Sorority Stereotypes Revealed
Out of all the organizations on college campuses, sororities are often the target of negative stereotypes. Being in a sorority is like wearing a red scarlet letter on your chest. Girls who join a sorority are instantly labeled as the promiscuous, partiers, and even the airheads on campus.
Natalie Terchek, a member of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority at the University of Iowa, experienced firsthand the power that stereotypes can have on people. According to Terchek, one of her friends confronted her about her decision to join Alpha Xi Delta last year.
“Why did you pay so much money just to paint each other nails, watch Jersey Shore together, and wear pink all the time?”, asked Terchek’s friend.
Terchek admitted that she was frustrated that her friend had such a negative viewpoint about sororities, but she just ignored it.
Aaron Breon, a senior at the University of Iowa, also has a stereotypical viewpoint about sororities.
“Sororities are just a way for girls to buy friends. They can’t find friends anywhere else so they join a sorority,” said Breon.
However, if this was the case Jordan Franklin, a member of Alpha Phi at the University of Northern Iowa, wonders why other organizations are not stereotyped for buying friends. There are not a lot of differences between sororities and other campus organizations that collect membership dues. After all, a sorority is just a social organization for girls.
Josh Walker, a senior at the University of Iowa, says that he knows a few people that participate in Greek Life at Iowa. Walker claims that both sororities and fraternities are extremely exclusive and their members are stuck up.
“I used to talk to this one girl all time, but then she joined a sorority and now we never talk,” claimed Walker.
Dede Six from Nu Psi Tau sorority at William Penn University disagrees with Walker. Six says that when a person joins a sorority, they are constantly busy volunteering, doing sisterhoods, philanthropy work, and homework.
“I don’t think people realize how much work goes into being in a sorority. There have been times that I would have loved to hang out with one of my friends, but then I get to busy and it just doesn’t work out. It doesn’t mean that I am stuck up or ignoring them,” said Six.
Hannah Benson, a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority at Simpson College provides another answer for why people view sororities as exclusive.
“I think people see sororities as some sort of exclusive private club because of the way we recruit girls,” said Benson.
When girls rush to join to a sorority, they are judged by each sorority differently. The sorority recruitment process is selective. This means just because a girl wants to be in a particular sorority, it does not mean they will be accepted into that sorority. However, every girl does get placed in a sorority.
“I am not gonna lie, I was EXTREMELY intimidated by sororities before I joined. It had a lot to do with the sororities’ reputations on campus. It seemed like such an exclusive process, and I didn’t want to be a part of an organization that tears you down and makes you feel crappy about yourself,” said Terchek, an Alpha Xi Delta member.
Not All Stereotypes Are False
Jordan Franklin says that not all sorority stereotypes are wrong.
“Some stereotypes are true, especially those associated with sisterhoods and lifelong friendships,” claimed Franklin.
Franklin admits she use to believe the negative stereotypes about sororities but not the positive ones.
Franklin joined Alpha Phi last year after she transferred to UNI. She refused to rush in a sorority at first, but her friend eventually talked her into it. Franklin said she ended up joining Alpha Phi because the girls seemed real and she could see herself being friends with them. She has not regretted it yet.
Franklin also admits that going out and being sociable is also a true stereotype about sororities. However, Franklin questions whether or not that is actually a bad thing.
“I don’t know why sororities get stereotyped for being the partiers when everyone else is doing the same thing,” said Franklin.
Sorority vs. Sorority
All sorority girls claim that negative stereotypes are completely false. Yet when sorority girls are asked about other sororities, they start using stereotypes to describe the other sororities.
Dede Six from Nu Psi Tau explained it perfectly when she said, “On surface, we all seem to get along but it is a lie. We are always competing to see who can get the highest GPA or can get the most members.”
Six’s sorority Nu Psi Tau is not like a lot of other sororities on college campuses. Her sorority is only 3 years old and went Greek just this year. After her sorority was accepted into Greek Life, one sorority that did not like Nu Psi Tau told them that they were just the nerdy sorority on campus.
“It didn’t bother me that they call us the nerds. The whole reason we started the sorority was to show girls that there are other sororities out there that do other stuff beside drink, party, and sleep around,” said Six.
Franklin from Alpha Phi says that every sorority on her campus is associated with one stereotype or another.
“The stereotypes associated with sororities on my campus include the partiers, the nerds, the outcast, and the snobs,” said Franklin.
Hannah Benson from Kappa Kappa Gamma mentioned that she has never been personally affected by sorority stereotypes. Benson did say that her sorority has been the subject of certain sorority stereotypes, but she would not mention which ones.
Natalie Terchek from Alpha Xi Delta claims that she does not know of any particular sorority with a stereotypical reputation on her campus. However, she did admit that she knows of some sorority girls that have acted the part of the stereotypical sorority girl.
“I just wish that they would lock it up, they give people the wrong idea on what Greek life is all about,” said Natalie.
Most people have seen sorority movies such as Legally Blond, The House Bunny, and Sydney White. These movies depict sorority girls in a negative light.
In Legally Blond, they present sorority girls as airheads. The movie, House Bunny, depicts sorority girls as being shallow and vain. Finally, the movie Sydney White portrays sorority girls as mean and exclusive.
“I just want people to know that sorority girls are not like what they see in movies. In movies, they take one aspect of sorority life and twist it around to make it funny. That’s not real life,” said Six.
Franklin agrees and says that although movies are based off sorority stereotypes, they do not get everything wrong.
“I mean yeah, we aren’t all blond or skinny, but we do stand for leadership, friendship, and sisterhood which are also portrayed in movies,” said Franklin
By: Jessica Heemsbergen