I can’t speak with a lot of authority on this topic since I’m still a white girl from a middle class family, but I can talk about the things I know.
Greek life is huge to me. My organization has helped me to grow and accomplish more than I would have expected out of it and the community in general has been very positive to me and I’ve always felt accepted, despite the fact that I’m unnattractive, obnoxious, and a fucking weirdo. With that being said, I’m not surprised when my acquaintances are shocked when I tell them I’m in a traditional sorority. I’m not surprised, but I’m a little pissed off. Most people only know what they know about greek life from movies and tv shows and anyone who is greek or who knows a greek will see that it’s pretty different. Greeks don’t do a lot to change this image, partly because the image is a little glamorous, but mostly because greeks are in a glass box where everything we do is on display, open to criticism and that makes it ridiculously hard to change the image.
It also pisses me off that people are shocked about my Greek membership because I identify as a feminist and that I know and care about social justice. This pisses me off because I don’t understand why more sorority women don’t identify as feminists or at least don’t claim to hate feminism. YOU ARE IN AN ORGANIZATION EXCLUSIVELY FOR WOMEN. It should be empowering! It allows you to be in the presence of strong women in leadership roles and gives you opportunities to make real differences in your community. Why do we allow people to make assumptions that sorority women are just slutty girls who joined a chapter just to get drunk, get laid and waste time?
Personal story time: I always wanted to be in a sorority growing up because it seemed so glam. I knew early on that sorority women are hot, that all the guys love them and that it was what the cool people did and I wanted to have all of that. When I came to UNC and saw what Greek life was like, my image was shattered. The girls wearing letters on campus weren’t all blonde girls with short skirts and big tits, they just looked like women. I went through recruitment week and even though it wasn’t what I expected or even what I thought I wanted I still stuck with it. In my organization, I really found myself and it helped me to become the fantastically average woman I am today. I’ve done over 100 hours of community service, I’ve met super cool guys in fraternities who respect me and my sisters, I’ve held leadership positions and I’ve acquired skills for my resume that I would not have had the chance to have if I had waited out the year in my dorm. Most importantly, I feel like being greek has helped me to find out what I believe in and fight for it, because I feel like it’s my job to change the image of greek life so that we seem less like privileged white kids and more like the leaders we say we are. I like to tell people that I joined to become the stereotype and that I stayed to change it.
This post was inspired when I saw that Urban Dictionary’s definition of a fraternity was basically “men who share a bond of brotherhood” and the definition of a sorority was “a group of sluts who defy everything they claim to believe in.” Excuse you, what the fuck? A. Being a slut isn’t a bad thing. The patriarchy would like us to believe that only men should enjoy sex and that if a woman pursues sex she’s a total whore. Bitches, if you are getting the D good for you! and B. I feel that this implies that women can’t be close to each other or have sisterhood because the media likes to promote the image of backstabbing women who just want to rip each other apart. Fuck that! I may not like all my sisters, but I fucking love the shit out of them. My biological sister and I don’t always get along, but if anyone ever crosses her I would knife them. It’s real sisterhood.
To summarize, my main points are:
-If you are greek, don’t be a negative stereotype. Just be a good fuckin’ person and you can change a bad image. Don’t be ignorant of the issues.
-If you are not greek, get to know a few greeks before you judge the system. Don’t make assumptions based on limited exposure, because that makes you as bad as an ignorant greek,
-If you are in a sorority, don’t put down women ever because that is so fucked up. Support your sisters, support your chapter, support other chapters, support women in general because this can do nothing but help you. When you tear a girl down, regardless of status, you are only hurting yourself as a woman.
-If you are in a fraternity, don’t use terms like “sorostitute” because it’s degrading and sexist. Respect women who have sex with you, respect women who don’t have sex with you.
-People in general; get familiar with big issues in our society. You’re in college, they’re good things to know and right now you have the power to make a difference (that was a cheesy little dish of cliche)
Later this summer I’m going to do more Greek life posts as it gets closer to the start of school, so keep an eye out. If you want me to address any topic specifically leave a comment or message me on any of my social media outlets.