Mixers, drinking, blonde, tall, and girly are all attributes that may be used to describe a sorority girl. However, as a participant of Greek life, I can personally attest that these descriptive act adjectives are simply incorrect and based on modern-day media representations of sorority members.
The History of Greek Life
Originally developed in the early 1700s, Greek life fraternities were originally created to help members become involved with public service, and further their education by learning the fundamentals of public speaking and efficient writing. Years later women developed their own fraternity organizations that would later be renamed sororities.
There are now two different types of fraternities most college students are able to join: professional and social organizations. While social organizations are known to have a lesser reputation than professional due to the title, social organizations still have many academic benefits to those involved.
A Look at the Current Reputation of Greek Life
Yes, the process of formal recruitment for a sorority is strange. Yes, social organizations are known for immense partying. However, the core values of sororities have never dissipated from Greek Life. Although sorority girls were originally viewed as the brightest and most involved with service, this view has sadly shifted.
Due to terrible stories revolving around hazing and illegal activity, Greek Life has picked up a bad reputation. An example of this is Penn State University when a student sadly passed away due to forced excessive consumption of alcohol from his fraternity brothers. Many more situations similar to this have sadly occurred leading society to focus on the treacherous negatives of sorority and fraternity life. Along with this, the media hasn’t helped Greek Life members’ reputations much either. Movies such as Legally Blonde and Animal House depict greek life members to be a specific surface level mold of a person leading many to believe that sorority girls are shallow and fraternity brothers only truly care about partying.
While many of these incorrect views are developed from real and lasting life injustices, it should be noted that hazing is not allowed nationally by sororities or fraternities. This is necessary to understand in a discussion regarding greek life. Each individual chapter of every national sorority differs in personality type, look, and attributes, and all truly comes down to which school you are focusing on. Within Greek Life, every individual organization’s reputation is different in every chapter as well, making it hard to encapsulate every one under an umbrella of negative terms.
Sororities Under Fire
Already under pressure with harsh views from the public, sororities reputations have only worsened with the appearance of websites such as Greek Rank and Reddit that allow internet trolls and members of other organizations to comment on the traits of a specific sorority. This lowers members want to take pride in their organization and stereotypes the chapter disallowing others to form their own opinions. Ranking systems such as these also tend to only take into account individuals who do not make up the whole sorority nationwide and disregard the organization’s core values and practices.
Along with the overall stereotyping of greek life, sorority girls are known to be fake and selfish. This new look is a sad shift from the original image of girls involved in sororities and shows the impact media can have on the general public. Greek life is similar to any other club or group in that everyone who joins is simply an individual looking to be involved in something bigger than themself.
Drinking Isn’t Everything
Is it a crazy thought that some sorority girls don’t drink? While you might think yes, the answer is a harsh no as many girls initially want to join a sorority in hopes of finding close friends and a sisterhood. Along with this, sorority life is largely centered around philanthropy and giving back as an organization. According to Statista in 2012, top organizations individually raised over 1.44 million dollars in one year to donate to charitable foundations.
Although sometimes viewed as culty and odd, statistics such as these show the benefits Greek Life can have not only on individuals but on society as a whole. We must stop the stigmatization of sorority girls, and instead encourage fair and safe practices within Greek life.
How to Help
If you are not a member of Greek life, try not to pass judgment on a sorority girl before meeting here. Many girls who join Greek life were against being in an organization in the first place altogether, however found that there truly are many benefits to being in an organization. Whether you are planning on being in a sorority or are personally against it, there is no need to hate on those who have joined or stereotype them as simply partiers. There are standards to being in a Greek organization similar to any other club or major group, and members should be allowed to be proud to wear their Greek letters and represent their sorority.
Based on image, you might believe that sororities only provide individuals with the ability to talk and make cute girly crafts. However, this is simply not true rather, sororities foster an environment of community and leadership. Not only are many members required to maintain a specific academic GPA to be apart of the organization, but they must also possess the traits that their sororities deem most important. For example, every individual sorority has its own unique motto and motivation to provide some type of public service to society. With this comes community service requirements, time management skills, and an ability to interact with others professionally and kindly. In being a part of an organization, you are no longer simply an individual, but representing an organization as a whole. Everything you do and say can impact the image of your sorority, thus you must maintain an image of professionalism during formal events. Of course sororities girls have their fun during mixers and almost never hesitate to dress up for a theme but they have their priorities straight.
Have you been stereotyped as a generic sorority girl? Tell us about your experience as a participant in Greek Life in the comments below!
My name is Aja Ward. I am from Southern California, but I currently attend college at Hofstra University in New York. I am a freshman journalism major, and currently exploring a minor in design. I am involved in my school’s radio station 88.7 FM WRHU which is the #1 non-commercial radio station in the nation, and one of my biggest passions is fashion.