Saturday, July 23, 2011

{life} the issue with greek life.

As I was perusing the internet searching for topic ideas for my persuasive speech on a policy issue (hello, I thought politics were supposed to stay out of general education classes??) I stumbled upon this helpful list. 

1. "Spontaneous human combustion is real." - Really?
2. "Do Americans have a credit card problem?" - .... I don't think this needs to be a speech topic.
3. "Fraternities and sororities do not serve a useful purpose." - And rant begins.

When I was a sophomore, my roommate and I decided to sign up for a sociology class to fulfill an AA requirement before we started to fully take classes in our majors. Turns out that we didn't actually need to take sociology in the first place, which we proceeded to complain about every day of that semester. One warning sign for this class - the teacher did not assign a book. As much as a I hate spending money on textbooks, I find that I am weary to take classes that do not require them. Sociology was a perfect example of that exact reason. We were forced to read horrible articles instead. Like that one time, when my lovely professor decided to make us read an article on the differences between "white" and "black" sororities.

"White" sororities were founded for and are centered around helping the "white" woman find a husband.
"Black" sororities were founded for and are centered around helping the "black" woman further their networking and business skills.

I am not kidding.

Do you realize the B.S. I had to deal with all semester?

Problem #1 with this theory: I didn't realize there was such a thing as a "white" sorority. That is news to me. Especially since I am only half white.
Problem #2 with this theory: My fraternity was founded as a literary society at an all-women's college in 1852. 
Problem #3 with this theory: While we all joke about wanting to become trophy wives one day, in reality, my sisters are off to law school, medical school, pharmacy school, physician's assistant school, optometry school; to become fabulous teachers, fashion designers, accountants, counselors, and everything in between. Husbands? ...What?

While I understand that the whole purpose of sociology is to use your "sociological imagination" and look at the "big picture," let's look at some of the logic behind why the authors of this article decided "white" sororities are structured and run solely to find a sugar daddy.

1. We hold ceremonies for engagements. [something "black sororities do not do.] Oh, I'm sorry, do we not celebrate the sacred act of marriage with our closest friends and family members as a society?
2. We host mixers and social events with men. In fact, apparently everything we do is to secure that spot with a mens' organization. [I know sure and well that the multicultural sororities do this as well.] Yes, we are a social organization, but is it not true that a lot of the interaction we get with males is during philanthropic events?

You better believe I raised my hand in class and looked my professor in the eye and told him my issues with the article. He looked bewildered when I told him my fraternity was founded as a literary society in 1852 at an all-women's college. I also printed out our creed and brought it to class.

Got 'em.

Not only that, but where in my mission statement does it state anything about finding us a hubby?
"Founded in 1852, Phi Mu is a women's organization which provides personal and academic development, service to others, commitment to excellence and lifelong friendship through a shared tradition. Phi Mu promotes vibrant living, encouraging members to achieve their personal best." 
Oh, right. Nowhere.

To take this lovely rant back to the original list at the top, it bothers me to no end when people have this view. Joining a sorority was one of the best things I ever did. The friendships I have established with the women in my chapter are above and beyond friendships I have with any other person in this world. Yes, things aren't always perfect. Girls can get catty and TSM/TFM puts a horrible spin on Greek Life in general, but there are sorority women who do not act and think the way that horribly overrated website portrays us all as.

Sisters :)

My fraternity as a national organization has raised over $8 million dollars for Children's Miracle Network since 1986. That is something to be proud of.

What about all of the on-campus philanthropies that are run yearly? Dance Marathon is dominated by Greeks each year. With 95% of the participation from Greek organizations,  FSU's DM raised $486,927.30 for Children's Miracle Network last year.

I am starting to ramble now. I am just very passionate about this subject.

I love my sisters.

I love my creed.

I love Phi Mu.

What are your thoughts on the stereotypes of Panhellenic?

xo, Jen


  1. AWWW! :) I love this ENTIRE POST so much!! :) :) I honestly do not think it could have been said better :)! :)

  2. I completely agree with your entire rant. Stereotypes of Greek Life can get out of hand and even though I read TFM/TSM I ony agree with maybe 1/5th of them. Being Greek has expanded my views as I have learned and grown from the experiences of my sisters into my own person.

  3. I agree with your rant. I'm not in a sorority or anything, but I have been very surprised by a lot of the sororities at my university (I go to the University of Tennessee!) - for both good and bad reasons.

