Have you ever noticed how frat boys get away with everything that sorority girls don’t? Well, I have. Our campus is filled with Greek life. Fraternities and sororities are the backbones of our social scene at the College of Charleston. I found myself at the end of my freshman year friendless and alone and I decided to turn to the one thing that I knew would guarantee hundred new people to hang out with. I joined Phi Mu in the spring semester of last year. I’ve loved getting to know all different kinds of women and expanding my social circle and social calendar.
But what I’ve noticed from being in a sorority is that frats are held at a much lower standard. Sororities are put under a microscopic-looking glass. During our rush week, all sorority members and potential new members are expected to participate in a “dry week”, which is that members are not allowed to drink alcohol during the weeks that recruitment is in process. Executive members and Panhellenic watch the actions of all sorority women, whether it be they are out at a bar or posting about drinking on the internet. Trust me somehow they are always watching.
Sorority women have to work so hard to maintain a reputation on our campus. None of Phi Mu’s members are allowed to post alcohol on our social media, especially Instagram. If you do, like I accidentally did last year, you are contacted by a chairwoman and are asked to remove the photo immediately. My attempt to cover my bottles in diet coke cans failed miserably, and I was texted within the hour of my post.
Now we all know what happens during frat’s rush week. Frats have parties the entire week for all their members, potential new members, and girls to attend. So why are frats held at this different standard? The frats are encouraged to party and drink till they blackout. Sororities are extremely strict in comparison and for good reason. The College threatens to kick off sororities all the time.
Sororities are dry mainly to focus on developing genuine sisterhood and connections between all the girls. I think that’s very important since the reason we all joined was to grow our connections and make friends. To me, it shows that something is wrong with the system if the same reason a girl is getting kicked out of a sorority is the same reason some frat boy is getting praised. Now I’m not saying let all the sororities just have a free for all. But it’s something that several of my friends and other girls in my sorority have noticed.
Most frats are spaces where it’s encouraged to drink heavily and mess around with girls. We’ve seen over and over again in the media that it has had serious consequences. In September, at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA a new member of Delta Chi fraternity, Adam Oakes died due to hazing which involved excessive drinking. Eight fraternity men were then charged with hazing that resulted in death.
Sexual assault rates related to fraternities and sororities are shocking and scary. During my Women and Gender Studies class, we have been learning about sexual assault and dived into what it looks like on college campuses. Did you know that sorority women are 74% more likely to experience rape (especially if they live in the sorority house) during college? And fraternity men are three times more likely to perpetrate rape during college. These statistics are harrowing. So what can we do to solve these issues that are involved in Greek life?
Start talking about it. Start the conversation. These disparage between frats and sororities are hard to ignore. Ladies please protect yourself and look out for each other at frat parties.