My Feminist Reasons for Going Through Sorority Recruitment
By: Jackie Keaton
At the end of last semester, I found myself without any good friends at school. My high school friends had drifted apart, my closest friends were scattered across the country, and my boyfriend was long distance. I started to consider joining a sorority, and as I listed out the pros and cons. It was my feminist pros that outweighed my cons and convinced me to go for it.
The biggest feminist reason I had for going through recruitment was female friendships. When I started thinking of joining a sorority, I was desperate for friends, but especially female friends, and I knew that joining a sorority, even just rushing, would provide me with many opportunities to develop deep friendships with other women. Female friendships are an important tenet of feminism because they bring us together and unite us in a common bond of being a woman in this world. Too often female friendships are trivialized in the media to sexy pillow fights and selfies. But like any friendship, maybe even more so, female friendships are a source of strength, support, trust, love, and encouragement. We need these friendships on an individual level to help us through life, but also as a movement. Female friendships are the root of feminism, and they’re what bring us together into a united front to stand up for what we believe in. Who else, if not the women in your life, taught you about feminism?
Tangential to friendship, my second feminist reason was female empowerment. The world pits women against women because if we are busy competing against each other, then apparently we won’t realize or have time to compete with men and the system that constantly pushes us down. We see it in the media with female celebrities all the time and with terms like “catfight.” Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie were pitted against each other in the media for years, and female celebrity interactions are continuously blown out of proportion for a headline.
In a sorority, the priority is sisterhood and raising each other up to be the best they can be. Outside of Greek life, I could see this in action and knew I wanted to be a part of it. Now that I am in the process of joining a sorority, I can see up close how girls actively encourage one another to do great things, and acknowledge and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Sororities even encourage achievement as organizations. Academically, members of sororities are all college-educated women and must maintain high GPAs to remain members. Mandatory philanthropy ensures that women in sororities are socially aware and involved in the community. Sororities also create connections that allow women to network and find educational and career opportunities. Not to mention the many accomplished and successful sorority alumnae.
While the degree of feminist standards that are held up in sororities depends largely on the organization and even chapter in question, there are some inherently feminist qualities to an organization run entirely by women for women. Greek life is certainly not the first place many people would think of when they think of feminist institutions, and a lot of the behavior we hear about in the news about Greek life is not feminist, but blatantly misogynistic. However, I urge people to step back from the stereotypes and extreme cases we hear about through the grapevine to examine the principles that underlie sorority membership. I think that, like me, many of you will find that these principles promote at least a basic sense of feminism and female empowerment.