Why 'Sorority' And 'Conformity' Are Not One In The Same

by Cashie Rohaly

Whether or not you are affiliated with a sorority, most people harbor opinions of what they entail and what it means to be in one. Like any group, sororities come with stereotypes.

Sorority girls, supposedly, are Starbucks-drinking, Lilly Pulitzer-wearing, chronic bitch-faced girls who binge-drink and hook up with frat guys. These are just a few of the many beliefs that are widely held about girls in Greek life, no matter what university they attend or to which house they are affiliated.

The issue is that these overgeneralized labels have become the primary associations with what it means to be in a sorority. This has led to the common assumption that taking shots and dancing on elevated surfaces are a sorority girl’s main résumé skills.

No matter to which kind of group you belong, stereotypes exist and, if we’re being honest, they reflect some modicum of truth.

I won’t say girls in Greek life never do any of the things that are mentioned above; however, the parties, the bodycon dresses and the iced coffees are all surface-level stuff. There is more to every person on this earth than what meets the eye, sorority girls included.

This stigma attached to girls involved in Greek life casts an unnecessary, dark shadow on many bright and admirable women.

When I mentioned to a friend of mine that I joined a sorority this year, she responded with, “I think I just lost some respect for you.” She thought I was too unique to be a follower, which is a sentiment that infuriates me.

I can think of many valid reasons why somebody might lose respect for me — just off the top of my head, I’ve told my parents I need money for laundry, when really, I was just dying to have a burrito bowl. There are plenty of other valid reasons why someone might look at me and say, “Oh honey, that’s just sad.”

Greek life is not one of them.

Joining a sorority and maintaining individuality are not mutually exclusive events because both can occur simultaneously. Participating in Greek life does not strip a girl of her individualism; rather, it gives her yet another outlet to display uniqueness.

Also, eccentricity is not relinquished the moment a student decides to go Greek. Affiliation does not strip a woman of her ability and drive to express herself; she is the only person who can stifle that ability.

Sure, there are some rules to which girls in Greek life must abide. Sober monitors, academic probation, visitor-restrictions and other regulations have been developed and implemented in many houses to uphold the well-being and safety of all members.

These hardly seem like detrimental things for a young girl to incorporate into her life.

Ultimately, sororities only demand one thing of their members: respect. Respect for the house, for those who are affiliated with Greek life, those who are not and especially for oneself.

Here are some things a sorority does not ask of its members: to stop singing loudly and badly in the shower, to not join different clubs and organizations on campus, to change a major of study, physical appearance, personal interest or opinion.

I do not attribute everything I have done or will do to Greek life; I have done things that make me proud and things that have not and most of these things have nothing to do with my sorority affiliation. Still, it’s an enormous part of my life, and it is my choice to let it be.

My sorority has introduced me to strong, intelligent, beautiful friends who encourage me to be my best, most genuine self. I have remained an individual; the only difference is that I now have 100 other individuals who I can call my sisters.

They have made my sorority not just a house, but also a home; a home full of different, wonderful, crazy, incredible people.

I am a sorority girl and I am unique, and I am damn proud to be both.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It