A Letter to TSM/TFM from an Actual Member of Greek Life

A Letter to TSM/TFM from an Actual Member of Greek Life

We are so much more than a stereotype.

Dear Total Sorority Move/Total Fraternity Move,

Let me start off by saying I am/have been a big fan. I follow all of your social media accounts. I like your pictures, read your articles; I genuinely find your content humorous and entertaining. I look at certain pictures and articles, promoting various negative stereotypes of Greeks and Greek Life, and I try take them with a grain of salt. Because I know - deep, deep down - that it is meant to entertain your vast following, most of whom is a member of the Greek communities that you are targeting.

I understand how social media works. You do what is deemed "popular," and what will get you the most follows, likes, and page views, regardless of whether you actually agree with the content you put out or not (though most times I would think you'd have to agree with your content). But I cannot "follow" or "like" these unhealthy and unfair stereotypical representations of both Greek women and Greek men. I cannot speak on behalf everyone in the Greek community, but I can speak for myself. I don't think it's fair that we already are represented as crazy, selfish, irresponsible, sex-crazed, pledge-hazing, binge drinking, over-grown children by the rest of the mainstream media, and we still have to put up with the misrepresentation by sites that claim to be by us and for us.

We are more than a stereotype. We hold ourselves to higher standards. These hands do not haze. We don't sleep late and miss class because we are careless. We don't get blackout drunk because we think that's what Greeks do in college. Not only do articles and posts about these 'assumed ideals of Greeks' hurt us, but they hurt us when we try to recruit new members. Many PNM's (Potential New Members) don't have any idea what Greek life is really about, or if they do have an idea, it's based on what they've seen on television, what they've heard from older siblings or friends, or in this case, what they've learned from sites like yours. Some of these values and ideals your sites are promoting are not at all what real-life fraternities and sororities stand for, and they could very well get the wrong impression.

If you're promoting anything through your written pieces or your social media posts, it should be this:

Young Greek women are so much more than revealing clothing and skinny waists. They have feelings and minds of their own . They want more than to be a fraternity's sweetheart. They do not pick girls based on looks; they pick based on character and how a young woman carries herself. They want to support and love their sisters because that's why they joined. To forever have a group of women with the same goals and values who will always pick them up when they fall. Their beauty and passion cannot be summed up in an Instagram picture.

Young Greek men are so much more than shot-gunned beers and one-night-stands. They are not all about hooking up with girls and getting blackout drunk on the weekends. They have respect for their brothers and show it. They have respect for their philanthropy as well as their community and show it. They are more than a Rolling Stones article would portray them.

We may not all be perfect all the time, but we are so much more than how we are portrayed. I would love, just once, for someone to get it right.

An Actual Member of the Greek Community

Cover Image Credit: Total Sorority Move Instagram

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If You Find Yourself At A Frat Party, Do This, But Not This

10. Bring a hair tie.

College can mean many things for students. But, if you go to a school with a big Greek life population there are a few things that everyone should know:

1. Don't leave your drink unattended.

Not everybody has good intentions. The safety of you and your friends should come before all else.

2. Do arrange for rides.

Chances are you will be moving from party to party, which could be pretty expensive if you intend on ubering everywhere. Therefore, have a general plan of action ahead of time.

3. Don't sit on the toilet seat.

SQUAT, or just hold it if you can. They are gross, gross and more gross. Plus, there is never any toilet paper.

4. Do eat that greasy pizza at 3 am.

OK maybe don't do this every night, but it is very satisfying on occasion. No regrets.

5. Don't lose your fracket.

Having a "frat jacket" is an absolute must. When you feel like you're about to get pneumonia you will be thankful for that extra layer.

6. Do dance. A lot.

And do it like no one is watching. Nothing says college better than dancing with your friends in a grimy basement.

7. Don't go overboard on social media.

We get it. You have friends and are having fun. Why prove it to people that could care less by posting a minute story?

8. Do stay with your friends.

Does this one even need to be explained? No one should ever get left behind.

