Naked Girls In The Columbia Library

There’s just something about porn and Ivy League libraries. First there was the camgirl in Cornell’s Law Library and now Columbia’s Butler Library plays host to a very NSFW art film called “Initiation.” Sorry, INITIATIØN.

The film was created by Slutever provocateur Karley Sciortino and Coco Young, an artist and art history major at Columbia. Also featured in the video is Sara P, a senior at Barnard College and a curator for Columbia’s Postcrypt art gallery.

Young told Ivygate that Sciortino approached her about doing a collaboration and they came up with the idea for this video. They filmed it very quickly and discreetly on a Saturday night in November. A few students were around, and they explained that they were filming a video, but New York is such an odd place that apparently no one was really fazed. They put up a tarp to block some of the weirder parts of filming. And yes, to address concerns, they did clean everything up before they left.

While Young has “never experienced a sorority or fraternity,” she is intrigued by them, and this video is a projection of that fascination. Moreover, of course, it is a feminist statement, meant to “showcase the ultimate hysteria state,” and speak to the stigmatization and fetishization of women.

This fetishization is particularly prevalent at Columbia, Young explained. “You know—as a girl—there’s definitely a weird gender tension,” she told me. It’s a fair point: the unclear relationship between Columbia and Barnard leads to confusion and the general dismissal of any woman on campus—from some idiot boys’ (and dumbass girls’) perspective, Barnard is just a pool of slutty girls to pick from. Furthermore, Young continued, Butler Library is particularly emblematic of the male-centricity at Columbia; there are, for example, only male authors’ names on the facade of the building, a historic point of protest. She was also excited about “transcending the everyday space” of the library, “a space we all take for granted.”

Still, Young insists that the video is not specifically critical of Columbia—she is thankful for her time here and loves the school—but rather uses it as a symbol of the male institution. Despite the bizarro gender tensions, Young acknowledges that women at CU/BC are privileged to be generally treated as intelligent individuals.

But she was (as many are) shocked by some of the comments on a post about the video on Bwog. Obviously she couldn’t tell if men or women were writing the comments, but that so many were shocked by the actions of the women onscreen proved her point that women are expected to act in a certain way. She was happy to see one commenter note that it was “hard to masturbate to this.” After all, the girls aimed to “create a repulsion”; there were naked women onscreen, but “they’re not there to make you sexually aroused.”

Although it’s just a fantasy and not a real exposé of Ivy League secrets, the film does end up exposing the “real” Ivy League, but perhaps not in the way that Sciortino and Young intended. During one scene, as the initiates break raw eggs over each others’ heads in a Butler 304b alcove, a student can be seen studying on her Macbook. Headphones in, she briefly side-eyes the commotion next to her, only to go back to her laptop and ignore the mess right next to her.

We can’t imagine a better encapsulation of the Ivy League ethos.

And, for the record, Columbia’s actual secret societies don’t initiate members by splattering them with eggs. They use pie.



Sara P, BC’14, gives us some more info on the project and her role in it. Young asked her about participating and “[w]ith all the recent discussion about sexual assault on campus I thought it had potential to instigate further discussion. We wanted to politically engage taboo.”

Similarly taboo was the filming experience–”the guerrilla action”–itself. They filmed on GoPro cameras and cellphones, creating the close and eerie surveillance feel.

Sara acknowledges that she “experienced [the Barnard/Columbia] tension first hand,” but it seems the physical building of Butler Library affected her more:

“Butler is an extremely charged space-the names emblazoned on the stone facade are, for me, are a stimulant for resistance.  I work in Butler but sometimes feel suffocated by it… The point was to transgress the relative conservatism (and it’s history) of the space with this hysterical intervention.”

We’d wager none would argue that at least some level of conservatism was transgressed with this film.


Additional reporting by Peter Sterne. We’ve reached out to other people involved in the film and will be updating as we hear from them.

[image via Flickr user James MH]

  • Campus Security

    Update: All of these witches have been found and properly burned at the stake. Go about your daily business.

  • Cherry Jones

    what’s to be said of the fact that they are all also models



  • dafun

    ‘Patriarchs’ everywhere thank you ‘feminists’!

  • Jimmy_Is_Tired

    Glad to see these young ladies are pushing back against our patriarchal sexist society! Girl Power!

    After all I can’t think of another group of women who are more discriminated against and treated unequally by their male counterparts than women like these rich beautiful college coeds.

    • Arthur White

      This is not on behalf of “feminism” … this clip was done so that you and I have the courage to save that woman being buried in the ground up to her waist. So you can remember how much you love women and go save the fairer sex for a change instead of being threatened by “feminism”.

      For the sake of and for the love of these comely and fair women I know I could take on anything. Thank you for Columbia for such brave and fair women … when I visited Barnard I never encountered a single girl who may have been interested in me.

      I guess it was because I may probably be not as good looking … but no worries it is a joy to read that at least someone is getting some love somewhere. May the courage and lack of inhibitions and beauty displayed by these women be the models to emulate for all girls (I guess?). Bless them.

  • since1911

    Really? This long winding dictionary heavy statement is their silly excuse of doing porn? No political posts, no article to NY Times as a bid to “provoke taboo”? Please, this is nonsense these GDI girls are slutty girls that are all too inquisitive about frat life they’d rather make sad porn than actually pledge. Next they will suck half of the campus off and claim it was a way to “prove that women are transcending space and transgressing political relativism” *Yawn*

  • news360

    In “The Happiness Hypothesis” human behavior is essentially being described as the following: a monkey riding an elephant. The monkey thinks its telling the elephant where to go and what to do, but the elephant is just doing its thing. So it is with these women. People are horny and want to get it on (the elephant) but have to write giant sentences, film pointless movies, and waste food to actually justify it (the monkey). Get over yourselves, folks. Just get laid if you need to, but don’t waste everyone’s time making bad non-porn.

  • Reader11722

    This is all about Free Speech. After all the gov’t (and their corporate cronies) censor the media and ban books like “America Deceived II”.

    Last link of “America Deceived II” before it is completely censored:

  • Kevin

    I found this to be very educational

  • sammi

    I couldn’t tell if this article was supposed to be a joke or was serious.
    ” the stigmatization and fetishization of women” — what does that mean? People “fetishize” women in general? That makes absolutely no sense.
    And I couldn’t tell if all of the next paragraph was a joke, too.
    Honestly, it just goes to show you how crazy people get when they’re placed on a campus with other nutso post-post-post-”feminists.”
    And by the way, this is coming from a current Columbia student.

  • ThirteenthLetter