'Neighbors 2' Got It Right: Sororities Need To Change Their Rules
A Seth Rogen movie is probably the last place you'd expect to learn some serious lessons about sexism, but stranger things have happened. "Neighbors 2" is all about fighting sexism on college campuses.
The original "Neighbors" was about new parents, played by Rogen and Rose Byrne, combatting a loud frat next door run by a jacked Zac Efron.
The new sequel, which was released last week, genderswaps the original. In the movie, Byrne is expecting her second child when a sorority, run by Chloe Grace Moretz, raucously moves in next door.
Moretz plays a freshman shocked by gender structures on campus. When she tries rushing a sorority, she learns they're not allowed to have alcohol in the house or throw parties. So she goes to a frat party, where bros leer at her and her new friends, trying to get them to hook up while the same EDM song plays on repeat.
Moretz and her girlfriends are terrified and grossed out by the party, realizing the brothers have the power and are using it to get sex. So Moretz & co. decide to start their own independent sorority where they can have alcohol and control their own party scene.
I was cracking up through the frat party scene because it was exactly like my experience at my first one. This movie is based on reality. Sororities across the country are not allowed to have alcohol in their houses because of National Panhellenic Conference rules.
The rule was put in place ostensibly to keep insurance costs down (that brothel thing is a myth). But across the street, fraternities can have keggers (generally with higher membership costs).
This means if women on campus want to go to a party with alcohol -- as most college students do at some point -- they have to go to fraternities.
There are other options, like sororities throwing parties in rented out spaces. But that takes a lot of money and a willing venue, so it's a rare occurrence -- especially compared to frat parties.
#NotAllMen and whatever, but male-dominated spaces create problems for women. To get into the house, you wait outside where some 19-year-old jackass gets to decide if you're hot enough to get in (and how much you have to pay to get in), which encourages women to dress for men.
If you don't have a high ratio of girls-to-guys in your group, you might be stuck outside. With the ratio rules, brothers make it clear what their purpose is in throwing parties: To get a high number of women in the house, presumably to up their chances of getting laid.
Then you get inside the party, where strangers hand you jungle juice and dance up on you, luring you upstairs to the bedrooms.
That's not even mentioning the theme parties, which Efron's character startlingly realizes are all super sexist, like "CEOs and Corporate Hoes."
This dynamic leads to young men expecting sex. This can lead to roofies and sexual assault. Sexual assault is a problem across college campuses, but Greek life heavily contributes to the issue, especially in creating these social structures.
It's been argued that changing sorority rules by allowing them to drink in their own houses would combat sexual assault, and the logic makes a lot of sense.
College students are going to drink and will want to party. From a safety perspective, you are safer when you pour your own drinks from your own bottles. You know what's in there and how much alcohol it is.
And when you're on your own turf, you're safe from horrifying schemes people can set up, like the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee fraternity that allegedly used color-coded wristbands to target party-goers for roofies.
This is not to say all fraternity parties are frightening black holes with the threat of sexual assault around every corner. But the National Panhellenic Conference rules for sororities put sisters at a disadvantage if they want to, you know, have a typical college experience that includes alcohol.
Moretz and her friends in "Neighbors 2" are fighting for control over their own parties, and it's a significant battle to stake on college campuses.
Sororities should be allowed to have that most basic right for their own safety, security and, importantly, fun.