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.