Sorority Evictions Raise Issue of Looks and Bias
For my media journal, I read a New York Times article about a very diversified sorority from DePauw University that suddenly discriminated against some of its minority members. What happened is that some of the girls from this sorority were suddenly asked to leave the house and live elsewhere, some were asked to leave the sorority for good, and when it was time to meet the new freshman recruits, only certain girls were allowed to meet the potential recruits. The problem is that, consistently, the girls who felt the negative impact of these actions were those girls who were not white. Additionally, several of them were overweight, not real popular, and overall not the typical pretty sorority girls.
This has raised a lot of controversy on the DePauw campus because it was so blatantly obvious that only the pretty skinny white girls were allowed to stay in the sorority. This clearly comes across as a racially biased issue. However, some are beginning to wonder if it is more of a gender issue- what the perfect female should look like- as opposed to what does the perfect race look like. It is hard to say as there is no way to read the minds of the girls who did this.
One thing that is both painful sad and yet so real is that whether the disgraced girls were discriminated by their race or just general look, there is an issue of physical characteristics and the need to conform. This is an upsetting issue that girls encounter nearly every day of their lives. This is created by the gender inqualities in America. Men have the upper hand in America and they determine the way women perceive life. The fact that a girl would be dismissed for her appearance shows how deep the need to look good is rooted.
This is perhaps the largest gender issue present in America. It is the reason for eating disorders, painful self-consciousness, and just the overall insecurity girls have. As a girl I feel swamped by this every day and it really wears a person down. I would like to think of myself as independent and not in need of a man's approval, but being surrounded by other girls who DO care so much and will clearly go to any extent to ensure that they gain such approval.....well in time, that can get to anyone.
It is sad because you would never see a fraternity cutting members who weren't physically attractive. That would be absurd to hear about. And yet, it really wasn't so surprising to read of a sorority that cut girls for their looks. It seems typical in fact- almost expected- almost okay. The thing is I don't know any guy that consciously makes girls feel this way, but we do. I don't know how to solve this issue though. It is so tied into our culture and backgrounds. From the time you watch your mom taking time to dress up for a night out with your dad or with friends, it starts to become engrained that looks matter. I know I am beginning to get off topic, but this article really got me thinking about just how little power women have in America- we have no ups on anyone except for other women. And how do we get that? By straightening our hair, wearing heels, applying blush, by being prettier. No wonder girls aren't taken seriously- we would rather sell out our friends because they are ugly and might ruin our chances with a guy rather than see their personality for what it is and enjoy that.
The link to this article is: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/25/education/25sorority.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5088&en=586cb157d02771f3&ex=1330059600&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss