Girls Just Want To Have Fun: The Greek Life Divide
My decision to come to University of Florida rested on one dream; one light at the end of the long, cold tunnel of a Northern Virginia winter. That light was blazing off my can of Natty Lite from the hot Florida sun on a game day.
As a naïve freshman, clearly motivated by parties and action, my question of whether we could have parties in the sorority house was immediately laughed at. I was especially embarrassed when I quickly learned that boys were not even allowed upstairs and, after 2 a.m., not allowed in the house at all. To top it all off, alcohol was strictly prohibited from the house, regardless of your age. It was like being in 7th grade sleep away camp until you’re 22. Not at all what I had in mind.
In high school, I would go visit my brother’s frat houses, and they were awesome. I really had no prior exposure of what life was like as a sorority member. Never would I have imagined the rules of a sorority house to have such a stark difference from the rules, or lack there of, a fraternity house. I simply could not understand why there were different rules in place for sororities than there were fraternities. I didn’t understand why we couldn’t have the same freedoms the boys had.
After awhile, I began to become accustomed to this divide. Boys are stupid, party too much, ruin their houses and shouldn’t care that girls see how they live. They should also be the ones having every party and providing all the rides to and from these parties as well as the alcohol served there.
Girls on the other hand, or Panhellenic women, were the beautiful, sophisticated counterpart that were invited to these parties. They don’t have much say on what drinks will be available, who will be invited, where it will be or much else other than if they’re going or not–which is great. You get to have all the fun without having to do any of the work, other than being pretty and/or having cool friends.
Everyday there seems to be a new story about a fraternity getting in some sort of trouble relating to partying. The underage girl that walked out with a beer can, the girl that was date raped, the girl puking in the bathroom. The media loves to bash fraternities for sexual harassment, but rarely questions why sorority girls – the usual victims – do not call for any change in the system.
National Panhellenic Council is comprised of 26 member organizations with 3,234 undergraduate chapters and over 380 thousand undergraduate members. Panhellenic seeks to empower its members in so many ways. It encourages its members to be active in philanthropic causes, achieve academic and professional success, and has embarked on remarkable efforts to encourage women to have a more powerful role in society throughout its history.
The creation of the first female fraternity in 1870, as well as the creation of National Panhellenic Conference itself in 1909, was a triumph over the restrictive social norms of the era. National Panhellenic Conference is an organization created on the grounds of defying society’s expectation of women and breaking through the chains of gender inequality. So why, over 100 years later, would an organization like that continue to restrain its members while society moves forward?
Would we, Panhellenic women, not feel empowered if we were allowed to throw our own parties and invite whichever boys we feel fit to join? Would we not feel more secure in our own houses supplying our own drinks? Would we not feel more confident being the host rather than the guest? Would sororities not feel more unified and independent if they were to throw parties under their own, shared roof every once in awhile rather than only attending those in the homes of different fraternities?
Is it possible that having parties at sorority houses, rather than fraternity houses, would reduce the instances of sexual assault among fraternity men? Is it possible that frat boys might step off their douche bag high horse a little bit if they weren’t always in control of the scene? Is it possible that slut-shaming might be dwindled if girls don’t always have to tip-toe out of frat houses the next morning?
It may seem ridiculous to propose yet another place for college kids to drink. What is truly ridiculous is the perception that women cannot have equal control of their own social scene in the year 2016. There is no denying that there is a fundamental inequality between fraternity men and Panhellenic Women that should not be laughed at.