Sororities were once about defying expectations, making a meaningful impact both in the community and within our chapter, they were about empowering women. These organizations started off as secret societies because women didn’t have the right to change the world, hell, they barely had the right to an education. Our founder’s did the hard part for us; the least we can do is carry on their legacy as dignified, intelligent, and classy young ladies.
At some point in time the true purpose of joining a sorority got buried under a social calendar, big little costumes, and English 101 study files. At some point in time we began to let fraternity men create a tier system for us, turning us against each other. At some point in time we built the reputation of being out of control party ditz paying for our friends with daddy’s credit card.
We can tell people they’re ignorant if they stereotype us into that category without knowing us personally, we can shove the amount of money we raise for our philanthropies right down their throat, and we can boast about how at many schools our average GPA is higher than the All-Women’s GPA. But, they don’t care about that stuff. Let me repeat that: They. Do. Not. Care. They didn’t care five years ago, they don’t care now, and they won’t care in the future. What they do care about though, is their roommate who came home crying freshman year after having to sit on a washing machine naked to see what jiggled, they care about their biological sister who’s sorority sisters made her drink so much she ended up having to get her stomach pumped in the hospital, they care about the girl who is a friend of a friend of a friend who was raped after being left at a party in an uncompromisable state by her sisters. They care about this stuff because it doesn’t exist in their world. They can volunteer, make good grades, and have friends without being in a sorority and without the pressure to impress the cutest fraternity guys, the fear of getting hazed, and expensive dues.
Listen sisters, I am on your side. I know all the good we do, and I know damn well that if I’m paying for friends then I’m not paying nearly enough. But it’s time to make everyone else on our side too. I think I speak for most us when I say we’re sick of being shamed for being in a sorority. The truth is though, this negative reputation didn’t come out of thin air; our actions fueled this fire. If we want to ditch the stereotype that we are sorority girls straight out of a fictional movie, we need to stop justifying our not so great actions with our amazing actions. Raising X amount of money for your philanthropy doesn’t make hazing okay. Getting a 4.0 doesn’t make doing “Rush Boobs” for a fraternity okay. Saying your sorority has provided you with a home away from home doesn’t make shaming other girls okay.
I’m not asking you to give up socials, I’m not asking you to change your rituals, I’m not asking you to be best friends with every girl in your sorority community, I’m not asking you to be perfect and never make a mistake. I am simply asking you to think about the reason sororities were founded before you act, for the sake of making sororities good again.