What Most People Won't Tell You The Truth About Sororities

What Most People Won't Tell You The Truth About Sororities

Often times they get a bad reputation...I promise they aren't like the movies!

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Bubblegum-pink bedspreads, blonde-bobblehead looking models, pillow fights with fluffy feathers flying through the air while girls in tight tank tops prance from bed to bed in slow motion. If you were like me, this is what you pictured life in a sorority to look like... okay maybe not QUITE that extreme but you get my point. Legally Blonde sure didn't prepare me for what life as a Greek girl would entail.

Surely, I thought, wearing my letters around campus would mean the whole student body turning their heads in awe at me, and my windblown, luscious hair. Well let me tell you sisters, it ain't like your favorite Rom-Com! Joining a sorority can seem intimidating at first, but once you really get adjusted to it, it becomes more of a group of girls you would do anything for, rather than a Facebook group of 150 girls you can use for #networking!!

Since the beginning of time, Greek life has been portrayed as superficial and extravagant, so imagine my surprise when on Bid Day I met not one, but 120 authentic, genuine, happy souls on the front lawn of my new home! You see, being in a sorority is all about REAL friendships (and this is coming from an insider!! Take my word!!), and REAL memories that you will cherish throughout your life.

During recruitment, it may seem like you are in over your head. I remember stressing over which earrings to wear, and with what shoes, and "Do I curl my hair, or will I look like I am trying too hard?" Yup. See, so many people put an emphasis on your outer appearance when they think about sorority recruitment. What I realized after just one semester in a sorority, is that it's all about the inner stuff.

When you look around at your new pledge class, you may think to yourself "What could I POSSIBLY have in common with some of these girls?" Well, I will let you in on a secret, these sorority girls KNOW what they are doing. Like, almost in a creepy way. Girls you thought you would never talk to, suddenly become your sisters and new friends. It is pretty crazy to me that after just five days of recruitment, the members are able to put together such a diverse yet similar group of girls. Must be a sixth sense...

If you are one of those people who will forever be skeptical of the srat life, I'm sure my 500-word article isn't going to change your mind. The stereotypes that the media and that some generations have placed upon Greek life are far too heavy to ever be lifted, and this I realize. While we don't have movie-scene quality pillow fights, and most of the time things can be messy and far from perfect, we are a family. No matter the situation, I know I will always be able to count on a sister to lift me up, help me out, or push me further. Besides, what is so bad about sharing 70 closets anyway?

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To The Girl Who Mocked My Sorority

Sorority girls seem to be getting more and more backlash, but why?
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To The Girl Who Mocked My Sorority,

I buy my friends? Wow. First time I’ve ever gotten that, good one.

Do you feel better now? Was it all you hoped for?

I doubt it.

I’m not the “typical” sorority girl but I’ve also come to the realization that there isn’t a “typical” sorority girl. We are all different and believe it or not we are all just like you. The letters I wear on my chest don’t make me stupid. They don’t make me a bitch. They don’t make me spoiled. They don’t make me an alcoholic. They don’t make me fake. They don’t make me a slut. And they sure as heck don’t make me any better than you.

What my letters made me is better than I was before.

Some sorority stereotypes are inevitable. Yes, I love my Big. Yes, my Littles are my life. I’m guilty of being a master with a glue gun, and I’ll admit that new letter shirts make me giddy as a 5-year-old on Christmas morning.

But here’s what you don’t know — before I joined my sorority I couldn’t speak to a group of five people without turning red. Now I help run meetings in front of 45 women. Before, I would never have had the courage to go up to a group of girls and sit with them for lunch. Now I’m actually invited (crazy, I know). Before, I struggled with my grades. Now I have sisters in my major offering help. Before, my resume was empty. Now, it's full of leadership positions and community service hours. Before, I didn’t quite feel accepted. Now, I’m welcomed lovingly into an extremely diverse group. What’s so bad about all of that?

I get it. Sororities aren’t for everyone. I’ll even go as far to say that some of us sorority girls can be a little much. But what’s the point of dissing something that you don’t understand? Next time you’re about to make a cruel stereotypical joke, think about how you would feel if someone did that to you. Instead of making fun of sorority girls, sit down with one and find out why it’s so important to her.

