Students at Harvard University in Massachusetts will be hosting an event later this semester called IncestFest.
The closed event involves residents of the Kirkland House, one of twelve undergraduate houses on campus. Both men and women live at Kirkland House, a location where a number of events take place throughout the year, including political gatherings.
The concept of the event, which is characterized as a Winter dance, is for students at Kirkland House to “hook up” with as many residents as possible and engage in sexual activity with one another.
Because students live together in the same house — like a family would — the event name refers to dating and sex among those that students consider to be a part of the Kirkland family.
“Kirkland House’s annual dance, IncestFest, is a catchy name designed to celebrate a saccharinely close-knit house,” explained Samantha Berstler in an article for the Harvard Crimson.
While not condemning the promiscuity that surrounds IncestFest, Berstler stated that she did not like the name of the event and its connotations.
“I am writing all this to explain that 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,” she wrote. “This invisibility and this shame [of incest] 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.”
Berstler wrote in a later comment that she had no problem with students “exploring” their sexuality.
“The name IncestFest was picked because it is titillating — not because KHousers think it is morally okay to have incest, but because it appeals to a kind of baser horror and fascination,” she wrote. “And in some ways, that’s okay — I’m not going to fault anyone for privately exploring, for example, rape fantasies.”
At press time, nearly none of the comments left by students under Berstler’s article condemned sexual fornication either. Rather, some joked about it, writing, “Looks like someone needs to get some action at IncestFest.”
One commenter, however, wrote, “So orgies are ‘Harvard’ now. How … uh … cosmopolitan! How ‘enlightened’. I now understand where all these drug resistant strains of gonorrhea, syphilis and the like are coming from. You are enlightening us like the plague.”
It is not known for how many years the event has been taking place on campus.