Sororities are either a positive experience, where college freshmen can make friends, or a living nightmare for those who don’t seem to fit in. Everyone loves to hate sorority girls because there are so many stereotypes that surround them (and yes, some of them are true). To join a sorority, you must undergo a recruitment process and impress members that hold leadership positions (aka “the sisters”). During Rush Week, potential new members meet and greet each of the different sororities and see where they would fit in. Some make it and others don’t. In a way, Rush Week is like speed dating for sororities.
Greek life is supposedly a lifetime commitment and the connections you make in a sorority are supposed to last forever. It is human nature to want to belong to a group and identify with like-minded people. Sororities have been known for hazing rituals that have demonstrated cruelty for aspiring new members. That is not to say that all sororities engage in this behavior, but there are sacrifices members have to make to be part of the organization. It seems that many are willing to trade in their freedoms for the privilege of being part of a sisterhood (or some might even label it a cult).
Sorority Greek life is an acquired taste that is not for everyone and separates the willing and the unwilling who want to take part of the community. Here are the 16 rules that sorority girls must follow.
16. Yes, they have to tolerate some hazing
The stereotypes surrounding hazing have been both overhyped and completely accurate depending on which exact sorority and which chapter that you are referring to. In their mind, this is the ultimate test to see who is really committed to wanting to join the organization. Furthermore, they want the new recruits to bond with each other during the hazing process since they are all going through the horrendous experience together as a clan. This may seem cruel to anyone that has never been involved in the Greek life, but this is considered a right of passage when it comes to being in a sorority. Newbies have to sacrifice some of their dignity in order to rise up in the ranks of their chapters. Whether the payoff is worth it or not, we can’t really decide.
15. They must pay their dues ($)
You have to have the financial means to support being a part of a Greek organization. The sorority life would not be sustainable if it did not have the financial backing required to keep the events, houses and other expenses afloat. It is no secret that it is a rich girl’s game in order to make it in a sorority. Think about it: you need to have all that extra spare time and the cash to pay to make the friends that you make. If you are someone who is taking on 18 credits while having a part time job working your way through college, chances are that you have little time to devote to even yourself, let alone a sorority. There is a specific kind of girl that lasts in such an organization.
14. There are social media restrictions
There are some crazy rules sorority girls have to follow when it comes to social media etiquette. Sororities want their girls to be pretty, proper and above all, acting like ladies at all times. This means that you need to watch what you say and watch what you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Here are some of the basic rules that they have to follow: no PDA in photos of you and your man (except maybe a kiss on the cheek), post photos that you would be ok with showing your mom, be wary of the hashtags that you use, no tagging brands in photos (unless they pertain to the sorority), your duty is to like and comment on every one of your best friend’s photos. The list goes on and on. Sororities make social media seem like a chore.
13. They can’t throw parties (but frats can)
Yes, this is a sexist double standard that is old-fashioned but still applies to anyone in a sorority. Frat boys are afforded the freedom of keg-standing, high-fiving, girl-chasing nights of sheer hedonism while their female counterparts do not have the right to throw their own parties. In the movie, Neighbors 2, Selena Gomez’s character explains why sororities are not allowed to throw parties. “In the United States, sororities are not allowed to throw parties in their own houses,” Gomez lectures a roomful of freshman pledges as the prim and ultra-feminine leader of the hottest sorority on campus. “Only frats can.” The problem is, that puts all the power in the hands of male-run social events on campuses across the country. Something should be done to change this.
12. No illegal substances allowed in the sorority house
Here is another BS double standard that applies to sororities but not to fraternities. Almost every sorority in the entire country is strictly forbidden from not only hosting parties but also even keeping alcohol in their houses. The most shocking part about this is that two thirds of women in America believe that this rule shouldn’t change, according to Huffington Post. This standard is just as old and outdated as sororities are. It was born in a more Victorian era, and has changed from tradition to policy over the years. It makes sense from a legal standpoint since many of the women who live in sorority houses are underage and this rule keeps them out of trouble. Still, if sororities have to follow this rule, why shouldn’t fraternities?
11. No alcohol can be consumed at any sorority function
Given the previous two rules before this one, this really comes as no surprise that alcohol is not to be consumed at any sorority event (except maybe formals which are hosted by fraternities, but those don’t technically count as sorority events). Sorority events involve networking among the chapter members and charity events. This is when the spotlight is directly on all members and they must act like respectable ladies at all times. Alcohol consumption blurs your thought process and impairs your judgement and therefore more likely to say and do something stupid. While this rule makes for the best and proper behavior among members, let us reiterate that those rules do not apply to fraternities. If underage girls are discouraged to drink than underage boys should be too.
10. Purity Month means “No bars, no booze, no boys”
September is the month where many sororities celebrate “Purity Month” as a means to get closer to each other and form bonds with their fellow sisters. While many other college freshmen indulge in the hedonism of partying, hooking up and excessive drinking, sorority girls are focused on embracing the rule of “no bars, no booze and no boys.” On the other hand, critics of this traditional Panhellenic rule is that it is perpetuating an obsolete, misogynistic view of women. Yet again, these are a set of restrictions that apply to Greek women but not Greek men. They sacrifice a part of their freedom in the name of purity and they are expected to uphold while their male counterparts are doing keg stands and waking up hungover the next morning. Just another rule to follow if you want to be part of the quote, unquote “sisterhood.”
