ASU sororities are feminist

Being in a sorority at ASU has helped me grow not only as a student, but as a woman and a feminist.

Despite social stigmas, joining Greek life at ASU has made me a better student, woman and feminist. 

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “There’s no way you can be a feminist and a sorority girl,” or perhaps the age old, “You just joined Greek life for the parties.”

While I do agree that Greek life has morphed into something different than its intended purpose, there are still immense strengths to the system. To understand the position of Greek life today — particularly sororities — we must understand how and why they were formed in the first place. 

The first Greek letter fraternity for women was created in 1870, when a majority of women still weren’t able or encouraged to pursue higher education.

It was around this time when sororities started to gain popularity due to the rise of liberal feminism. These female-only secret societies helped women establish themselves as academics. They upheld strong academic standards, and monitored the social lives of their members in an effort to be the best they can be and to compete with men at the collegiate level. 

Today, things may be a bit different, and women and men alike may be joining Greek life for the wrong reasons. I can’t argue with that.

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Before coming to college, I actually thought sororities were anti-feminist because of the disempowering tradition and rituals they maintained. Unfortunately some traditions stand: fines for missing meetings and sorority bans on alcohol that leave fraternities in control of the social culture.

But being in the system doesn’t mean we agree with it; in fact, a majority of us are seeking to change it. 

And if you thought the system was dying, you’d be wrong. More women than ever are joining sororities. According to The New York Times, enrollment for the 26 sororities in the National Panhellenic Conference has increased more than 50 percent over the last decade.

Why?

Perhaps, women are seeing sororities as beneficial to their college careers. Through my sisterhood at ASU, I’ve realized sororities are actually feminist institutions. Never have I met a group of women who strive to be leaders, who are as dedicated to their academics or who are as into service as I am. Through my sisterhood, I’ve learned the importance of building all women up — sorority woman or not.

Being in a sorority has made me a better student. Through study sessions, trips to the library or mentoring from older members — sororities encourage academic excellence in their members. At ASU, members of Greek life actually achieve higher GPA’s than the all-University average. Not to mention women in sororities surpass the all-female University GPA by .11. 

via GIPHY

It’s also important to note networking is a big pillar of Greek life. As fraternities were created for networking purposes, sororities were and still are doing the same. The women that surround me will be future doctors, lawyers and politicians. Being a sorority woman has helped me dedicate time to service, as well. It’s difficult to keep service in mind as a full-time student with so many commitments, but whether it be volunteering at a golf course or packing food, we push each other to find the time.

Sure, there are some downsides to Greek life. I will admit, today’s fraternities and sororities have had their share of shameful moments. 

But instead of focusing on the negatives of Greek life, try focusing on the positives. Take an in-depth look at our philanthropy, our work within the community or see what else we’re involved with on campus. I guarantee you’ll like what you find.  


Reach the columnist at ambice@asu.edu or follow @alliebice on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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