Sunday, May 25, 2014

Senseless Violence and Sorority

Those are two phrases I never believed would go together. As sorority women in college and the 'real' world we're faced with stereotypes and people's judgement of our college decisions. Yes we have pithy comebacks for the standard 'you bought your friends' and refer to non-greeks in negative terms, we've coined websites like TSM and own a ridiculous amount of themed clothing. Hell, entire brands exist because of sorority stereotypes... Frat Collection, Southern Tide, etc.

I'm guilty of all those things; I've worn a lettered frocket with a monogrammed necklace, paired it with neon shorts and Jack Rogers sandals. I can be a walking stereotype. I refer to my twin sorority sister as Twin, my big sister as Big, and call my friends my sisters, despite being out of college longer than I was in it. I give you the right to judge me. The right to decide that I'm shallow or that I'm judgmental. But you don't have the right to sleep with me. The right to show up at the door of my sisters invading their safe space. You don't have the right to negatively impact their sorority experience.

Somehow sorority women have become the center of obsession when it comes to the 'college experience'. The young man who killed 2 Tri Delta women on the Alpha Phi lawn this week and injured another felt he was owed something. He was owed his version of a 'college experience' from sorority women portrayed in movies and social media.

Well hell, by that standard most sorority women I know are owed a 'sorority experience', our lives aren't movies. My sorority sisters who went to law school didn't do it because of a boy (sorry Elle Woods), they did it because they are smart, determined, and driven. The women who went on to pageants didn't have small goals, they raise awareness, they volunteer, they are well spoken and work hard.

The trauma caused by his actions will shake the sorority women and fraternity men on that campus for a long time. Trauma caused by stereotypes. Caused by the belief that women are something to be dominated, something that can owe you. Caused by senseless violence based on membership in an organization.

We can do better.

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