Pluralistic Ignorance: Sex on College Campuses

A really interesting recent entry by Katie Rodriguez from
Equal Writes draws attention to some posters for freshman class president a few
weeks before Fall Break.  Here’s an
excerpt from the article:

A female freshman student
created business cards for her campaign for class president that featured her
slogan “Looking to have a good time freshman year?” and
 “Don’t be Square, Vote for [redacted]!” On the left side of
the business card is a photograph of a shirtless male on top of a shirtless
(but bra wearing) female. The picture seems to suggest that they are either
about to engage in sex or are already engaging in sex.
out the full article here:

Katie goes on to comment that the ads give people the
impression both that the vast majority of people on campus are sexually active,
but that this is normative. It seems to me pretty important to assure freshmen
who may come to campus unsure of what will be expected of them in college that
there are a large number of people on campus that aren’t sexually active.

Pluralistic ignorance, a term coined by social
psychologists, describes a 
phenomenon where a number of people privately reject a norm but most
people incorrectly think that most others accept it. This seems to be a pretty
accurate description of what’s happening on college campuses.