Lately it seems that I find many articles about members of Greek Life who all swear to not bear the stereotypes that sorority life and fraternity life impose on them. I see people defending themselves as more than party-ers, who don’t tolerate hazing, who don’t buy their friends, who don’t promote things like racism and classism, or perpetuate rape-culture. I read about sorority girls and fraternity guys talking a lot about brotherhood and sisterhood, and being overall supportive, independent people.
I, for one, do not participate in Greek life. I specifically chose to go to a college that banned it because I wanted a lot more social flexibility than I believe Greek life allows. I do not doubt that many members of Greek life are independent and supportive of their brothers and sisters, I do not doubt that Greek life is much more than partying and hazing, and I am positive that 90 percent of Greek life does not deserve the reputation that it has, but then I ask, “why do people still choose to be a part of it?”
Every year, I read about Greek life scandals. I have friends who participate in Greek life, and I’ve heard a thousand stories that would garner negative attention if they were published, but of course aren’t. It always seems that the bigger the school, the harsher the Greek life. A fraternity at a small, liberal arts school and a fraternity at a big state school (just one comparison) probably do not deserve the same reputation. But let’s be real here—every year, there are plenty of Greek Life scandals that make us dislike Greek Life and promote its original stereotype.
What is the goal of Greek life? Sisterhood and Brotherhood. First off, what happens if you don’t identify as male or female? Do you join the frat, or the sorority? How do you even form this sisterhood/brotherhood? Members have to decide after a week of rushing if you want to be life-long sisters/brothers or not. How on earth do you decide something like that after a week or so? I’ve heard that in some sororities, the “bigs” have to “spoil their little,” by buying them tons of crap, or that you have to pay a hefty price once you’re a “pledge,” and have to continue spending money throughout your college years. What if you don’t have the money for that? Can you only participate in Greek Life if you’re rich? I could go on and on about Greek Life’s history of homogeneity, racism, sexism, classism, transphobia and homophobia, but instead I’m just going to ask this: If you are so sure that your sorority or fraternity does not deserve the stereotypes they are embedded with, why do you choose to participate anyway? I’m all for sisterhood and brotherhood, but I don’t think Greek Life has been an effective system for that, so why continue to buy into it?