Opinion: Double standards affect Greek life negatively


by Ashley Smith

A of couple weeks ago, I wrote an opinion titled “Support smart drinking habits instead of banning alcohol.”

Many were concerned that admitting that I am a woman in a sorority who drinks underage was too outrageous.

Let me ask you a question, though. Would I have gotten the same response if I were a male in a fraternity?

Fraternity men are known for, and almost expected to, drink underage.

These expectations of men have led to instances of sexual assaults and out-of-control hazing.

Statistics support fraternity men rape 300% more than non-fraternity men (The Guardian) and hazing rituals have gone so far as to kill members, the most recent being in September at California State University.

The accepted behaviors of women in sororities and men in fraternities are affected by the expected gender roles in society.

Since basically the beginning of time, men are seen as big, strong and rambunctious. Women are seen as the opposite: pure, innocent and soft-spoken.

Unfortunately, these assumed gender roles have affected Greek life negatively.

Fraternity men throw ragers in their houses, objectify women and do unspeakable things to their pledges, because due to assumptions of the male gender role, that is what makes a man masculine.

But if a woman in a sorority is labeled as sexually promiscuous or a party girl or outspoken, she is seen negatively because that is not the way a proper lady should act.

If fraternity men weren’t pressured to show their male prowess through binge drinking and sexual promiscuity, there would be fewer sexual assaults and hazing occurring on campuses.

Women in sororities are held to impossibly high standards, whereas men in fraternities are held to impossibly low standards.

Assuming sorority girls don’t drink underage is naïve. I’m not saying we should scream it from the mountaintops, but I think a well thought-out opinion piece on a timely topic should not be scrutinized because I admit I submit to the college drinking culture.

Now that women are becoming more prominent in the workplace and are fighting for equal rights, the gender norms should be cast aside.

Greeks are known for being superb leaders, on campus and after they graduate. 85% of Fortune 500 executives were Greek in college.

If we rid the Greek system of double standards, the members will lead with those values and the whole country could be affected positively, moving us closer to gender equality.