Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Am Not 'Your' Sorority Woman



It's disheartening when I inform someone that I am in a sorority, and I receive the judgmental smile, which is usually followed by a laugh and some joke about how bad my GPA is, or an inquiry of how hungover I am from the last party.

I am asked if I only like men in polos and khakis.

If it's not monogrammed, I don't care for it, and my entire closet is Lilly Pulitzer.

I paid for my friends, and the 'sisterhood bond' that I have is nothing but a facade in order to isolate myself and my sisters from anyone who isn't a part of my sorority.

And last but not least, I am dumb.

Believe me, I wish I was making all of this up, but in truth, I have had these assumptions made about me just because I am a member of the Greek organization.

No, I don't only like men in polos and khakis. I like men who are respectful. Whose humor makes me smile on the darkest of days. Who are passionate about their future, and treat women like true ladies. I am not materialistic, and honestly could care less what a guy wears.


I mean, come on ladies, what is the difference in Ryan Gosling in a suit, and Ryan Gosling in a t-shirt? Nothing! He's still the guy you want Santa to deliver wrapped in a red bow beside your Christmas tree on Christmas day.

I do love monograms, but I also love anchors, snowflakes, and kittens. No, everything I own is not monogrammed, and my closet lacks anything Lilly Pulitzer. You will find me happily strolling across campus in leggings and an oversized sweater bought from Goodwill, because six of the seven days of the week, I am so broke, I rely on the Campus cafeteria for meals. Moreover, I'd rather be comfortable than stylish while walking up and down the treacherous hills of campus while going to class.

I didn't pay for my sisters. How can you pay for friendship? The answer is you can't. Love isn't bought. Love is shared. It is a mutual affection for each other. And more importantly, being a part of a sisterhood is about getting to know and love women who believe in the same ideals and principles as you.



We are not all alike, and that is the beauty of it. In different ways, we better each other. That's what being a part of a sisterhood is- wanting to love and better each other - wanting to be a true sister to someone.

Last, but not least, I am not dumb. I am not gonna lie, there are some days that I feel like finishing college sounds as appealing as cutting off my pinky finger. There are multiple times I feel like I am not smart enough, and there's no way I'm going to have a future.

Nevertheless, I am a sophomore, almost half-way through college.
I have a 3.1 GPA. Nothing to brag about, but I always finish my assignments on time and am striving to work harder and do better.
And I do have a future. I believe in my heart I am going to be successful, should I apply myself.

So for anyone out there who believes the real sorority woman is materialistic, conceited, spiteful, or unintelligent.

I am here to tell you that you are wrong.

She is the woman you see playing Intramural flag football, catching a pass from her teammate and sprinting down the field.

She is the woman you see at 2 am in the library sitting quietly in the corner, with her headphones in, staring intently at her Chemistry book.

She is the woman you see out on the walkway- selling baked goods and asking for donations in order to support her philanthropy, an organization she holds dear to her heart.

She is the woman who gets so overexcited every time she sees her 'Little', because as an only child, she never had a real little sister before she joined a sorority.

The real sorority woman is your average woman- complete with flaws, embarrassing stories, and aspirations for her future.

She is not 'your' definition of a sorority woman.
She is just a woman striving to be better than she used to be.




-Mollie Abell is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee, as well as a member of Delta Gamma. 
*She can be contacted at mjw739@utk.edu

35 comments:

  1. I'm not in a sorority (yet!) but I see people coming to quick judgements about sorority girls all the time and it's so wrong. Great post!

    xo, Taryn

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    1. Thank you so much! You should definitely consider going greek in college! It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life!

      Wish you the best!
      -Mollie

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  2. How inspiring! Thank you for sharing these views. I was not in a sorority in college, but I am glad to have read this and I hope many more do to stray away from the stereotyping of it all.
    Happy New Year ;)
    xo TJ

    http://www.hislittlelady.com

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! Hope you have a great new year!

      -Mollie

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  3. Joining a sorority was one of the best decisions I ever made. My "real" sister died of cancer three years ago, and without my sorority sisters, I don't know how I would have gotten through it. We are still the best of friends -- and I pledged in 1993!

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    1. Hey Catherine!

