Fighting Sorority Stereotypes

Fighting Sorority Stereotypes

These hands don't haze.
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Sororities and Greek life are a very controversial thing in the United States. Depending on where you grew up, there is definitely a certain attitude about being a "sorority girl." Since I'm from New Jersey, I grew up believing the stigmas behind sororities were true. I admit I completely judged girls who were a part of sororities before I came to college, and when I go home I'm now on the receiving end of this judgment. I always get a series of questions, whether it's out of genuine curiosity or passive-aggressive distain. And now I'm here to answer those questions and debunk the stigmas.

1. "So did you get hazed?"

The first thing I'm asked when I mention I'm a part of a sorority is whether I was hazed or not. My favorite is when people follow up with, "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone if you were." It's as if they really believe I was led into a dark cellar in the bottom of my sorority house and forced to do unspeakable acts to prove my dedication to the cause.

No, I was never hazed. And neither has any sorority girl on my campus. Nationally and locally, sororities are very serious about anti-hazing and treating every single member with respect. I have never been forced to do something I didn't want to do (unless you count my big making me share my Insomnia cookies with her last week).

2. "Do you party a lot?"

Personally, I am a very social person. I like to go out, to see and be seen. The semester where I was most social was actually my first semester of freshman year, the only semester I wasn't in a sorority. There is no correlation between being in a sorority and how often a person chooses to go out. I actually joined a sorority to give my college career more substance beyond just studying and hanging out with friends.

3. "Don't you all look and act the same?"

No, not even a little bit. My big is Hispanic. One of my best friends is Jewish. I have sisters from Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Washington and so on. I know girls who are STEM majors, girls who are public relations majors and girls who are dance majors. There are sisters who are tall, short, redheaded, blonde. There are funny girls, wild girls, driven girls, artsy girls. There are politicians, gymnasts, scientists, journalists, comedians and so on. And we all support each other and our differences.

4. "Do they completely control your life?"

Besides expecting us to complete a certain amount of service hours and to maintain a certain GPA, sororities don't have much control over our individual lives at all. Each sister chooses their own level of involvement, and we are free to make our own decisions. And this is all coming from someone who hates being told what to do.

5. "Do you throw parties in your house?"

I laugh so hard when I'm asked this. I currently live in my sorority house, and there have been absolutely no parties. I'm not even allowed to have boys in my room. We get in trouble if we leave candy wrappers on the coffee table. Sorority houses are usually very beautiful and cost money to upkeep. Throwing anything close to a party is not allowed.

6. "Sorority girls are mean, aren't they?"

I understand why it's assumed sorority girls are mean if your only interaction with sorority girls was watching "Sydney White" or "The House Bunny" growing up. But there is zero correlation between girls being mean and girls being in a sorority. I actually joined my sorority because I loved how nice everyone was.

7. "Did you join to be cool/party a lot?"

This is also falls along the lines of someone saying we're just "buying" our friends. I personally joined a sorority because I knew it would push me to succeed academically, give me a lot of leadership and volunteer opportunities, and introduce me to so many new people. My sorority has given me a lot of drive and a lot of happiness. As far as "buying" friends, being a part of a sorority and making friends is just the same as joining any organization and making friends. Isn't "making new friends" always a good reason to join any club?

7. "Do you LOVE your big? Do you LOVE your sisters?"

This is usually asked in a sarcastic manner meant to mock how adoring sorority girls are. Well as a matter of fact, YES. I do love my big, and I do love my sisters. Some stereotypes are true, and loving your sisters to death is definitely one of them. We get accused of being "fake" because people don't understand it. How can you love so many people in one organization? Honestly, I didn't understand it either until I was lucky enough to be part of an organization full of so many people I love.

Cover Image Credit: facebook.com

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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I Didn't Join A Panhellenic Sorority

It's okay if you don't join a panhellenic sorority. Sometimes a different organization can turn out to be the best thing.

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Before going to college I was faced with a dilemma, should I rush? I wanted to rush just for the social aspect, I thought it would be my best shot at making a bunch of friends. However, deep down I knew that greek life really wasn't me. I didn't want to do something if I wasn't one hundred percent behind it. There was a part of me that did want to be in a sorority but the other part of me really didn't want to rush. Let me be clear, I don't think Greek life is bad, I just think it wasn't for me. I talked to my brother and sister-in-law about this because they both were in Greek life at the college I attend now; they told me that they didn't think I would like it either.

What my brother and sister-in-law told me that I might like was, a Christian sorority called Sigma Phi Lambda. When they described it to me it seemed like exactly what I was wanting. As soon as I got to college I sought them out; and I went to their recruitment nights. I loved it! It was exactly what I was looking for. I ended up joining. This sorority brought me an amazing group of friends! Most importantly, I have joined the perfect sorority for me! A few things I liked most about Sigma Phi Lambda was the people were so welcoming, it was more low key and laid back, I was still able to have a big and a "Pham", we still did lots of sorority things whilst also having activities that strengthened us on our walks with the Lord, and I gained so many sisters that I now have strong relationships with. Sigma Phi Lambda gave me so many friends and something to be involved in on campus. They gave me somewhere to belong and I am so glad I chose to join them.

Rushing may be exactly what you need when you go to college, but if it's not that is okay. Just join something that makes you happy. Join an organization that helps you grow and surrounds you with people that you want to be around. I promise when you get to college that there is an organization for just about everything, find the one that fits you. No matter what you choose I promise it's good. Just make sure you choose what is right for you.

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