Home » Odds and Ends » What’s the Deal with That? : Greek Life in the Media

What’s the Deal with That? : Greek Life in the Media

What is Greek Life?

For me, Greek Life was an amazing opportunity for my introverted self to immerse myself into a group that prided itself as being outwardly social, always being present in the college community through fundraisers, charity events, and other social activities. It was a way to form bonds with other girls that will last way beyond our college years. Most importantly, it was a way to discover what I valued in myself and others and how I wanted to adapt myself and my environment to fit these values as I began to look past graduation.

Unfortunately the media is not willing to share with you my perspective of Greek Life, or that of the other millions of Greeks who are just as sentimental towards their organizations. No, instead the media prefers to highlight just how demonizing the Greek community is to society. Not once have they shown you images of Greeks coming together to raise money for charity, or giving up their time to provide service to their community.

No, the media would rather display images of drunken orgies, sexual assault, racism, and heinous hazing instead, because it isn’t a good news day unless there is some hate to spew.

I am not saying that the aforementioned acts are not occurring within Greek Life. But are they not occurring on college campuses outside of Greek Life? No, all of these acts are just as prevalent, in fact possibly more so, outside of Greek Row. That is because most Greek Life does not live up to your Animal House ideas. Each fraternity and sorority, whether national or local, has standards to uphold in the form of a GPA requirement, a community service requirement, a duty to represent their alumni positively, etc. While Greeks tend to know how to have a good time, we also have other priorities that usually take precedent, and none of them include lewd, immoral, or illegal behavior.

While you cannot deny the stories of racism and sexual assault that have been brought to light in some Greek organizations, i.e. University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon, or Penn State’s Kappa Delta Rho, one might question if these should be national new stories. While these are horrible acts, the sad truth is that they are horrible acts that are happening every day in various communities, whether it be on a college campus, or in a local neighborhood. These acts should never be taken lightly, as awareness is a powerful thing, but the crimes in the local neighborhoods, or behind the closed doors of an office, etc. do not make the national headlines. No, apparently it is the Greek community’s job to be made an example of. And I for one am fed up.

The latest headline involving Greeks is not even close to being illicit, lewd, or illegal, but yet, here we are, damned to Hell again. This time the story involves the University of Alabama’s Alpha Phi sorority.

With the start of classes right around the corner for most colleges, Greeks around the country will be kicking of recruitment/rush. This is a time for those interested in Greek Life to get to know the various organizations and get a feel for which one they may like to join. For campuses with a large Greek community, usually with national organizations, this can be quite an elaborate process, as each organization strives to recruit the students that best fit their organization’s philosophies and life style (Don’t forget many Greek organizations require members to all live together!).

With that being said, it is not uncommon in the age of social media, to see Greeks put out recruitment videos. These videos are meant to be a representation of each particular organization and why they are unique in comparison to another. They may often times spoof a popular music video or dance craze, or simply show photos of its members participating in various events around campus. This is exactly what the ladies of Alpha Phi intended when they released the following video:

Apparently this was offensive to half the nation. This video was taken as racist, demeaning towards women, and even was stated as being, “the worst thing to happen to women since Donald Trump.”  These statements left me puzzled as what I see is a group of girls hanging out, having fun, being girly, and showing potential  sisters that there organization is playful, carefree, and spirited.  Obviously America felt otherwise. Lets talk about some of the points that were made against it.

The first is racism/lack of diversity. Were the girls in the video mainly white? Yes. Is there a definitive answer as to why? No. Diversity is a struggle that all clubs, organizations, and even the college admissions department struggle with. Perhaps there is a smaller minority pool within the school in general.  Also, no matter if race is taken into account or not, we need not forget that, yes,  Greek organizations are based off of exclusivity. They only take a certain number of individuals based on a variety of factors. They may have a limited amount of spots within their house. They may have particular “legacies” in mind (a legacy is a family member, usually a daughter or son, of an alumni member). There are so many other factors taken into account when choosing potential members, primarily personality and cohesion with the active members.

The other point made against this video is that it is demeaning to women, and sets them back years.  This is something that I still seriously need explained to me. How does dancing and smiling and tossing a little glitter, reverse women’s rights? And if it did, why is this the first time anyone has gotten upset about it? Here are some other recruitment videos that never set off any firestorms:

 

The only thing these videos prove is that Greeks need to get more creative with their music choices, but really? What is the big deal. In fact the last video is another Greek organization from the University of Alabama as well!  Hrrrm… Oh and please also take note of the lack of diversity in each of these videos as well!

Sorry folks, but no one is looking to join Greek life after watching a recruitment video about studying in the library. They want to see people having fun, bonding with one another, and over all just living the carefree life that comes along with attending college, whether you are a part of Greek Life or not.

The media has tried once again to make an example of Greeks by portraying the ladies of Alpha Phi in a negative light.  They want to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find just one more story they could try and demonize Greek life with. I mean really, there are hundreds of these recruitment videos out there and somehow this one became the poster child for immorality and race issues?

I think it is about time that the media stops projecting the world’s issues onto mundane stories that  never should even make it past the editing room floor.  Lets stop making mountains out of molehills and maybe focus on building up those who have been torn down by social issues such as racism, sexual assault, and violence, instead of trying to continuously tear down others because we need one more person to point the finger at.  In conclusion,

What’s the deal with that?

P.S.  These are the real faces of Greek Life today. PDB~GOTN~<3 ~ 198

greek life

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