Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stereotyping Shenanigans

Last night I went to a party with some of my roommates and two new friends. I love making new friends and learning about people, so whilst at said party, I struck up a conversation with a kid we will call Billy*. “Billy” complimented my outfit: a black and white polka dot dress with red high top sneakers, complete with my house key tied to the laces, and then we started chatting. We talked about what we each did that day, our majors, where we worked, movies we liked, music we listened to, and things we enjoyed doing; you know, classic party small talk. When he asked me where I was living next year, and I replied that I’d be living in Theta, my sorority house, my new acquaintance was taken aback. Billy kind of jolted his head back a little bit and got a funny look on his face, then said something along the lines of, “Oh really. You’re in a sorority? That surprises me.” I’ve gotten that response from people many times before, but Billy said these words as if he had a bad taste in his mouth; like he’d just drank a whole gallon of prune juice. I told Billy, “Yes, I am in a sorority. I lived in the house this past year and really enjoyed myself, so I’m living in again this coming school year.” Then Billy oh so eloquently replied, “Ehh, don’t you kind of feel like a sell-out?”

After noting my funky fresh outfit, having a surface level conversation with me, and knowing me for no more than approximately nine minutes, Billy really knew everything about me: all of my interests, everything I’m involved in, and of course why I’m involved in the things I am. Not to mention the way my brain works, and what joy I do or do not get from the activities I participate in. Billy was like suuuuper perceptive and really knew enough about me in that moment to know if my participation in anything would be considered “selling out.” (If you don’t note the sarcasm here, I’m gonna punch something). I politely replied, “No, not at all. I mean, I really like Theta, but it’s just another thing I’m involved in. I’m involved in a lot of stuff, so it’s just another thing I do.” Billy acted as if he didn’t believe me, then said, “Ah, well you’re probably the only girl in Theta rockin’ high tops with a key attached to them.” Apparently in addition to knowing me super well, he also knows the personal style of every member of Kappa Alpha Theta. SOMEBODY PUT THIS KID ON TV! HE’S AMAAAZING! After that sentiment, Billy and I said our polite nice to meet you’s, then parted ways.

My interaction with Billy really ruffled my feathers, not only because he was being rude and assuming things about me, but also because I’ve met other Billys before, as have many people. Your involvement or un-involvement in a Greek house does not define you. I view Greek life literally as another club or activity I participate in. I am involved in way too many things as is, and I will admit that my sorority isn’t at the top of my priority list, and that’s a-okay. I put as much time into it as I want to, and that works well for me. Some people do value their Greek house as their main activity, so they devote more time to it, and some people don’t want to participate at all, so they don’t join a house; these are both great options too.

I really enjoy Theta and am glad I’m in this house, but my house does not define me. Just because there are some people in the house who might like Lily Pulitzer and pearls, or some that really like going on five mile runs and wearing baseball caps, that doesn’t mean I necessarily enjoy those things too. Just because I have my nose pierced and like putting funny colors in my hair, that doesn’t mean that other girls in my house enjoy that too. Just because some people in the house do or do not like that stuff, that doesn’t mean that everyone in the house enjoys those same things. As with any club or group you’re involved with, there will be a diverse group of people with diverse interests, and it would be wrong to assume that every single person in that club shares those same interests in all aspects of life. Yes, I surely have things in common with the girls in my house, that’s why I’m in that house, because we get along, but I don’t live my life the exact same way as someone else in the house does; no one in the history of the universe has ever lived their life in the exact same way as someone else. Let’s stop assuming that just because someone is in a certain sorority that they have a certain type of personality or certain interests, or dress a certain way. That is wrong and ignorant.

Consequently, just because someone isn’t in a Greek house, let’s not assume that they hate Greek life or that they don’t have friends in houses, or any other silly assumption one could make. That is equally wrong and ignorant. Let’s realize that individuals make up any club or organization, and individuals make up Greek houses. People need to STOP stereotyping houses based off the behaviors of just the people in the house you know, and stop associating a certain personality or behavior with a whole house. This kind of thinking irritates the living daylights out of me. I’m not exactly like anyone in my house. No one is exactly like anyone in my house. I’m not exactly like anyone in any club I’m in, and no one is exactly like anyone in the clubs either. My house does not define me, nor does it define anyone else in the house. Through all of our individual interests and personalities, we all help define it, just as would happen with any club.

Let’s all stop being stereotyping, close-minded individuals, and let’s stop judging people for liking the things they like. Ya dig?

*Billy isn’t this dude’s real name. I changed it for story-telling purposes. Ooooh, creative license! 


  1. For someone who has very little exposure to Greek life, it's so easy to generalize and group everyone together. I know on my "Class of" Facebook page there was just recently a discussion about Greek life and people saying they don't want to join because of the constant partying. Good to hear a different side of that! I understand your frustration and hope I can be more open-minded as I interact with different people :)

    1. As with anything you're involved with, you get out of it what you put into it. Thank you so much for reading, and mad props for having an open mind :)