When it comes to sorority girls, a lot of images come to mind — bleach-blonde hair, matching Greek letter t-shirts and lots of partying.
Recently, I’ve been trying to challenge my thoughts on this stereotype.
Senior Natalie Mitchell admitted to thinking this way early in college. She thought of the classic archetype: pretty girls and partying.
But since becoming close friends with a girl in a sorority, she has found that not all these girls are as lifeless as their reputation makes them out to be. “[These] stereotypes aren’t real,” Mitchell said.
Since in-person interaction changed Mitchell’s thinking, I turned a critical eye on my own perceptions and spoke to a sorority girl myself.
Meet junior Olivia Costa: Olivia has pigtail braids, clear glasses and vintage Tommy Hilfiger jeans. Even she admits that she doesn’t seem like a sorority girl on the surface.
Costa came to UVM with almost the same stereotyped perceptions of fraternity and sorority life.
But after a closer look, she found that UVM’s fraternity and sorority life seems to be different than that of other big universities.
When her first-year roommate suggested that she rush a sorority, she joined Alpha Chi Omega. It’s been a positive experience since, Costa said.
Costa said she sees how others treat her on campus for being part of a sorority.
When other students see something as small as a Fraternity and Sorority Life sticker on her water bottle, they usually respond with negative reactions, she said.
Costa said the media is a reason FSL is seen as so negative. Popular TV shows and other media show excessive partying and dumb girls.
“This is far from reality,” she said.
Alpha Chi Omega’s slogan is “Real, Strong Women.” Costa describes the environment as pro-women, with everyone supporting and protecting one another.
You won’t catch Costa and her sorority sisters passed out drunk on a lawn, instead you’ll find them raising awareness for domestic abuse.
Two weeks ago, the members of Alpha Chi Omega spent their Friday night raising money for the nonprofit, Steps to End Domestic Violence Vermont, making and selling milkshakes until 2 a.m.
Perhaps it’s unfair to discredit these girls who work hard to help the people in their community. Maybe it’s threatening to outsiders to see a group of women working together.
When people get together, they can be powerful. When it’s groups of women, they can become a threat.
Since women have traditionally been categorized as being incapable and unintelligent, it’s alarming to others when they prove they are not.
A powerful woman is often seen as a b***h.
It’s understandable, then, why a group of authoritative women together in a sorority develops a negative connotation.
My challenge to myself and others is to question your views on women in sororities.
Power is made through numbers. Putting down other women only puts everyone behind.