9. Don't wear anything you remotely care about.

Just saying, it will become destroyed.

10. Do bring a hair tie.

An absolute MUST if you don't want to feel (and look) like there is a wet mop on your head.

Frat parties can be a great time when done right. Making the right decisions will ultimately help shape your entire undergraduate experience and create ever lasting memories.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Greek Life Needs To Be Reformed, End Of Story

"These hands don't haze."

Everywhere you look in the media these days, there's another unfortunate event happening within the realm of Greek life; the death of a pledge here, the assault of a young woman there. While I am very pro-Greek life, I recognize some changes need to be made before we as a community can be defensive about the assertion by others that Greek life shouldn't exist.

Over the weekend of February 8-11, I was able to attend a conference held by the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values. The conference, called AFLV Central, was three and a half days' worth of informational speakers whose topics ranged from risk management and sexual assault to networking and racism. I learned so much over this weekend, but I was more overwhelmed at how much about Greek life that I didn't know. I had preached that the Fraternity and Sorority Life at my campus was not like other campuses. "We don't haze," I'd say. I'd even argue with people that tried to say Greek life was inherently bad.

The conference opened not only my eyes but those of my colleagues, about the problems perpetuated by Greek life. Many of us were bothered by the things going on, and so we met on the last night of the conference and boiled down the greater issue into more manageable segments. The segments included increased focus on community service, increasing community involvement, ending the part of Greek life's culture that creates a space for sexual assault and working to end hazing.

In our eyes, the Greek community spouts off something along the lines of "We're so tired of everyone saying that Greek life is bad. We raise so much money for philanthropic causes." The problem with focusing solely on philanthropy is that once we raise the money for the cause, we compartmentalize it. After the end of our philanthropic events, we don't think about the causes again until it's time to explain them to a potential new member at recruitment. This has to stop. By focusing on community service, we can better connect Greek life with the causes close to us. This will help to create a better awareness within our community about the importance of what we do.

Along similar lines, my friends and I believe that we need to increase community involvement. We need to reach out to area police, churches, and schools to say "This is Fraternity and Sorority Life. This is what it means to us. We are your allies. We want to better the world." We feel as though many people in the community don't understand why we do the things we do. Reaching out to them and showing them the best version of ourselves will help with the perception of the Greek community in our area.

A behemoth of a problem that needs addressed is the culture of sexual assault that is permitted, whether voluntarily or subconsciously, by certain parts of Greek life. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, women's stories of sexual harassment and assault are being heard. We must not forget that sexual assault affects our male counterparts as well. In order to increase awareness and decrease ignorance, we must have conversations with the members of our community about the behaviors and consequences that constitute sexual assault.

We should also reach out to other organizations on campus that work closely with Title IX. It's no secret that the Title IX resources on our campus aren't readily available for students. Up until recently, the university's Title IX resources website was just a list of resources, without any real stance on the policy. Reforming this can help our students understand the policy and how it can help them.

Finally, we need to end the culture of hazing that affects some organizations in Greek life. I'll admit that for a very long time, I was ignorant of it happening. When I first joined my chapter, I didn't believe that anyone hazed. I thought it was all just a plot line from a movie about college. When my friends and I discussed possible solutions to this, we kept saying the same thing: "How could anyone haze someone that is supposed to be their brother/sister? How could they not value their safety above all else?" It was brought up that hazing is a culture that is perpetuated by the statement "I haze because I was hazed."

How do we change that? It starts with digging very deep into the psychology of group hierarchy and breaking down our old ways, followed by renegotiating the way we engage with not only our new members, but each other as well. Hazing is a very complex problem and will take every single member of fraternity and sorority life being actively engaged in the process to grow out of hazing. While this is a daunting task, I think that we can do it.

I don't claim to have the answers to everything, but I do know one thing is for sure: Greek life is a beneficial experience, but right now the issues with it are too strong to ignore and must be fixed collaboratively.

Cover Image Credit: Haley Foster

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