Emory mascot promotes anorexia, feminists claim

November 8, 2009
By Jackson Miller
Dooley with 4 of his 9 girlfriends

Dooley with 4 of his 9 girlfriends

Starting early Monday morn­ing, Emory University stu­dents pass­ing Boisfeuillet Jones Center will see some­thing other than super­flu­ous con­struc­tion projects—hundreds of angry protesters.

They will be led by Ashleigh Melton, founder and pres­i­dent of the Coalition for the Righteous and Expedient Annihilation of Men (“CREAM”), a mil­i­tant fem­i­nist group based in nearby Duluth. CREAM lead­ers became con­cerned after one member’s daugh­ter, fresh­man Heather Xiang, came home proudly wear­ing a Dooley’s Week t-shirt.

Dooley, Emory’s unof­fi­cial mas­cot since 1909, is eas­ily rec­og­nized by his pale com­plex­ion and rak­ish top-hat. He is rarely seen with­out his trade­mark black cape, which CREAM claims con­ceals an alarm­ingly ema­ci­ated fig­ure. Media out­lets such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution have gone so far as to com­pare Dooley’s ghastly appear­ance to that of post-1992 Michael Jackson.

Like Jackson in later years, Dooley’s increas­ingly reclu­sive nature has made his pub­lic appear­ances a rar­ity, but his gaunt vis­age still appears on pop­u­lar t-shirts and posters, which are a com­mon sight for stu­dents. Despite con­cerns about his weight, Emory Magazine read­ers voted him Sexiest Man Alive for the sec­ond time in a decade in 2005.

“We’re sick of the way our soci­ety tries to make these celebri­ties feel beau­ti­ful. Kate Moss, Paris Hilton—they’re skin and bones, and it’s dis­gust­ing,” said Melton dur­ing an ill-advised blind date with a hap­less Torch reporter Friday. “Thousands of womyn die from eat­ing dis­or­ders every year, and Emory has the audac­ity to use Dooley as a role model for stu­dents? He’s prac­ti­cally a skeleton.”

Proposed "new look" for Dooley

Proposed “new look” for Dooley

Melton said her orga­ni­za­tion, which spells “women” with a Y so that it does not con­tain the word “men”, plans to protest in front of Emory’s main admin­is­tra­tion build­ing until school offi­cials agree to do away with the “Lord of Misrule”—or at least make him look healthier.

Before speed­ing away from the restau­rant, our reporter noticed signs in Melton’s truck with slo­gans such as “Who Wants A Stick When You Can Have A Curvy Chick?”.

Two per­cent of American women cur­rently suf­fer from an eat­ing dis­or­der, accord­ing to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health. Experts say the influ­ence of pop­u­lar media, sat­u­rated by under-nourished actresses and mod­els, might be respon­si­ble for recent increases in the preva­lence of the disorder.

Dooley is the lat­est in a long list of celebri­ties, includ­ing Victoria Beckham and Mary Kate Olsen, who have been crit­i­cized for their anorexic appearances.

“It’s sad when young womyn develop anorexia. They can’t decide for them­selves what looks healthy and what doesn’t,” said Melton. “But when some­one famous has anorexia, it really makes me angry. They’re celebri­ties. They have no right to suf­fer from nor­mal human weak­nesses in public.”

When asked for com­ment, school offi­cials dis­missed con­cerns about Dooley’s health. “We’ve seen him eat plenty of times. He’s a naturally-thin guy,” said Emory spokesper­son Mark Esperanza. “Our con­tin­ued suc­cess sell­ing food-like sub­stances at the DUC proves that there are absolutely no prob­lems with stu­dents’ appetites.”

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