Fraternities and Sororities, known together as Greek Life, are organizations of students built around the concepts of brotherhood and sisterhood at universities. From legendary frat parties to sorority socials, they are the hosts of some of the most happening events on campus, and almost everyone is down for it. And while Greek life does have countless benefits, there is one fact that simply cannot be ignored: Greek life, at its core, can be quite misogynistic. However, this is an issue that can be fixed with a few simple changes, to make Greek life an even more wholesome and enriching process for everyone.
The recruitment process, popularly known as rushing, is essentially supposed to be a time for students to meet their potential brothers and sisters and to be taken in by a house. Unfortunately, there is a lot of hidden dirt under the facade of class and perfection these Greek houses put on.
“You hear about ‘dirty rushing’, where they look at girls’ Instagrams before the rush process even begins,” said Rachel Floyd, a first-year in exploratory studies. “[They] look for trendy clothes, cool vacations [and] a lot of friends.”
Another major example of misogyny in Greek life is the fact that sorority girls are not allowed to drink alcohol in the chapter houses, even if they are of age. While there is no actual law that prohibits sororities from throwing parties, the National Panhellenic Conference, which governs 26 of the country’s major sororities, maintains that girls are not allowed to consume alcohol in sorority houses, let alone throw a party serving booze. I strongly believe these standards are silly and irrelevant, existing only to reiterate the traditional concept of how “classy” women are supposed to carry themselves.
While this may seem like such a first-world problem, it is a relevant issue when you consider the problems that are associated with this rule. It is foolish to deny that partying is a major component of college culture. Colleges should take steps to ensure the party atmosphere is safe, and the National Panhellenic Conference discouraging sororities from hosting their own parties isn’t one of those steps.
This disproportionate control over the party scene gives fraternities greater power than sororities. Women who do desire to party have to attend frat parties, which are infamous for their high percentages of sexual assault and hazing.
It has been proven that rape is three times as likely to be committed by male fraternity members, and female sorority members are 74% more likely to be raped than other female students. Furthermore, even at our own university, two fraternities have had their recognition revoked in 2019 itself, due to alcohol and hazing violations.
This is why the National Panhellenic Conference and Interfraternity Council need to work to modify these outdated rules. While they may have been relevant in the 18th century when Greek life was first founded, they also need to evolve with time.
It is common knowledge that fraternities bear most of the responsibility of organizing numerous Greek events. If the rules would be revised to allow sororities to organize parties, then the entire burden of event organization wouldn’t fall on the shoulders of fraternities. This could possibly reduce the cost of dues, while sorority girls could have an equal say in the event planning process, creating a safer environment for girls. Frankly, it’s a win-win situation for both.
Also, the high rate of sexual assault and hazing cases in fraternities implies that many women might prefer to party in a familiar environment instead of constantly attending frat parties. This does not mean women should avoid fraternities and frat parties altogether, only that sororities should have as much choice and freedom as their male counterparts and should not be dictated what social choices encompass a sophisticated woman.
Greek organizations have a lot going for them. They help members find a home away from home and provide extensive networking opportunities, and members find moral support during hard times from their brothers and sisters. If a few outdated rules could be modified to create a more inclusive, safe and equal atmosphere, then they would be able to drastically transform the Greek community’s current misogynistic reputation to a community every member of society could respect and aspire to be a part of.