      First of all, thank you so much for your comment! You and your sisters are the true inspiration for this post. I am sorry about your real sister, but I am glad that you had your sorority sisters to help you through it. It means so much to me that you had such a good experience by going Greek. I wish you the absolute best!

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  4. Thank you for writing this! Not enough people understand how close minded they are being. I received plenty of these comments and reactions while I was going through recruitment and well throughout my 4 collegiate years. Don't let anyone's ignorance get to you...but you clearly already know this :)

    itb
    Sydney

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  5. I'm a fellow Delta Gamma (University of Maryland), and I loved your article! Love when people tell it like it really is.

    LITB,
    Amanda

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  6. Beautifully put, I absolutely agree! So glad to call you a fellow DG sister(Texas State)!

    ITB,
    Savanna

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  7. I LOVE your post and I agree with every single thing you said. I am in a sorority and proud of it. People judge on what they do not know and only their knowledge of a sorority is what they see in movies. (so sad). Those same people should go research how many important, successful and even famous women have been in sorority, A LOT.

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    1. I always love reading posts about the successful women who were in sororities. And you're absolutely right, it's disappointing to see society's view on sorority women. It was one of the main reasons why I wrote my post. I am so glad you enjoyed it!

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  8. thank you so much for saying this.

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  9. I completely agree with everything you said! This year i was lucky to have my only sister join the sisterhood i'm lucky to experience. She is my best friend and that made recruitment so hard. Bid day was one of the happiest days of my life: i got to welcome home my other half! I started cry, i had so much emotion, some actually got the picture of me crying and with her having the biggest smile on my face! My chapter lambda also say "leave a legacy" i think we are. I think we are slowly starting to change our image.

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    1. Thank you so much for your feedback, Tiffany! That is so awesome that your sister is in the same sorority as you! One of the alums in my sorority got to welcome her sister into our sorority this past year, and you can bet there were tears! It truly shows just how much sisterhood means to us as sorority women. You're absolutely right- I believe society's viewpoint on sorority women has been skewed in the past, but I believe a change is coming as well. Thank you so much for your comment!

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  10. I like what you've said in this post, and I think you make many good counterarguments. I'm not in a fraternity. However, I live with three guys who are Greek, and my girlfriend is a Theta. I received many bids and even accepted one, but I ultimately decided Greek Life wasn't for me (as my life was already busy enough). You make the claim that the "real" sorority girl isn't materialistic, conceited, spiteful, or unintelligent, and I agree completely. I'm dating a living model (pun) of your thesis. But what your post ignores is the reality of stereotypes: they're all based on small truths. Not all of today's sorority girls care about the founding values of their letters. What good parent wouldn't want their son or daughter to uphold scholastic honor, brotherhood, and philanthropy? The sad reality is that Greek life is very different from when my grandfather was president of his chapter at Vanderbilt. Small truths can create big lies, and these big lies are what society believes and what offend you—the blanket judgments about sorority girls. Many sorority girls have been very successful, but I think dismissing the judgments of society wholeheartedly (or not acknowledging their biases) is as dangerous as labeling every Greek girl a slutty drunk. The small truth is that some sorority girls really don't care about their philanthropy and do just want to party and hook up, and this is what has created the image that you and I realize isn't always accurate. I just think that you have to address where these prejudices come from if you want to prove a strong defense of the real sorority girl. And I think fraternities are much more guilty in perpetuating and capitalizing on this image than sororities or society hold them accountable for. At any rate, I liked reading this and wish you the best.

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    1. Thank you so much for your feedback! I will agree with the fact that sorority women's intentions aren't all alike. The point of my post was to not only inform people who might have been influenced by these other women, but to also provide inspiration as well. I just wanted to be able to confront the issues anyone who might have had about sorority women as a whole. I respect your opinion, and I wish you the best as well!

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  11. What a wonderful testimony for sorority life and for all women. You're right, you can't buy friendship and love. It comes from a deeper understanding that you've joined a group that shares your values of service, academics, integrity, courtage and advocacy. Well done!
    Evan is right, there are stereotypes and those were developed because people with the wrong intentions helped to create them. That is why posts like this are so important. You are the kind of woman that Greek organizations should be recruiting. It's about preparing the future leaders of the world. It's about creating unbreakable bonds of friendship. It's about, as you said, becoming better versions of ourselves. I encourage you to keep putting that message out in everything you do. Live your values and others will see what it really means to be a sorority woman.

