May 5, 2014

THOMAS | Archaic Greek Life

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Being a member of Greek life, I’ve had many interesting conversation with members of other fraternities. In these conversations I’ve noticed a certain number of trends. At parties and especially under the influence of alcohol I’ve heard men and women speak very disrespectfully of women. I have also seen my fair share of  derogatory mixer names such as “G.I. Joes and Army Hos.” Lastly, and perhaps the most revealing trend I’ve noticed has been guys complaining about the girls at the party in everything from their the way the dress, how boring they may be, how tame they are acting, which commonly alludes to how willing they are to “put out.” Putting out meaning how willing a girl may or may not be to engage in sexual actions. After noticing these trends I did as any worthy columnist should do: I investigated. I needed to know why these trends existed and what we could do to right these wrongs.

Now let’s hark back to the dating world of the 1950s where the rules were quite different. I am going to provide some specific rules and examples that show how sexist things really were. One article I read sheds light on some ridiculously sexist dating advice from 1950s manuscripts. Absurd advice exist such as, “If he’s made plans for the evening, don’t try to change them, no matter how much you hanker to see the double feature at the Palace or to show off your beau to the gang at the Pizzateria. Boys resent bitterly, and they have every right to, the idea that they’re being manipulated or pushed around on a date.” It really shows how different the times were. Another quote that illustrates these times: “In this case, a girl not out of her teens would do better to avoid [dinner at a bachelor’s] … a career girl, from her 20s onward, can accept such an invitation but should not stay beyond 10 or 10:30 p.m.” This one is just for shock value “complaining, whining, comparing, sneering, harping … nagging is a devastating emotional disease. If you are in doubt about having it, ask your husband. If he should tell you that you are a nag, don’t react by violent denial — that only proves he is right.”

Other conventions that existed were that only guys were to ask girls out because if women did so they were deemed “floozies.” “At a restaurant, it’s ladylike to tell a date what you want for dinner, so he can order for you” is a particularly interesting “rule” in my opinion. Lastly, my least favorite and outdated rule: “Don’t humiliate guys by trying to pay for a date.”

Now, times have changed drastically: Girls hang out at guy’s houses whenever they want to and girls even invite guys to their humble abodes. Girls more and more are paying for dates and are often times the breadwinners in relationships. Girls make plans seemingly more often than guys, order what they want and can complain as much as they damn well please. However, these changes have not been in parallel with Greek life. Greek life more often than not attempts to cling to these archaic notions and rules which was illuminated in a recent USA Today article. Men are often not allowed to sleep over at sorority houses, sororities are not allowed to keep alcohol in their houses, which means that they are not allowed to have events with alcohol (almost any party) and lastly, they are not supposed to pay for any of the parties except for their own formals and “crush parties.” This leaves the men responsible for planning events at their house, hosting at their house, providing alcohol, providing snacks, setting up the event, providing rides to and from the event and paying for everything. This leaves the women responsible for coming to the event and very little else. Now, it becomes quite apparent why men have such high expectations for women. They expect them to come in droves, dress promiscuously and, better yet, act even more promiscuously. I have seen members of fraternities that expect debauchery to be the next logical step after all the work and money they have put into the event, and this is a terrible thought indeed.

Many of the girls I talked to would love to have more control over the mixer scene on campus. I think these archaic rules need to change sooner rather than later. Sex becomes a problem when it goes from being seen as a possibility to becoming an expectation. These rules are the cause of that transition. I believe that sororities should share in the burden of setting up and paying for parties. This is just one change I am suggesting to reverse a few of the trends I have personally witnessed on campus. Remember that in the 1950’s, when men had to pay and plan for everything, women also had trouble receiving credit cards or welfare, so living without a spouse was an extremely difficult proposition. The chivalry of the 1950’s was not all it was cracked up to be and the chivalry of Greek Life today isn’t much different. Remember that with added responsibility comes added power. So hopefully when you ladies are setting up and paying for half the social events a year from now — thanking me for writing this article and betrothing you with half the power seat — with the additional bonus that my brothers and I won’t have to, just remember it’s not me, it’s you.