Everyone has had to live with a stereotype. But after attending Temple’s Greek Leadership Conference and discussing Greek stereotypes, I started thinking
about how groups almost always fail to live up to their negative labels.
In my own case, I’m a girl, so I must love pink and hate “Star Wars.” While I do love pink, I also happen to be a “Star Wars” junkie. I’m from a small town, so people think I’m naive. However, I know people who grew up in big cities and don’t have a clue about the real world.
I’m also a sister in the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority. That must mean that I’m a witless slut with a cup of jungle juice permanently strapped to my hand, right?
Being Greek isn’t easy. It involves a deep commitment and becomes a huge part of one’s life. In addition to school and a job, we have to juggle multiple weekly meetings,
community service, fundraisers and social events. Most of us are also involved in other campus activities.
We are contributing to the community, but most people let their preconceived opinion of Greeks undermine all of our hard work. With each of our endeavors, the Greek community gives something back.
Given Greeks’ positive qualities and actions, it puzzles me as to why we have such a bad reputation among non-Greeks.
“I don’t think people understand the dynamics, importance and rich history of Greek life,” said Franchesca Ali of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. “If people would educate themselves and actually get involved in the more significant and positive things Greek organizations do for the community, then maybe they will have a better understanding of the overall purpose
of Greek societies.”
I refuse to be a hypocrite and profess my lifetime crusade against stereotypes because I have probably helped fuel a few. However, thinking about my Greek experience has opened my eyes to how unfounded all stereotypes probably are.
People think the only thing Greeks like to do is party. We like to party as much as other college students. The difference is that we wake up on Saturday and Sunday
mornings to do community service while many other Temple students sleep off their hangovers.
People think that Greeks are stupid. It upsets me that sometimes I don’t want to show off my letters in class because I’m afraid my peers won’t take me seriously.
Most of them don’t know that scholarship is one of the most important aspects of Greek life and that we strive to improve our overall average each semester.
People think that Greeks are promiscuous. I usually don’t tell a guy I’m in a sorority as soon as we meet because I don’t want him to think that I’m a raging slut. All it took was a few players scattered throughout the Greek community to give us our sexually licentious reputation.
Greeks engage in the same romantic practices as other Temple students. If anything, our Greek status has taught us to be more outgoing, which helps us meet people more easily. You say slut when we say sociable.
I’m proud of all of the things that Greek life has helped me to do. Even though people define Greeks based on what they think we do, we define ourselves based on what we really do and who we really are.
My favorite insult to Greek life is that we pay for our friends. “I wanted to be more active on campus and be more involved in things, so I joined a sorority,” said Becky Beauchamp of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority. “I’m paying to be in the same organization as my friends, not to have them.”
Well, if I pay for my friends, it’s the one purchase that I will never regret.
Kathleen Hager can be reached at