    Like, our Phi Mu chapter here, with the experience I've had with the girls in it, is nothing like what you're talking about, but I also know that other sororities get bad reputations and end up being a lot better than what you hear at my university.

    And sometimes, I regret not rushing as a freshman, but I just don't know how I could handle all the extra stuff that goes into being in a sorority! It takes a lot of time, work, and dedication in addition to school. I always want to congratulate the girls that do everything in sororities because, frankly, I don't know how they do it!

  4. YES... you are completely right. I'm in a sorority at UNC and have formed bonds here that cannot compare to the other friendships I've had throughout my life. NOT ONCE did it ever cross my mind that our purpose was to find a husband, because - hello - that is absolutely not the purpose and NEVER was. Thank you for this rant, I couldn't have said it better myself!

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. As someone who didn't rush, I see both the positives and negatives of being in a house. Many friends I had are no longer friends because I am now a "GDI," and (this has literally been said to me) "I'm not worth hanging out with if I'm not in a house." On the flip side, I have some WONDERFUL friends who joined houses and couldn't be any sweeter. They're taking on positions in the organization and truly benefitting from the whole process. I think there are good & bad things about being in a Greek organization; it just wasn't for me. I hated having a roommate and having rules on where I could/couldn't live or what I could/couldn't do (for example, I have a boyfriend of almost 5 years at the time, so being told he couldn't stay there when he came in town was a deal breaker) -- it just wasn't for me. That doesn't make me any less of a person than anyone else!

    Loved the post :)

  6. I almost cried when I read this; beautifully written and so very true!

  7. I'm so glad that y'all agree :)

  8. AMEN SISTER! And " " to @Erica! Beautifully written Roomie! THIS IS EXACTLY WHY YOU ARE MY BEST FRIEND! You are impressing me everyday with this blog! Watch out my best friend might become the next Jenna Weber! :) Hope you are having a great time for Laura's birthday! Miss you!

  9. LIOB! You're amazing for posting this.

  10. I hate that so much, so many people automatically think of a stereotype when they hear "sorority." If anything I would have been SO much more wild in college if it werent for chi o. As all sorority girls know, a certain classy, respectable behavior is expected of you whether you're in the classroom or at a party, haha and standards scared me so bad freshman year I always made sure I was never "that girl." These kinds of articles make me so mad bc my sorority made me a better speaker, student, and woman in general. Some people just don't get it

  11. I love this post. I know I am commenting on it a little late, but I am a new follower and I saw it under your "popular" posts! I am a member of Alpha Delta Pi, we were founded at the same college, did ya know? Anyway, it is amazing that people can be so quick to judge members of Greek organizations, and what they do. Every Greek organization is different too, and it amazes me how judgmental they can be to one another. I love having a ritual, sisterhood and an amazing college experience all thanks to my wonderful sorority!!

  12. I very much appreciate this post. I am a Phi Mu, inducted in October of 2002 into the Epsilon Nu chapter at Oklahoma State University. My journey's taken me far from home (I live in Denver now!) and I have to admit that it gets under my skin when people make comments about sororities. I was in a Bible study (yeah...a Bible study, sheez) and the leader said something about how we're don't just sit around and gossip like sorority girls. It really bothered me.

    While she didn't realize that what she said rubbed me the wrong way and I don't believe that she's a bad woman, she just was obviously given the wrong impression. When you read our creed (it's beautiful!) and think about it, I only know a handful of people who live it. I try to live it. It's, in fact, one of the most Christian things I've ever read. I don't have it memorized anymore, but I wish I did. At least then, I could've spoken up and said something at that moment.

    LIOB - Jen

  13. Jen, thank you so much for commenting! It warms my heart to know that I have sisters all over the country with the same ideals as me, all because three women got together and created such a beautiful sisterhood. LIOB!

  14. Hi there! I know this is an old post, but long story short: I was stumbling around the blogosphere on this beautiful Saturday morning and fate just led me to it. And I wanted to say THANK YOU for writing this. I'm an Alpha Delta Pi, so my sorority was also founded at Wesleyan for many of the same reasons Phi Mu was. Definitely NOT to find a husband. And my mom was a Phi Mu at Virginia Tech. :) So anyway, I waited until my sophomore year to join a sorority, and it was hands-down the best thing I did in college. I never could have gotten the leadership experience I got with ADPi anywhere else. In fact, I'm going to be traveling as a Leadership Consultant for ADPi this coming year, and I couldn't be more excited. Panhellenic/Wesleyan love to you! :)


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