the SHOES!!!

  • Man oh Man! I sent the sorority photo and article to my daughter who is in Australia at the moment, but a “sister” in a greek organization herself. Did she get defensive? I don’t know why she thought I sent it, but truly, it was just for conversation and interest sake. She kept reminding me (maybe because she knows my true feelings about those greek orgs and is always trying to convince me how great it is) that she would never do that, neither would her sisters and why did I send that to her? Then she realized that her newest friend in Australia is a student at Vanderbilt and knew many of the girls. Then it became a conversation piece. Sort of.

  • I love how Cara skips right over the boobs and moves on to the really important aspect of that picture – the lighting. 😉

  • I’m all for boobies and have nothing against sororities, but I couldn’t believe that the girls would have a photo like that taken and not expect it to be found bouncing merrily around the internets moments later. I mean, come on…sorority girls + boobs + digital photography…what did they think was going to happen?

  • let me start this by saying that i think having fun is great…heaving a drink with friends is great…but…
    as a current vanderbilt graduate student i am appalled by this photo. i feel that this is a poor representation of the reputation that Vanderbilt has established over many years. Vanderbilt is known for its excellent education and this photo does not properly represent the school. This photo is tacky and even more unprofessional knowing that these girls are seniors. welcome to the real world ladies! i am glad disciplinary actions have been taken.
    i am sorry that my first post on this, one of my favorite blogs, is about this silly photo. great job on the blog ann and kay! keep on blogging!

  • Nuf said about the boobies.
    About MOM JEANS: I like mom jeans. They camoflauge/contain my middle-aged belly. They don’t fall down or crawl up.
    My 23-year old daughter always makes fun of my mom jeans. I tell her, “After you have had kids, you’ll wear your jeans higher, too.” I can’t wait for the opportunity, in a few years, to remind her of this.

  • I dare say that photo is being posted on college football forums throughout the south, if not the U.S.

  • I LOVE your use of the word Talmudic…very interesting…especially in the context of sorority life

  • Damn…wish mine were still that young and perky!

  • Holy S*[email protected]#t!!!! As a Kappa Alpha Theta alumn, from a different university chapter – thank god, I would not want to be on their end of the phone call from national headquarters. I can’t imagine that this won’t result in severe penalties, if it isn’t actually cause for national to yank that chapter’s charter. As the oldest greek letter fraternity for women (founded before the term sorority was coined), reputation means quite a bit to the national headquarters and this little episode, while the men on campus may have loved it, will certainly not be condoned. Feeling kind of old, right about now.

  • Someone just emaile this blog post to me regarding Suburban Turmoil. Her topic of the day is now homeschooling, specifically unschooling. She wrote about her experiment ‘unschooling’ her two step-daughters. You can read all the details on my blog if you’re interested.