Leadership Scholarship for Women

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Updated: Apr 09, 2022
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Greek life is a collective term used to describe sororities and fraternities or Greek letter organizations in colleges. The sororities are for girls and the fraternities for boys. They are student organizations with the primary objective of personal development of their members distinguished from honorary, professional, departmental and service fraternities. Some of these fraternities and sororities are culturally and/or community-based. The culturally based fraternities and sororities may select their members according to a criterion that is subjective and consistent with the University’s non-discrimination policies.

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Membership in these fraternities and sororities are life-long and they promote intimate bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood.

Greek life is an organization that promotes philanthropy, leadership, good morals, and scholarship, however, it is thought of as something dangerous, something that one should not be a part of as news and media propagate these organizations as a place for drugs and alcohol and in extreme situations death. Many people believe that the system is responsible for the supposed danger of Greek life, however, it is the people joining the Greek life that are responsible for the negative waves in the media. Greek life is not about alcohol and parties as many movies and other forms of media have portrayed it to be. The media have been misinterpreting the Greek life and its system because they are ignoring and degrading the intentions of the greek life. By associating the Greek life with drug use, hazing, and alcohol abuse, the media is portraying the greek life in a negative fashion.

However, that is not what Greek life is all about, as mentioned earlier it is about philanthropy, sound education, and good morals, that is the system of Greek life. The Greek life system is not the problem, the problem lies with the individuals that are joining the system causing trouble and giving the media the ammunition to provide negativity towards the system of Greek life. Capone et al, in their research study, showed that there was a significant impact of the Greek system on the use and abuse of alcohol among student in their first two years, however, these students have started drinking right from their high school days and carried on to college. This shows that the Greek system provided an environment and a structure that allows the achievement of its goals but certain individuals brought their own vices to the organization and mixed it up leading to the media portrayal of drugs and alcohol.

A lot of the activities carried out by the brothers and sisters of the fraternities and sororities like hazing are not created by the Greek life system, it is one of the things that the initiated individuals brought into the organization to “spice” it up. The media has created a stereotype for Greek life that has made people see the organization and its members as dangerous and irresponsible. In a study carried out by Trifiro, it was pointed out through interviews and some secondary research that the media is solely responsible for how people viewed Greek life. The origin of American pie’s version of Greek life has not been established but through this movie, a lot of people worldwide have created a perception on the kind of organization sororities and fraternities are. Greek life is beyond what the media portrays, it has created a stereotype that people are unable to shake off.

Every time the TV is on and there is a story about a Greek system, it is always the negative aspect of it that is been publicized, sexual assault, hazing and so on (Ciuba). For every organization, there would always be individuals who would oppose the laws and the ones that would abide by the laws, the Greek life is no different, according to the Ciuba, the Greek system in his school is involved with the greater Pullman area where they render community service. Members of his fraternity and sorority completed 41000 hours of community service in 2017, they also choose to donate to charity by raising thousands of dollars each year (Ciuba). These are the actions of Greek life, something that is not portrayed in the media.

It is quite true that the individuals initiated into the Greek life might have played a part in the negativity surrounding the organization, however, the media is the force behind these negativities regardless of who was or is responsible. The stereotype created by movies like “Animal House” is said to have paved way for the proclivities that are taking place in these Greek houses (Fetters). The media tend to get increased ratings when they propagate something negative about Greek life, in Brianna’s research, it was discovered that most people got their ideas about Greek life from the media and some chose not to join a fraternity or sorority because of what they had seen on the TV or read in the papers or magazines. Some were even discouraged and threatened by their parents about joining Greek life.

There are statistics that have shown the parallel effect of Greek life on alcohol abuse, drug use, and sexual assault, Capone, Wood, Borsari, and Laird found out that students who are associated with Greek system abuse alcohol more than those who are not associated with the system, there have news and reports about deaths from hazing. These are the things the media take up and show the people. The media is the major problem that these fraternities and sororities face, the portrayal of these organizations by the media encourages a lot of the bad connotations of Greek life and influences the thought of the people in a certain way towards the culture of Greek life. Majority of young adults have not been exposed to Greek life prior to entering the Universities, their only exposure is what they hear, read or watch.

