When I was a freshman in high school, my brother joined a fraternity. When he came home with stories, friends, and lots of t-shirts, I was enthralled. I thought frats were about the coolest thing ever since Tumblr (yes, I did indeed “tumble” a lot in those days).
But when I heard the word “sorority,” I wasn’t as enthusiastic. My confidence was a little low already, and everything I’d heard about greek life for girls was blonde, skinny, and drinking lots of beer. I remember panicking thinking “I don’t even like beer!” And in all honesty, can you blame me?
Social media, movies, TV shows- everything that was considered “my window to the real world” flashed images of sorority girls as dumb, snobby, and drunk. Just look at one of the all-time classics, “Legally Blonde.” Reese Witherspoon’s lifestyle in her sorority house looks like Barbie land meets the playboy bunny mansion. I’d laugh and enjoy the movie, but when I had to start thinking about sororities after I graduated high school, all these conceptions formed a big blob of confusion stuck to the side of my head.
But as it happened, I decided to give it a try and rush. I fell in love with my sorority. And the false allegations and stereotypes vanished.
1. “Greeks pay for their friends.” Sometimes when someone throws this little number at you, it’s easy to want to remark “They were on sale” or “Great deal at Friends R Us”. A sorority is similar to a club or business operation- there are dues that come with the experience. Money that goes into housing, philanthropy events, sisterhood experiences, social events, traditions, and the opportunity to continue an organization that has years of history.
2. “Sorority girls are all dumb.” According to a national statistic, 71 percent of all Greek organization members graduate compared to non-involved members at 50 percent. Sororities have GPA requirements because of the importance of academics and having a well rounded education.
3. “All sorority girls do is drink.” Being in a sorority means putting yourself out there to be social and make connections all across campus. It’s true, there are many events and parties that are associated with Greek life, but in no way does that mean a sorority girl has to drink. Often times, there are too many activities and sponsored events to attend that drinking is the last thing on girls’ minds!
4. “Sorority girls are sluts.” Girls are relentlessly judged on their sexuality in society, no matter where you go. So put a bunch of young women into an organization, and of course that must add up to be the “sluttiest group of all.” This stereotype is just a bad Justin Bieber record put on repeat.
5. “Sororities only care about looks.” This may be one of the more well known stereotypes and even during rush a lot of girls think they have to look a certain way to join the sorority of their choice. But in the end, what’s most important is that you hold the same values your individual sisterhood does. It’s about who you are. There are sorority girls who wear nothing but Lily Pulitzer, and some who would rather wear camel fur than the flowery print. We’re all different, and that’s okay.
6. “Daddy pays for everything.” Yes, sororities can be expensive. But most girls,in fact, pay for their own dues and work on campus to support themselves. Just like any other college student, a girl in a sorority has to be aware of the daunting financial struggles their university has. We all have to live on that easy mac diet at one point or another.
7. “They only care about themselves.”Greek organizations make up the largest network of volunteers in the U.S, donating more than 10 million hours of volunteer service each year. Girls in Greek life live for philanthropy events, and will put effort, time, and enthusiasm into getting the entire campus involved.
Now, if you have some loathing hatred for women involved in Greek life, I can’t say anything to convince you otherwise. I’m not trying to.
This is simply me turning to myself and saying “You were wrong”. I realized that everyone has the right to their own opinion, but in my case- my facts were a bunch of rotten-meatloaf-left-in-the-dining-hall-too long bad.
We all deserve to go throughout our college years free from stereotypes and judgements, no matter what we’re involved with. We’ve been lucky enough to create this amazing generation of different people. This is the time where anything goes.
It’s a great era to go to college, make amazing friends, hilarious memories, awful mistakes, and big marks on the world. But it’s an even better time to wipe clean all the poor stereotypes and hate towards each other. To step back, look at yourself, and admit “You were wrong”. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty awesome.