Monday, November 30, 2020

Sororities inspired by history, support feminism

Feminism is something that’s always been extremely prevalent in my life and something I’m very passionate about. In college, I’ve been lucky to have met many amazing women and men who call themselves feminists and hope for a better future for women in the world.

I got to meet these wonderful people in my classes or through mutual friends, but somewhere I didn’t immediately think to look was a sorority house.

Many times, sororities are associated with superficial women. Some people may even consider these women anti-feminist in today’s society. They’re seen as women who judge other women who want to join their organization and decide who is acceptable enough to be one of them. They’re portrayed poorly in films and TV shows because of this stigma attached to sororities, but many forget that sororities used to be centers for feminism before the word even existed.

The first known “women’s fraternity” was formed in 1870 at DePauw University in Indiana and was created as a way for women to band together in the early days of coeducation.

“These were women who were really trying to expand the boundaries of what was considered O.K. for women to do,” said historian and author of “Bound by a Mighty Vow: Sisterhood and Women’s Fraternities, 1870-1920” Diana Turk in a New York Times article.

Sororities were created for and by women who believed they had the same right to education as anyone else. There are many sororities today that still embody this attitude to encourage and uplift fellow sisters.

PSUC freshman marketing major Giovanna Traugott joined Alpha Phi this semester and loves the sense of community and support she feels from all members. Traugott said her sorority is always working to empower one another by going to events that their sisters are a part of, such as rugby tournaments and art shows.

Sororities are more than girls looking for parties. Traugott pointed out that it’s not only sorority girls who like to party on the weekends, pretty much everybody does, and it isn’t fair to generalize sororities that way.

People will still hear stories about hazing, binge drinking and bullying because there are instances of prejudice still residing in some sororities around the country. However, the goal of most is to form long-term friendships with good people.

Feminism shouldn’t be a foreign concept in 2016, but there are still people who view feminism in a bad light.

Traugott said: “Just learn the definition. It’s basically just the social, economic and political equality of two sexes. I’m not asking for anything more, I just don’t want to be treated as less. So when I fight for these things it’s not so I can be better than anybody, it’s so I can go into a workplace and do not have a disadvantage just because I’m a woman.”

Sororities don’t have to be viewed as bitches who pass judgments, but a place for women to come together and bring out the best in each other.

I don’t see the problem with sororities. I considered joining one when I was a freshman to make friends, and I did meet some really nice girls. It’s sometimes hard to look past the image society has created for Greek life members.

No one should be wrongfully judged just for being part of something that makes them happy. Sororities and fraternities are created for friendship, solidarity and giving back to their community. People need to start seeing these groups as they were seen when they were first created, not what people have assumed and gossiped about for decades.

Email Laura Schmidt at opinions@cardinalpointsonline.com

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