Unempowered: The truth about Greek Life and made up words

The opinion piece writer A.L. Bailey, took to the internet to pen her displeasure for a recruitment video make by Alabama’s Alpha Phi Sorority. She went so far as to call the video “reductive and objectifying” as well as “unempowering”. As an acting member of my fraternity’s national board and huge proponent of Greek Life, I have to say this make me really upset. I would also like to make note of the fact that Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize “unempowering” as a word, so strike one, Ms. Bailey.

My first reaction is why do you care? Why are you so upset about these girls, who are probably anywhere from 18 to 21 years old, dancing around and smiling. I would have to imagine that you would begin to spontaneously combust if you watch something actually offensive like an ISIS beheading video, or a Vine by Kylie Jenner. But you went out of your way tell a bunch of girls hanging out with each other that they remind you of the Stepford Wives? Why? WHY do you care? They have no impact on you, whatsoever. Nobody is running over to your house in a bikini to blow glitter in your face. You argue objectification, but its a recruitment video. I think we can all agree, that ANY Miley Cyrus video far surpasses this when it comes to lewd conduct, don’t you think? These videos have been made every year, by almost every sorority for as long as I can remember and THIS is the one that sent you over the edge and you just had to say something? I don’t get it.

What I do get, however, is that it’s really easy to vilify Greek Life and use it to prop up an underdog story that triumphs over establishment. We see it all the time. When is the last time a movie came out with the protagonist being a Fraternity or Sorority? To my memory there have only been two movies ever that have such a device, Animal House and The House Bunny (don’t laugh, its true). Most every other piece of media out there depicts Greek Life members as the evil elitist group out to ruin someones day. It’s easy to take a shot at Greek Life, especially when you have all these stereotypes to pull from. It is quite literally like shooting fish in a barrel. But while you continue to live in your ivory tower, and claim that all Fraternity and Sororities are evil hell spawn incarnates, I would like to look at something more rooted in fact.

For starters, Greek Life members have higher graduation rates than nonmembers and have higher overall GPA’s. In fact, they are 10% more likely to graduate. While I’ll be the first to admit that correlation is not causation, you have to say that so far this is going pretty well for my argument. On average, Greek undergrads raise just north of 7 million dollars a year for charity. How much did you raise? I’d also like to mention that 63% of all US cabinet members are Greek, all 11 of the Apollo astronauts were Greek, all but 2 US presidents have been Greek (since 1825), and we somehow accomplish all this while only making up 3% of the population of the United States. I can only imagine how badly this stings.

You are entitled to your opinion Ms. Bailey, our great country as assured us of this right. But I am here to say that your opinion of Greek Life isn’t based on fact, and has somewhere close to zero merit. There is nothing offensive about women who enjoy each other’s company and that are hanging out and having fun. If any other college group or organization made a similar video, would you have said anything? If the Hillel or the Asian Student Union made a video hanging out at the lake and dancing around, would you have piped up and condemned them? I’m guessing the answer is no. You took your shot, because you knew that after things like the infamous Rolling Stone article we were living in an anti-Greek climate and this was your moment to seize and capitalize on.

So in closing A.L. Bailey, I say to you, that you are the one who is “unempowering”. You’re singing a song all of us have heard before and with a little help from the trolls of the internet you took away something from these girls that was supposed to be fun for them. Not to mention it was something they chose to do, of their own free will. But you ruined it. Congratulations. Take your ball and go home. But the next time to get together with your book club, go to the gym, or surround yourself with anyone likeminded and similar to yourself, may your surroundings be forever “aesthetically homogeneous and forced” as you so eloquently put it.

Follow me on Twitter: @cmckeon15

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