Why The Stigmatization of “Sorority Girls” Needs to End

Photo posted by Penn State Panhellenic | Instagram (@pennstatephc)

Amy Schumer once said, “My real beauty… lies in my ability to truly not give a sh*t what anyone thinks of me.” While I do my best to live up to these wise words, I’m not ashamed to explain the one time I didn’t.

Let’s face it: Penn State has an extremely large Greek life community. You can’t walk two feet on campus without seeing someone proudly representing his or her association. I realize that Greek life is not for everyone, and that is completely OK. However, just because you don’t like or agree with sororities, it does not give you the right to ostracize their members. The stigmatization of sorority girls needs to stop now. Yes, I’m blonde. Yes, I can be loud with my friends in Redifer. Yes, I like to have fun on the weekends. No, I am not dumb.

Being in Schreyer Honors College, I take many small classes with a lot of the same people. I continuously feel like the odd ball out. Everyone is friends and they adamantly refuse to let me into their circle.

It was the beginning of the semester, only week two of classes. I recognized a lot of the people in my class and was looking forward to starting small talk with them. Maybe we would even become friends. But, I made the “mistake” of wearing my sorority letters that day.

Our professor told us to choose groups and discuss a few questions on the reading. I was sitting at the end of a row when the girl next to me drew a line with her hand between her and me, then circled the people sitting near us, clearly saying that I was not welcome in their group.

I sat there for two minutes by myself watching them as they invited others to their group, but not me. Resolved, I got up and walked to another group and politely asked if I could join. “Sorry, we’re full” I was rudely told. I went to then another group and again asked if I could join. This time, I didn’t receive any response as everyone quickly buried their noses in their books. Finally, being the only one without a group, I unwaveringly sat down in the last group. A girl looked me up and down, then snootily glanced away. From behind me I heard, “She’s in a sorority…”

I couldn’t believe it; I was so embarrassed. From this one class, I have seriously never felt so belittled and cold-shouldered in my life. My confidence completely withered away from that comment. I called my mom in tears and we decided that I should switch sections of the course. It wasn’t because I wanted these ignorant people in my class to “win,” but because I wanted to win. I deserve to feel comfortable in class. I deserve to be confident. I do not deserve to be shamed for wearing letters, something I should be proud to show off.

There are so many other stories like this one that I have heard, happening right here at Penn State. I hope this story will make at least one person realize the dangers of stereotyping “sorority girls,” and that as a campus we can all work to end it.