Sincerely,

A Proud Sorority Girl

Cover Image Credit: Megan Jones

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Male Body-Positivity Is Something Largely Ignored, It's An Issue We Need To Address

In light of women's body-positive movements, it's important to consider how men are impacted by sociocultural images of attractiveness and masculinity, too.

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When we hear or think about movements that center around body-positivity, we likely think about empowering women to accept and appreciate their bodies in their healthiest state, even if that state isn't in line with the often unattainable standards of beauty represented in the media.

The commodification of the female body in the western world is a concept that extends as far back as the western world itself, and socioculturally, beauty norms still remain a salient concept ingrained in women's psyche's today.

But what about men, too?

While roughly 70% of women ages 18-30 are dissatisfied with their bodies, almost half of men are in the same boat.

So why aren't we talking about them as much?

So while there exists plenty of rhetoric from women about how they dislike their thighs, want abs, want bigger breasts or a smaller nose, what types of rhetoric might guys spout off?

To be more muscular, to have taller stature or a more chiseled face? Washboard abs? The ability to grow facial hair?

While women are plastered with images of Victoria's Secret Angels as a body goal to aspire to, what might be the comparable body archetype for men?

I went on a brief investigation to survey some of my guy friends and explored which types of male bodies were commodified as the most attractive.

And it seems that the Calvin Klein model fit the criteria.

Calvin Klein has notoriously produced sexy advertisements for decades, and the men the company uses to brand its underwear involves incredibly ripped models and actors.

The level of sex appeal that plays into their advertisements and brand image not only conveys that the model presented meets a high standard of male attractiveness but is also the most attractive to women as well.

So, guys who've been socially conditioned throughout their lives to believe body archetypes such as the Calvin Klein model are the pinnacle to aspire to are likely to be more dissatisfied with their bodies if they don't conform to the standard they feel is set for them.

So what type of behaviors might be observed in guys who wish to attain to that standard?

Working out, specific dieting habits and taking supplements are common behaviors men may engage in order to attain more muscular physiques. On the extreme end, growth hormone supplementation or disordered eating behaviors may also work their way into many men's routines.

It should be noted that working out, eating healthily and taking a multivitamin are all healthy lifestyle factors. Doing these activities to make your body and mind feel good is an integral part of one's personal mental and physical well-being.

However, extreme levels of activity that risk one harming their body are unhealthy behaviors. Further, certain men may feel pressured or forced into certain "healthy" regimes regardless of if they feel healthy since they perceive the end result will improve their appearance.

The "fitspo" rage that's taken social media by storm may play some role in affecting male dietary and gym habits. Messages that one has to work out irrespective of their physical state (such as illness) and that certain diets are "guaranteed" to cut fat can promote a man to engage in habits that might not work for his specific body.


Many social media fitness influencers also promote the use of substances such as pre-workout, additional supplements, teas and specific protein powders meant to increase energy, remove bloat, to "bulk" or burn more calories.

Certain items such as pre-workout, when sourced reputably, and protein powder can provide a boost of energy or recovery to one's workouts. For certain types of pre-workout and supplements, however, it's important to understand the unregulated nature of the supplement market.

The FDA is not required to vet and qualify the claims that supplement manufacturers make about their products, meaning that you're not guaranteed to receive what the supplement tells you, or that it will work.

The loose regulations mean that even supplements that claim they're "scientifically tested" aren't guaranteed to have been studied in a lab or evaluated according to FDA standards of safety. The term "natural" used with supplements is often a term used to attempt to describe holistic products, even if there isn't a set of standards to define what "natural" is and where it can be used.

Worst case scenario, the pressure for men use supplements can lead to potential overuse or exposure to unsafe supplements that could potentially have negative health consequences.

In fact, a few years ago, two soldiers died of heart attacks after consuming supplements prior to a fitness test.

And no guy's life is worth losing over his perceived level of fitness and appearance.

So just how our society is learning to teach women that they have value beyond if their bodies adhere to a notion of beauty, we should be doing the same for men.

Shifting from a culture of extreme beauty habits and instead emphasizing fitness, health and wellness as tools of a healthy body and not aides to one appearance are steps we need to focus on to improving body positivity in both genders. Otherwise, the mental and physical repercussions of each sex trying to attain an ideal not healthy for them can put their lives at risk.

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