What it’s like being a feminist in a Southern sorority
They’re not mutually exclusive
I am a raging feminist. I am an avid supporter of the apparently radical notion that women are humans, and should be given the same rights and treated with the same respect as men. I hate the way that society picks at women and tells them exactly what they are supposed to look like, how they are supposed to act and who they are supposed to be.
I regularly slip my hatred of the patriarchy into everyday conversations and I’d burn my bra if I didn’t so desperately need the damn thing for support. But I am also an active member of a National Panhellenic sorority and am proud to sport my letters around for everyone to see.
Before going through recruitment, I, myself, was guilty of believing that being a feminist and being in a sorority were mutually exclusive. I was worried that sororities were just groups of vapid white girls who throw around daddy’s money like it’s nothing, and are completely unaware of the real world around them.
I assumed that sororities were a concept designed by the patriarchy in order to provide a buffet of attractive girls to fraternity boys. As it turns out, I was about as wrong as you can be about all of these things, and am embarrassed that I bought into these stereotypes. Now, the idea that a sorority woman couldn’t possibly be a feminist sounds ludicrous to me.
First of all, sororities were created when a bunch of men started fraternities and some strong, college-educated females were like, “Hold up, if men are gonna have their own little groups, we are too.” Way back in the 1800s, when most of the Panhellenic sororities formed, the founders built sisterhoods on important values that any woman would still be proud to hold today.
Second, sororities are all-girl squads that give women opportunities to grow and take on leadership positions without men trying to steal their thunder. Sororities could technically be described as the utopian society that the most intense feminists secretly dream of: a world where women run everything and the only time men come into play is as house boys serving the women dinner, or as arm candy to a social function.
But in all seriousness, feminism is about gender equality for women, not about women taking over the world (as much fun as that would be), and that is exactly what sororities were founded on. The men get fraternities and we get sororities. We’re all Greek: we coexist, we cooperate with each other and we respect each other. Wouldn’t that be nice in society at large?
As cheesy as it may sound, sororities are sisterhoods full of women who will support one another through the highs and lows of college and have each other’s backs all throughout adult life. My sorority has become like family to me, and the women are some of the strongest and most empowering people I have met since coming to college. Being a woman in a sorority has made me a louder, more confident feminist because I have seen firsthand that women are not only fully capable of running shit, but they are also damn good at it, too.