Stanford Archaeologists Investigate Dark Origins of Sorority Fanny Pack

May 6, 2011 9:00 am
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Stanford Archaeologists Investigate Dark Origins of Sorority Fanny Pack

While many downplay the fanny pack as merely a flamboyant form of sisterly swag, new data from local excavations indicates a more gruesome history.

Dr. Cooper Sheldon, expert in barbaric anthropology, recently led a dig at the ancient burial grounds of former Pi Phis. “Our research provides incontrovertible evidence that fanny packs are in fact vestigial appendages from Stanford sororities’ hunter-gatherer heritage.” (Sheldon reminds readers that fanny packs are more properly known as ‘fané pacques,’ as they derive from the Greek root “fan-,” meaning “awkward,” and the Hindi “pacquisi,” meaning “purse-y thingy.”)

In their March article in Greek Archaeology, Sheldon and his colleagues concluded that fané pacques initially aided in sorority hunting practices. “The long straps enabled sisters to strangle large mammals for sustenance.” The loudly clicking buckles, the researchers explain, were used to warn off territorial intruders, but were also occasionally featured in ritual percussive performances within disparate tribes.

The most important functionality of the fané pacque, however, was as an instrument of war. “Once filled with rocks, glass, or the bone shards of sisters’ enemies, the pacques effectively became an advanced form of the medieval mace, used exclusively for walloping women of other tribes during the so-called ‘season of rush.'” This “rush” season, Sheldon explains, roughly mimicked Spartan warrior training practices in which tribeswomen subjected themselves to progressive forms of torture to demonstrate strength and virility. “Forced social interaction, ritual cleansing, painful shoes – nothing was exempt from this arduous practice,” says Sheldon.

Fané pacques retain their cultural relevance to this day, but with a twist: the once formidable instruments of war now serve as spring plumage for the mating season. “What else,” Sheldon postulates, “could justify such a gratuitous use of fluorescence?”

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