9. Members living in a chapter house must complete house duties
Unlike the living situations of many college dorms and apartments, slobs and girls who don’t clean up after themselves are seriously frowned upon when it comes to being in a sorority. You are viewed as someone who isn’t respecting the living communal space of herself and others around her if you are someone who has a hard time staying on top of chores. Luckily, the sorority girls usually work out a system of who does what at which designated time so that no one gets stuck with all of the responsibilities. Girls who are not pulling their weight usually find themselves in trouble with other chapter members because they are creating a burden for the others that live in the house. Being in a sorority teaches you domestic skills as a housekeeper.
8. They have to put in the time commitment
Being a part of a sorority is like having a relationship with a single entity even though each member is part of something that is greater than themselves. Much like being a part of a sports team, the group organization requires that you invest not just your money, but the time into its various charity events and philanthropic initiatives. The more time that you put in, the more that you rise into the ranks of leaderships. It will be frowned upon if you are one of those sorority girls that only shows up to fun time events but then neglects to put the work into setting the whole event up in the first place. Understandably, there are other obligations college students have like say studying or work. Being a part of a sorority means that you have to make it a priority.
7. The informal silence policy means no talking to recruits about the sorority
During Fall Recruitment, potential recruits must acknowledge the “Week of Silence” during Rush. This time of silence is a period when potential new sorority or fraternity members can take time and contemplate their decision to pledge their allegiance to the organization without any influence of established Greek members. The Greek Council rules state that no member of a sorority or a fraternity could discuss insider Greek matters with any potential new members during Rush Week. This time when new recruits and members don’t communicate much with each other is designed to leave room for objective reflection to ensure that they are making the right decision to join the sorority or fraternity. This seems like a fair rule to follow that makes it comfortable for both new members and established members to accept the new additions.
6. Active members are not allowed to invite potential new members to sorority events
There is strict barrier to who can attend sorority events and who cannot. The rule is quite simple: you can attend if you are a member and cannot attend if you are not. Anyone who is a potential new recruit or on the fence about joining that particular sorority has not earned their right to celebrate the events of those who have already made the decision to commit. It wouldn’t be fair in the eyes of the sorority (or anyone involved in Greek life for that matter) if potential recruits were allowed to join in on the fun only to later make the decision to not join the sorority. This is what gives sorority girls a reputation for being too exclusive or cliquey. They tend to stick to their own kind once they have become a member.
5. Social contact for active members is limited
There is a strict rule that states active members are not to suggest to any potential member that their acceptance into the sorority is guaranteed or assured into their chapter, no matter how close of friends with the new recruits that you might be. There is a rhyme and reason behind these rules for minimal social contact with new potential recruits. The reasons being: to avoid any disparaging remarks about any sorority or non-sorority women, to lay aside competition and strive for respect, mutual trust and cooperation. Additional reasons are to prevent negative publicity regarding the Greek community and not to exploit personal relationships during the recruitment process. Whoever said that sorority girls are catty are mistaken after they have read this golden rule.
4. All members must maintain a 2.5 GPA
One of the many misconceptions about sorority girls is that they are dumb bimbos. Seeing as though there is rule stipulating that you have to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 in order to maintain membership, that stereotype is questionable if not altogether false. Granted, a 2.5 GPA is really nothing to brag about, but if you are not at least getting a “C” average in your classes, then you need to prioritize your academics before you can commit your time and energy to any sorority organization. This is a rule that no one would argue with is “wrong” or “too restrictive” in any way since it is a college student’s obligation to put school ahead of anything else in their life. Greek life is supposed to add to your college experience, not serve as a distraction in your academic career.
3. Members must attend formals
One of the most fun parts about being in a sorority is that you get to attend formal at the end of the year after spring semester has ended and you feel that you deserve a break from all that hard work that you put into school. It is customary that frat boys usually ask sorority girls to attend their formals, but the ladies can ask the guys to be their dates when their time for their formal comes around. This is like a prom but it is planned for 20-something year olds (or 18-19 year olds) where you get dolled up, dance to music and indulge in great memories. So how is it different from high school, again? Oh yeah, there is no curfew.
2. Members are required to complete a minimum amount of service hours
One of the main purposes of a sorority’s existence (other than creating a sisterhood) is the idea to create charitable causes that do good for the community in the location where the university is located. This is supposed to create not only bonding with your fellow sorority sisters, but to create a bond to those that you help and assist in philanthropy. Being a part of a Greek organization is supposed to involve doing good deeds for others without asking for anything back in return. Whether it be canned food drives, breast cancer awareness or whatever it may be, sorority sisters develop an understanding that helping others is good for the soul. Despite any negative stereotype about sororities, you can’t argue that the this reason for joining is a positive one.
1. You must learn the Greek alphabet
Last but not least, being a part of a sorority or a fraternity means that you get a taste of the Greek language. There are many different Greek organizations around the world, and so many different names that incorporate Greek letters. You can’t decipher the difference between your organization and others if you don’t understand the Greek alphabet. In fact, sororities are such old organizations that date back to Victorian eras that their top-secret doctrines can only be understood if one understands the symbols and pronunciations of the Greek alphabet. This is probably the most academic part of the entire experience of being in a sorority. This explains all the photos of sorority girls making these hand gestures, they are signs of various letters in the Greek alphabet.
Source: The Daily Beast, Buzzfeed, Total Sorority Move, Huffington Post, The Occidental Weekly
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