I think this goes out to all the people that have a preconceived notion of what Greek life is supposed to be like because pop culture has brainwashed us to see sororities and fraternities in a stereotypical way. It also goes out to all my friends—old and new—who gave not-particularly-positive reactions once informed by me that: “I joined a sorority.”
It’s hard when you’re put in a middle-ground between where you know the truth and what pop culture tells you is the truth. To say that in a simpler term, it’s a dire situation when you are one of the few people involved in Greek life when most of your friends have grown up thinking that Greek life is full of parties, hazing, privilege, peppy blondes, cupcakes and balloons, designer bags, and more.
Some of them are true, I have to admit. But the wording of them, I would very much like to change. Hey, freedom of speech, I get it. But let’s take “peppiness”, for example. It is often linked to females who seem to be too happy for others’ comfort, who are always bouncy and blonde. Well, I would like to call that happiness. Guys can be that bouncy and blond but we don’t call them “peppy”, now, do we?
One thing I sadly understand is the reaction I get when I tell people I’m in a sorority. Trust me, I also needed some time to get used to the idea of me in Greek life. I think it took me about two months after bid day to fully get comfortable associating myself with the word “sorority” or “sister” (in a non-biological sense). And not until after initiation, did I feel comfortable wearing sorority apparel outside my dorm. Maybe it’s because I never saw myself being a sorority member. Or it’s because I felt pressured to be distant from that concept due to people criticizing my choice of being in a sorority.
I remember one time, it was about a month after bid day. I remember it so clearly because I ran into a close friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in a month due to my academic and sorority commitments. While catching up with him for a brief moment, I mentioned that I now am a part of a sorority. His response? Well, he simply shook his head, but quickly followed up by saying he was joking. I’ll just say one thing: I know what a real joke looks like.
It is a pressing topic every sorority and fraternity member will face: the stigma of being associated with Greek life.
Another negative interaction with a friend—this time, high school friend—was moments after I Instagrammed my bid day goods and she sent me a snapchat asking if I joined a sorority. I remember we had talked about joining Greek life when we were freshmen, which was when I strongly stood against becoming a sister. Well, my mind changed, like how daylight savings changes my sleeping schedule. We can’t help it, it just happens and we roll along with time, right? That’s what I did; I rolled along with the change of my mind and saw no harm in that. But my friend snapchatted me back: “I see you”. I clearly remember that phrase. I remember feeling: Ok…you see me, I see you, too. We both have functioning eyes and let’s thank our healthy genes for that because unfortunately, there are others who don’t have the luxury to use their eyes as well as we do. I never replied to her snapchat.
It’s frustrating to be writing a post that 1) complains about the structure of our society; and 2) expresses annoyance on how young children and adults are constantly told by media and pop culture that Greek life is “harmful”.
The fact that I have to explain myself in the first place is unnecessary because my choice is mine and everyone else’s choices are theirs; unless I’m obliged to tell someone the reasons and context behind making a certain choice, I shouldn’t feel pressured to defend myself. I felt the need to write about it on my blog because it is a pressing topic every sorority and fraternity member will face: the stigma of being associated with Greek life.
The thing is, I felt more confident realizing that I am affiliated with a great organization that stands by strong academics and leadership, among sisterhood and philanthropy.
Even though my sorority experience involved zero tolerance of hazing, I know that more sororities and fraternities than we want to admit have initiated some sort of hazing. It is the universities’ responsibilities as well as the national government’s to crack down on the universities that have a lack of surveillance on the amount of hazing that goes on campus. And it must be stressed that hazing applies to any situation where someone is pressured to do something against his or her will, which can happen in clubs, sports teams, and other groups. I agree with those who support the necessity for stricter guidelines of Greek life participants’ safeties. We are all human.
There will always be a set of problems to anything and everything. This is my story, and only one person’s opinion on a topic. I hope, going forward, I won’t have to be discouraged to stand by Greek life, unless there is an issue that should be addressed.
Let’s all #peace. Thanks for reading this extra-long post, and see you soon! :3