“Oh you’re in a sorority”
When picking identity I had a little bit of trouble. It was a toss up between a Californian and being in a Sorority. So I picked the one that I thought had the majority of focus on in the media. Now I wanted to make a disclaimer about what I will actually be talking about. I want to talk about how greek life is viewed in the media and talk about the things that most people don’t know about being in a Sorority or Frat. Because a lot of the things that are seen in the media about greek life can be true and I’m not saying that all greek life is perfect and don’t party and don’t haze and don’t care about what they look like or how much money they have, I want to talk about how not all greek life is like that, because being associated with a sorority I get a lot of hate, looks, and judgment from people thinking that all greeks are the same.
What is Greek Life?
For many people when you go to college you explore the new environment of campus and all the things that one can get involved with, and most of the time it happens to be greek life. When I came to Portland State I did a little research on greek but there were always thoughts that went through my head. Is this for me? Don’t they just party? Will I have good grades? Do I have to be really pretty?
The first day of recruitment I walked into a room of a diverse group of girls, all types of ethnicities, all sizes, different hair styles, different majors, women who were excited to support one and another. And although not every school with greek life are as welcoming, or diverse as others it doesn’t mean that every sorority and fraternity likes to drink, have one night stands, haze, or don’t care about there grades. Just like every where else in the world we tend to group people and stereotype them. If it weren’t for the media advertising all the bad hazing, drinking, and good looking people, society would know that greek life offers philanthropic opportunities, academic interests, as well as an endless support system.
Fraternities in the Media
Just by reading the topic of this section I’m sure you all have an image in your head about what a typical “frat guy” looks like.
Or maybe the typical toga party
When thinking about greek life especially fraternities, for most of us, this is what pops into our head. We think about the supper hot guys and the all the amazing themed parties that they throw and how you have to be really pretty in order to be with a frat guy. A lot of this has to do with how it is portrayed in the media. For example in the youtube video done by youtube star LifeAccordingToJimmy he acts out “The Frattiest Man in the World”. This video describes what the “frattiest man” is suppose to look like. He drinks, is buff, “has taxis lined up for all the shackers”, and so on. This video not only gives the idea to the audience that all frat guys are like this but they don’t even show have of the other stuff that this organization is about.
Most people don’t know that greeks are actually always raising awareness and money for a specific cause. One specific article that I found was about the fraternity Theta Delta Chi at Rutgers University. This frat was helping the sorority Zeta Tau Alpha raise awareness for their national philanthropy, Breast Cancer awareness. Every year the sorority puts on a competition to see which frat can raise the most awareness. Frats show their support by decorating their houses as well as putting signs around campus. Who ever shows and raises the most awareness wins dinner with the girls in the sorority. So as this competition went on Theta Delta Chi got in trouble for the signs that they put up. These signs included, “We hearts boobs”, “save the ta’ta’s” and many others. As pictures flooded the internet they got a lot of attention for what they were doing.
Above is the picture of some of the decorations and signs that Theta Delta Chi used. Below is a comment left on the picture.
Although there are always issues with how people feel about a certain subject, these people are getting upset about a sign that was already a campaign started by the “keep a breast foundation not a fraternity” (Lee). I feel as though just because they are a frat they are getting all this attention. Being apart of greek life is just like being apart of any other club, group, or sports team. Since when was raising awareness in a fun way, for a serious cause, a bad thing? The media allows people to see a picture and assume anything they want.
Sororities in the Media
Being apart of a sorority I already know what you are thinking. “Oh you must be stupid, hookup with a lot of guys, drink all the time, have long hair, have the perfect body and so ”. I know this is what you are thinking because I use to think this. Im still a little hesitant when I tell people that I’m in a sorority. When why should I be? I have made the most amazing friends that I know will be in my life forever. I know that no matter where I go I can find an Alpha Chi and we connect like we have known each other for years. I have an amazing support system and women who will push me to be the very best I can be. I know that I stand for an amazing cause that touches more peoples lives then one would actually think, including my own. Being apart of a sorority was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and if it wasn’t for a friend pushing me out of my comfort zone I know I would have never joined, because of all the horrific things that I see in the media.
One of the most common ways that a sorority is seen in the media is through movies. You can probably already think of two off the top of your head including the new drama Scream Queens, or maybe the show Greek, or even one of my favorites House Bunny. These movies and shows not only give a completely negative representation of what sorority life actually is, but also doesn’t even show half of the amazing things that each organization does.
One of the newest tv shows Scream Queens has made a big following especially for the younger crowd. Now although this show is suppose to be humorous as well as exciting, it is basically stereotyping all sorority life as well as greek life. Watching the first 3 minutes of this show made me not want to be in a sorority. For example, in the first episode the girls are in a panic because one of their sisters had a baby and doesn’t look good enough to go out the front door. Just from these first couple of minutes they are already basing sorority life off of looks. The media puts this image into a young girls mind, that not does she have to perfect, but she’s not going to have the support from her long lasting sisters. (Pilot)
As part of this organization, I have been pushed to my full potential not only as a women but as a collegiate women. In order to be apart of a sorority you must fulfill a gap requirement the entire time you are involved. In a recent article they took pictures of people involved with greek life with them holding a sign with a stereotype as well as them with a sign proving that stereotype. For example “Mommy and daddy pay for everything” the other sign said “I’ve had a job all 4 years of college” (Velez). This not only explains all of the typical stereotypes of greek life but that probably most of these were probably formed through social media, pop culture, and society in general. Our culture needs to realize that the media has a bigger impact on us then we realize. We also need to stop stereotyping everyone, because being apart of greek life is one of the most amazing experiences I could ever ask for. There are so many other amazing things that these organizations do that the media doesn’t capture nearly enough.
Important Learning Moments
This whole class was a learning experience. I have a very big interest in the whole idea behind Pop Culture and taking this class was more fun then an actual class. My favorite part though was this project. I liked finding how my identities where viewed in the media and how it has effected my life. I think that a lot of don’t realize that the media has such a huge impact on us, especially when we are making decisions about something in our life.
This class has defiantly opened my mind and has made me think twice about judging something that I have only seen in the media.
“The Frattiest Man in the World (feat. Tay Zonday).” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.
Lee, Harrison. “Rutgers Fraternity Hangs Harmless Breast Cancer Signs On House, Campus Outrage Ensues.” Total Frat Move. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.
“Pilot.” Scream Queens. Fox. WXIA, Atlanta. 22 Sep. 2015. Televison.
Velez, Mandy. “‘We Are Not Our Stereotypes’ Photo Series Reveals The Sides Of Sororities And Fraternities You Don’t Know About.” A Plus. N.p., 13 May 2015. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.