Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sorority Evicts its Fat Chicks to Recruit

You know there was no way I wasn't going to write about this story. The Delta Zeta chapter at DePauw University wasn't reaching its membership quotas? Why? Well, the National chapter unwisely concluded that it was due to the unsavory image that Delta Zeta women have put forward: they are, gosh darn it, intellectually engaging, real women. To combat a stereotype that Delta Zeta women were "socially awkward," the National evicted many of the less pretty and perky women from the house.

So I couldn't help but wonder what the "mission" statement was of the Delta Zeta Sorority:

The purpose of this sorority shall be to unite its members in the bonds of sincere and lasting friendship, to stimulate one another in the pursuit of knowledge, to promote the moral and social culture of its members, and to develop plans for guidance and unity in action; objects worthy of the highest aim and purpose of associated effort. The purpose of this sorority shall be advanced through the National Convention, the National Council, and the college and alumnae chapters.

And, better yet, here is their creed:

The Delta Zeta Creed

To the world,
I promise temperance and insight and courage,
To crusade for justice,
To seek the truth and defend it always:
To those whom my life may touch in slight measure,
May I give graciously
Of what is mine;
To my friends,
Understanding and appreciation;
To those closer ones,
Love that is ever steadfast;
To my mind,
To myself,
That I may walk truly
In the light of the Flame.
–– Dorothy Mumford Williams, Alpha Zeta (1939)

It's no surprise that a sorority like Delta Zeta has so wholly perverted its founding mission; most of the Greek houses do. What is rare, however, is getting such a upclose and public look at them actually perverting their core values.

I have heard more times than I care to remember that Sororities are places for women to develop leadership skills, to form meaningful bonds with other women, and to serve. Pahleeze! I suspect that when I share this article with my students in WS they will make the usual "arguments": "well, that is how sororities work on big campuses," or "that is one bad sorority, you shouldn't make assumptions that they are all bad." I think what bothers me most in these pathetic defenses of sorority life is the willingness to hide an "evil" rather than take the opportunity to confront what has gone so terribly wrong with Greek life.

Who needs sexist and degrading young college men making you feel like a piece of meat on campus when your sorority can do the trick for you. And, better yet, you pay them to make you feel like nothing but your superficial, trendy beauty.