When you hear the word sorority, what’s the first thing you think of? Philanthropy? Ritual? Service? Friendship?
When I think of sorority, I think of empowerment. At its core, sorority is about bringing strong, educated women together to lift each other up and change the world. Being a part of an organization that is bigger than ourselves is powerful, and being a part of a group of great women dedicated to becoming even better women is even more so.
Empowering other women, however, isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially in a world that is constantly pitting us against each other. It can sometimes seem easier to fall into patterns that tear sisters down, rather than lift them up.
So, where do you start if you don’t feel like your chapter is a place that lifts one another up?
Take some time to reflect on how you treat the women in your chapter and women in other organizations on your campus. Have you ever talked about a sister behind her back? Have you ever criticized another chapter because their members seemed “out there” or “weird”? Does your chapter view recruitment as a competition agaqinst the other Panhellenic sororities on your campus? Have you ever ignored a sister who was reaching out for help because you thought she was “just being dramatic”? I know in my collegiate experience I was guilty of many of these things at least once. In some ways these behaviors are human nature. It may seem easier to ignore a sister who needs help instead of sitting down and having a potentially painful conversation. It’s easier to dismiss others as “weird” instead of addressing our own biases and getting out of our comfort zone. Sadly, sometimes it’s easier to be the “mean girl”.
A sorority is the perfect space to learn how to lift up other women, rather than falling into societal norms and tearing other women down. And in a world in which we are often not as respected or revered as men, it’s crucial we encourage our sisters to be the best versions of themselves and applaud them when they do so. When we allow cattiness or jealousy into our organizations, we are perpetuating stereotypes that lead others to not take our organizations seriously, and we are going against what sisterhood is all about.
Be a Change Maker
Our sororities cannot be a 100% empowering space if each member is not doing her part to empower others. Sorority is about making us all better women. Part of being a better woman is learning how to let other women win and being proud when they do so. It’s about supporting each other when we don’t win. It’s about mentorship, community and building each other up in a society that constantly wants to tear us down.
Making your sorority an empowering space starts with you. Challenge yourself not to take the easy “mean girl” approach, but instead to be a source of light to your sisters and women everywhere. Take the time this week to recognize the acomplishments of your sisters or provide support to those who need some words of encouragement.