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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Hating On Greek Life Isn't A Personality Trait, Get Over Yourself

Congratulations, you don't like Greek Life...now what?

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I was doing my usual scrolling through Twitter recently, and I found a tweet that seemed to be making fun of a set of photos. In hopes of discovering some classic Twitter humor, I decided to engage further. The tweet referenced a photo series that a group of sorority girls created, where they attempted to defy the stereotypes of sorority girls in America with statements like: "Society says sorority girls are rich and spoiled, but I pay for my dues and tuition," or "Society says sorority girls buy their friends, but you can't put a price on sisterhood." The photo series itself is sweet – it has a message of inclusivity and positivity. Yet, the responses to this photo series were anything but that.

One Twitter user responded stating that the photo series was "pathetic" because, "Some of us are actually from diverse backgrounds, immigrant families, low-income households, etc."

Another Twitter user mentioned, "I saw some s*** like this on my Facebook literally a week ago lmao why do they wanna be oppressed so bad."

It is absolutely no secret that Greek life has a bad reputation. Popular movies like "Neighbors" paint members of Greek life as shallow, rich, and incompetent for the purpose of shock value and humor. Although this image was manufactured for the purpose of entertainment, the idea has seeped into the mindset of society to ultimately promote an extreme overgeneralization of an opportunity in college that is anything but harmful.

Many of the responses to the original tweet seemed to stem from the assumption that being an intelligent and reasonable student and being a part of Greek Life are mutually exclusive. This concept is extremely hypocritical. The human identity is multifaceted and contextual. Every person engages and utilizes their intelligence in different ways depending on what the context requires, and to reason that members of Greek Life are not privy to this exact ability simply because of their affiliation is absurd.

Furthermore, users who claimed that Greek life lacks "diverse backgrounds" or "immigrant families" are only reinforcing this stereotype. Although I'd like to first state that I believe that Greek life absolutely does harness a fair amount of diversity, I think making this type of argument would be stale. Instead, I believe that restating stereotypes such as the above only isolates those from diverse backgrounds who may want to join Greek life, because they worry they will be cornered or ridiculed by their peers.

If you believe that Greek life is exclusive, my first recommendation would be for you to challenge that exclusivity by joining and breaking the barriers and proving Greek life wrong. But if we as a society continue to paint Greek life as this "whitewashed" organization and then ridicule any person of color who may be interested in joining, we are simply generating redundancy and contributing to the perceived issue.

In response to ideas of oppression, I agree with the statement that members of Greek life are by no means oppressed. There are minority groups who face genuine and violent oppression, and to use a word as strong as that to describe Greek life demeans those who endure a genuine struggle. However, I would argue that members of Greek life are unfairly stereotyped against, which is only highlighted by the backlash this photo series received. A photo series that had no purpose beyond defying stereotypes and promoting a well-rounded understanding gathered sarcastic feedback such as "sorority girls are braver than US Marines." Yet, all this negative feedback manifested in response to a photo series that had no intention of marginalizing or ridiculing those who were not a part of Greek life.

Instead, Twitter users took it upon themselves to assume the worst of Greek life.

I'm not saying that everyone needs to go rush to their nearest flower shop and send a sorority a beautiful bouquet of flowers begging for an apology. In fact, I couldn't care less if you like Greek life or not after this. What I am saying is that isolating and marginalizing members of Greek life because you believe that they unfairly prejudice those from diverse backgrounds is a problem. If you believe that joining an organization that promotes positivity, philanthropy, and mentorship isn't for you, that is absolutely ok. It isn't for everyone, and that's not a trait exclusive to membership in Greek life by any means. It is worthy to note, though, that making fun of sororities or fraternities for unreasonable assumptions you maintain makes you no better than what you perceive Greek life to be, and that is something to absolutely be mindful of.

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