    Mary Ellen
    Phi Mu Alumnae
    Delta Gamma Director of Communications

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  12. I love this! I find this relates to me so much and my experience in Delta Gamma as well! So happy to have sisters like you!

    ITB <3
    Tosha Giroux Tennessee Tech EE Chapter

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    1. Thank you so much! You are too sweet!

      ITB!

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  13. I want to go Greek but I dont know what one would be a good fit for me :\

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    1. It all depends on which women you find that you connect the best with! Trust me, Recruitment is a life-changing process, and you will love it! I wish you the best!

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  14. Love it! I'm currently a junior at Cornell University and we have a very large greek system that contributes heavily to the social life on our campus. My parents are both Cornell alumns and were involved in greek life, so I was really excited to see what it was all about. I saw greek life as an opportunity to branch out socially and looked forward to forming close bonds with my future sisters. So I rushed, but unfortunately things did not pan out the way I hoped they would. I got into a sorority but after a week of pledging I decided it wasn't for me and quit. But I had no hard feelings and went on to make a bunch of new friends, greek and non-greek alike. However, while I'm not involved in greek life I totally understand where you're coming from. The friends I have in Cornell's greek system are some of the most wonderful people I know, but my non-greek friends often judge them harshly for being part of something that they see as superficial and silly. I got so frustrated that I ended up writing an article in the Cornell Daily Sun (Cornell's newspaper) about my rush experience and my dislike of the way that greeks and non-greeks judge each other. Here is the link if you want to read it!

    http://cornellsun.com/blog/2013/11/26/guest-room-dont-judge-a-girl-by-her-letters/

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    1. I shall definitely check out your article! Thank you so much for your feedback! I'm sorry your process didn't work out but I am so glad that you understand some of the stereotypes against sorority women and how they are completely false! Wishing you the best!

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  15. Thank you for putting this out there! You should check out Actual Sorority Move. They are also trying to put out the great values we sorority women share.

    I just wanted to share one of my thoughts on Evan's comment as I was reafing through it. He is right in saying that sometimes there are a few women who don't hold these same views. But it was my experience that many of these women didn't complete either the pledging process or the 4 years in undergrad. Most of the time they left the chapter. And this want just in my own house but in others on campus as well.

    Keep putting out that positive image. You make all us alumnae proud!

    Alpha Gamma Delta at The University of Oklahoma, pledge class 2007

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  16. Mollie!! so proud of you! what a great article! (I freaked out a little when I realized it was you that wrote it lol)

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  17. I love this! I'm currently a junior in high school, but I definitely want to join a sorority when I go to college. I actually had no interest when I was younger because of all the stereotypes, but some of my older friends joined sororities and I began to see that they're more than what the world makes them out to be.

    Oh, and my mom was a Delta Gamma as well :)

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  19. THIS is amazing and something EVERYONE should read. Thanks so much for not only writing this, but taking the time to show that sorority women are WOMEN...who have a fantastic and supportive group of sisters who push them to become a better version of themselves.

    Keep doing great things Mollie! Also, feel free to check out my personal inspirational blog! [http://fromjadasperspective.com/]

    Love, the ladies of Phi Mu Chi

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  20. Everyone... This is a great read... it's a blessing that we live in a world that opinions matter...that we have a choice. I would personally say myself that I can't stand most sorority girls/women... am I being closed minded ...maybe... it goes for both frats and sororities. I believe there has to be a better process of recruitment...Instead of the "appearance" of mass herd of girls and boys being shuffled through a TSA checkpoint. It is bad that I only remember the conversations with those that fit the stereotype...As I believe we should exhibit common sense and respect ourselves. I agree there is always more than meets the eye in everything we do but as humans we sometimes crave social dysfunction.

    Id est bona

    SLB

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  21. I absolutely agree with this post! I was afraid to tell my friends that I joined a sorority at first because i thought they would think different of me. But then i realized they were happy for me to do something that would better myself in the long run. I honestly was closer to my sisters before i reconnected with my actual little sister and that inspired me to be the best big sister i could be. Not every girl is the stereotypical sorority girl, and that is what made me want to join a sorority in the first place! We are women looking to better ourselves with the help of others, and its the best decision i could have ever made!

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