It is no secret that throughout campuses across the nation in various organizations, whether athletic, Greek, or otherwise, hazing occurs. When one hears the word "hazing," their mind is flooded with the negative connotation of the word, as it often implies inhumane activities that serve only to break the spirit of those targeted by its cruelty. I am not invalidating these implications of the word, nor am I disputing the fact that there are various forms of hazing that are disgusting and painful beyond any doubt. But what I do know is that not all forms of hazing are so traumatic and intense that the only purpose they serve is to psychologically cripple its subjects.
The purpose of hazing is not necessarily for the "pledge master" or whomever it may be running the activities to swell with the power that comes with commanding others. Rather, the purpose is for the newest members of the respective organization to learn the importance of respect and of togetherness. As I am writing this, I concur that this thought process seems extremely backward, and once more do not condone those varieties of hazing that come from the horror stories whispered from institution to institution. But there is something to be said of those forms of "discipline," let's call it, that uses a certain level of strictness in order to ensure that certain tasks are completed in as efficient a manner as possible.
Aside from this, shall we say, "productive" hazing in which the member educator prepares their new member class to perform to a certain extent, there is also the simple fun found in humorous "hazing," should it even be called such. While some may argue that this type of hazing diminishes self-esteem and invokes embarrassment, I would contend that through those emotions of unease, a boundary-pushing assignment appeals to a certain form of confidence that new members might otherwise not find within themselves.
Now, having never gone through these rituals myself, I cannot definitively give a valid opinion on the matter. But what I can say through having heard the stories of those who have made it out of these experiences alive and well, is that they concur with the sentiment that having participated in these exercises has created a stronger bond amongst themselves and the members of their organizations. This opinion does not necessarily pertain to the more extreme forms of hazing that immediately come to mind, as has been previously touched upon. And let me say once more that I do not condone said forms of initiation. I simply wanted to relay my thoughts about the matter in an attempt to stir up discussion amongst the opposers and the agreers, as a topic such as this may not be as black and white as it initially seems.