Growing up with the idea of these negative stereotypes they eventually become members or are involved in the recruitment. Capone et al have already highlighted the fact that most students who abuse alcohol in their first two years of college already have a habit of drinking combined with their notion of Greek life then choose to become members, this exacerbates the drinking problem in sororities and fraternities. Having been influenced by media stereotype, a student who enrolls in college and wants to join the Greek system would feel that he or she would be cool if called a “frat boy” or a “sorority chick” as they believe real greek life to be. These are the instances that show the problems are not related the fraternity or sorority directly but with individuals fulfilling the stereotypes that the media has created.

Many colleges and Universities are trying to resolve the negatives that are coming out of the sororities and fraternities, some colleges are calling for a complete ban of Greek life on campus while some are placing a ban of initiation and initiation parties, there are some people calling for its abolishment. An article on Marie Claire by Valeri is calling for complete abolishment stating that the harm created by Greek life outweighs the good. The same with how the media portrays the negatives, the negative aspect of Greek life is portrayed so much that people don’t recognize the importance of Greek life at all. Greek life has helped a lot of people achieve dreams they never thought they could achieve, it has the potential of doing great things for communities, institutions, and charity organizations, therefore, the solution should not be abolishment.

The solution should be focused on reducing the media’s stereotypical portrayal of Greek life. Strict laws are being placed on hazing, the University of Missouri-Kansas City strictly prohibits hazing in any fraternity or sorority in the University. It is considered illegal and offenders would be severely dealt with. Another way to break the stereotype is to show the society that Greek life is more than what is been showed in movies and Tv shows, this process could be long but it is required to break a stereotype that has been present for years.

Becoming a member of a sorority or a fraternity does not mean one is an alcoholic or a dumb person, or a party goer, it means he or she is a member of an organization that is involved in philanthropy, community service, scholarships, and leadership. It is high-time people looked beyond the media and see what Greek life is all about, this is easier said than done as the stereotype has been implanted in the minds of people and some are even backed up by research.this stereotype has placed the system in a precarious position because individuals are implementing these stereotypes in the activities of these organizations leading to more media outcry and further negative portrayal. There is a solution to solving this problem although it may be long and difficult.

Works Cited

  1. Capone, Christy et al. “Fraternity and sorority involvement, social influences, and alcohol use among college students: a prospective examination”Psychology of addictive behaviors: journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors vol. 21,3 (2007): 316-27. Web
  2. Ciuba, Grant. “Greek System is More Than Just Stereotypes”. The Daily Evergreen (2018). Accessed on 15 December 2018 from https://dailyevergreen.com/35702/opinion/greek-system-is-more-than-the-stereotypes/. Web.
  3. Fetters, Ashley. ‘Pop Culture’s War on Fraternities.’ The Atlantic (2014). Accessed on 15 December 2018 from https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/02/pop-cultures-war-on-fraternities/284126/. Web.
  4. Trifiro, Briana. ‘Challenging the Stereotype–Greek Life in the Media.’ (2017).
  5. University of Albany. State University of New-York. “What is Fraternity and Sorority Life”? Accessed on 15 December 2018 from https://www.albany.edu/involvement/greeklife.shtml. Web.
  6. University of Missouri-Kansas City. “Greek Life”. About Fraternities and Sororities. Accessed on 15 December 2018 from https://info.umkc.edu/get-involved/fraternities-and-sororities/. Web.
  7. Valenti, Jessica. “A Call to Abolish Greek Life”. Marie Claire (2017). Accessed on 15 December 2018 from https://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a29155/frats-and-sororities-should-be-banned/. Web.
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Leadership Scholarship For Women. (2022, Apr 09). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/leadership-scholarship-for-women/