Greek life is an organization in college that, for the most part, is either hated or loved. Odds are that if you love it, you’re in it, and if you hate it, well, I’m sure you can guess why. I’ve spoken with both those involved and those not involved with Greek life to get some general opinions about it. The following is what I gathered.
I’ll start with fraternities, mostly because I’m in one, and explaining my choice to join to non-Greeks is always challenging but fun. The other day at The 401 Cafe, a girl overheard my friend and I talking about the differences between our fraternities in a friendly, comrade-esque way. Without having heard any of the previous conversation, or even knowing who we were, the girl blurts out, “In my gender studies class I learned that all frats rape girls.”
I have honestly never been so taken aback in my life. Here I am, a well-dressed, approachable looking guy talking to a similar guy, and this girl accuses us of being part of rape culture, just by being in a fraternity. I am not denying that such incidents have occurred in direct relation to fraternities, however, if that happened in my own (or my friend’s,) then not only would legal measures be taken, but the offender would probably be stopped before it happened. The stigma is real, just not for the majority of us.
The other big misconception I constantly hear is, “Well aren’t you paying for your friends?” First off, you are paying for the privileges and benefits that come with being part of the organization. If I didn’t like the people I met there, I wouldn’t have joined. Lots of the times the brothers already know each other from class or living quarters, so most of the time we already knew each other. If you know someone who does happen to be paying for friends, then I sincerely wish them the best in all of their endeavors.
Don’t even get me started on the hazing questions and comments I am bombarded with. If things were the way the non-Greeks think they are, then we would all be doing the elephant walk (Urban Dictionary this is you aren’t sure what it is) and hanging pledges by their toes from the rafters of an abandoned barn somewhere. Enough said.
Another common one is that we all dress similar in the same preppy clothes. It’s kind of true, but then again, I’ve noticed that most majors have a style of their own. It’s easy to spot an engineer because they’re typically the only ones in cargo shorts or plaids. Then, there are the kinesiology majors and athletes in comfy sports attire and open toe gym flops. You can tell who studies liberal arts because they’re often the ones who look like they just got back from buying a triple organic soy vegan latte from the locally owned farm-grown coffee shop. I guess what I’m trying to say is that everyone has stereotypes, and yes, Vineyard Vines and Ray Bans is one of ours.
I can’t speak for the lovely ladies in the sorority half of Greek life, but I can try to clear up some of the preconceived notions about them. Starting with the typical, “Srat girls are dumb.” Well, almost, if not every sorority has a minimum GPA requirement to join. I’d say they definitely aren’t dumb. On top of that, my sorority friends have never let me down when I need help on my homework, so there’s that. I cannot, however, challenge the “they dress so basic” stereotype because, well, I can’t even.
Someone I know said that the Greeks seemed to epitomize the elitist system that exists in the upper echelons of U.S. politics and the business world. All I have to say is that it really does come down to who you know. The Greeks tend to be the kind of social butterflies that go out of their way to meet new people. Does that justify an elite system? No, certainly not, but it does offer an explanation for how climbing the social ladder and learning the political game in college is invaluable to success after graduation. Â