Being in a sorority made me the feminist I am
How could I stick to my not-yet fully bloomed ideals of feminism while shot-gunning a beer on a frat table?
It was a warm January night spent on the Cornell University campus, and the members of the Greek community were busy preparing for another night of recruitment. Being one of the few schools that host Rush Week for incoming freshmen at the beginning of the second semester, Cornell requires a period of “adjustment” for underclassmen prior to joining a fraternity or sorority.
Huddled in the Delta Delta Delta living room, I recall laying on my best friend’s leg as our Head of Recruitment discussed the logistics for the next day. We were burnt out, taking honey shots to preserve our voices, feet blistered and cans of red bull dispersed throughout the room.
Seconds later, a faint Shakira voice echoed through the house. Jumping up to see where the familiar “Welcome to Africa” beat was coming from, we ran outside to see our neighbor, Kappa Delta, dancing on their porch. Known for our mixtape, we started to blast Fetty Wap and Beyonce on our five speakers, dancing on our lawn. Across the street, Delta Gamma opened their door to join the party, and within seconds, hundreds of girls poured into the street to dance together. During a week that was supposed to be secretive and stereotypically competitive, sisters from different houses hugged and broke it down in the busy street, blocking traffic, dancing to the beat. I had no shoes on, without a bra, baggy t-shirt and gym shorts screaming the lyrics of “Swing” by Savage, looking around at the most intelligent and independent group of females possible in the dead of January, showcasing exactly what it means to be a feminist, and why it needs to be redefined.
I never thought of myself as a sorority girl. When I was growing up, I always considered myself to be a “guys’ girl”. I had few girlfriends growing up, although I had my sports teams, who acted as my surrogate family. Before I was accepted to Cornell, I had planned on attending a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, recruited for lacrosse and soccer. Upon acceptance, my dream of continuing to be an athlete for another four years faded, along with my sense of sisterhood shared on the field. “Going Greek” was an option in the back of my mind, yet how could I stick to my not-yet fully bloomed ideals of feminism while shot-gunning a beer on a frat table?
My sorority helped to curate my feelings of feministic independence, and disprove typical stereotypes perpetuated by the media. While yes, we do have nights where we drink wine and scream at the television because Ben didn’t pick JoJo at the end in the recent Bachelor (still hate Lauren B.), and yes we get up on tables with cans of Keystone in both hands, wearing whatever outfit required by the ridiculous theme of the party i.e. dinosaurs or my favorite, Guy Fieri, we also have nights where over dinner we argue about abortion rights, the rape culture, masculinity issues reinforced by the Greek system within Cornell, or the fundamental rights of women.
When I returned home after my freshmen year of college (Instagram filled with pictures of the sisterhood) my friends were shocked. They believed that sororities were the place that unique girls turned into pink wearing, cheer singing, Barbie dolls that tried to date the football team. While yes, I do love athletes (and can you blame me?), I like to think that Tri-Delta has changed me for the better.
My sisters are hardworking and diverse, holding memberships to an array of unique clubs across campus such as pro-Planned Parenthood organizations, government and leadership groups, as well as civil rights activists. Some sisters are bartenders (I am lucky to be one), one is helping to write a book with a phycologist, some play sports, ride horses, cook amazing crepes, or simply love Christmas music too much. They are the largest group of girl bosses and I am blessed to represent the same Greek letters as them. Not one fits the stereotypical “sorority girl” cookie-cutter mold, and are all anything but typical. From Hawaii to Bangkok, these girls reside all over the globe. Although we all come from different backgrounds, wealth or looks seem to almost never be a topic of discussion.
Before I became a Delta Delta Delta, I always understood what it meant to be a feminist, although I never was passionate about the cause. I thought that equality was essential, but I failed to comprehend the inequality in most situations. Throughout my three semester being a sister, I have learned that feminism is the uniformity of the treatment of genders, races and sexual orientations.
In a lifestyle that can so easily become misogynistic, homophobic and racist, I have seen sisters stand up for strangers, helping random females get home safely, get intoxicated boys to stop fighting, or stand up for other causes such as animal rights, health and body image. They aren’t afraid to tell one another if they think our boyfriends are mistreating us, or if we have friends using us, attempting to create a more inclusive and safe campus. Sisters have helped me network and land internships, as well as host tutoring sessions and study groups. They’ve consoled me after a recent hard breakup, offered advice and distractions. They care and care well.
I am a modern sorority woman. I am independent and strong willed with ideas about not just my future, but the future of an equal world. I am driven and driven to end injustices such as homophobia, the stigma against the fraternity boy (I actually like greek guys…?) AND sorority girls. The world is changing, and so are the Greek systems. Thank you Delta Delta Delta for opening my eyes to what a feminist looks like, and it looks like a Tri-Delta.