I'm in a Sorority and I'm Tired of Stereotypes

When you think of the stereotypical sorority, what do you imagine? Do you imagine a gaggle of carbon-copy girls, traditionally beautiful, not very smart, and not so nice? Do you see spoiled girls who drink too much, pay for their friends, and hold impossible standards of perfection when it comes to choosing who gets to be in their sacred circle? Honestly, I don’t blame you, because for the longest time, that’s what I pictured too. That’s the image of greek life that the media spoon feeds to us: stories of hazing rituals gone wrong, scandalous recruitment policies, and just a general negative image. I must admit I succumbed to this mindset as well, until I encountered greek life at my school.

If you asked me two years ago when I was choosing colleges if sorority life was something I was looking at, I probably would have laughed in your face. There’s many things about myself that disqualified me (in my own mind) from finding a place in greek life. I don’t exactly fit into that cookie cutter mold that most people think of when they picture sorority girls: I’m a big girl, I have a weird sense of humor, I lean more towards the introverted side due to crippling social anxiety, the list could go on. Not saying there’s necessarily anything wrong with those who do fit “the mold”, but I just never pictured myself running with the sorority crowd, and that was fine by me. My tour guide at Muhlenberg, however, first planted the idea in my mind when she told me she was vice president of her sorority, and she had never pictured herself in that life either. It blew my mind, because this girl was very similar to me personality wise. Could this be something I could be a part of? Up until rush week my sophomore year (nobody’s allowed to rush freshman year), the question rattled around in my mind. Rush week terrified me out of my mind, because I was so afraid of being dropped from the selection process and not receiving a bid after putting myself out there. Every group was so welcoming and kind, nothing like the stereotypes that plagued the back of my mind. Still, I was nervous, and wanted so badly to belong to one of those amazing groups. All of my anxieties vanished, however, when I got my invitation to one of the most wonderful organizations I have been privileged to be a part of: Phi Mu.

Greek life has opened my eyes in so many ways. Sure, there may be sororities out there that fit those forced stereotypes, as not everyone is absolutely perfect. However, the idea that sororities “exclude” people who don’t fit a certain model is far from true. Every girl I encountered was so kind and welcoming during recruitment, nobody made me feel alienated and out of place. Greek life at my school embraces and celebrates diversity: Phi Mu has many members who identify as part of the LGBTQA+ community, several international students, and members with disabilities. Also, nobody’s life absolutely revolves around greek life: we have many women in STEM, in acapella groups, on sports teams, who participate in political activism, etc. Everybody is truly unique, and that uniqueness is valued in Phi Mu and in other greek organizations on campus.

The takeaway from this article is the age old saying: don’t judge a book by its cover. Sorority girls aren’t oppressed for being in a sorority, and I definitely recognize the privilege I hold to be at a school like Muhlenberg, participating in such activities. However, I’m sick of people turning up their noses at my friends and I, simply because we are in a sorority (and trust me, people do). My sorority has given me so much in the short time I’ve been a member, and I know my sisters feel the same about their experiences in Phi Mu. We have so much to offer the world, and being a part of greek life gives us the confidence and support to become leaders, teachers, activists, and good global citizens. Even though I never pictured myself in a sorority, I now can’tpicture myself being anywhere else.