Response to “Living The Greek Life”
As a woman who has been a proud member of a sorority on campus for the past four years, I was very excited to read this blog post and have it integrated into our course discussion of religion and pop culture. You are correct, Olivia, in raising awareness of the stigma that surrounds Greek Life, thanks particularly to Hollywood’s consistent stereotypical portrayals (i.e, Legally Blonde, The House Bunny, Van Wilder, etc.). Each organization carries out their own rituals, possess different symbols/colors/crests/mottos that are representative to each organization, have mission statements and sets of values and even meet on a regular basis; similar to any other religious organization. For sororities specifically, there are rules that must be obeyed and upheld to maintain the values of the organization (i.e, no alcohol consumption within a Sorority house, no men after a certain time upstairs in the house, etc). But you might be interested to know that as diverse as Greek Life can be there are actually fraternities and sororities that religious roots. Speaking on my own experience (I can’t reveal too much as I am sworn to secrecy on certain rituals ;) ), my sorority began as a Christian group therefore many of our old songs and readings contain references to God and other Christian prayer references; the symbol of my sorority is an angel, in fact. However, as we live in the 2010s, our organization gives sisters the option to not say or sing certain prayers or hymns if they are not comfortable or if they practice a different religion. I am happy to have sisters of many faiths including Judaism, Catholicism, and Muslim. It might be interesting to note that there is also a Fraternity, which is actually on U of T campus as well, that is specifically a Jewish organization. The gentlemen of the fraternity are all of the Jewish faith and their values and activities are representative and rooted in Judaism. So yes — fraternities and sororities are similar to religion in practice and in representation but they also have deep roots in actual religious faiths as well.