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Perspectives is the official publication of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, Inc. (AFA). Views expressed are those of the individual authors/ contributors/advertisers, and are not necessarily those of the Association. AFA encourages the submission of articles, essays, ideas, and advertisements. All Perspectives correspondence and submissions should be submitted to:

Allison St. Germain 2011 Editor Director of Educational Technologies Delta Zeta Sorority 14 Elgin Avenue Bethel, CT 06801 Phone: 513.523.7597 Direct: 203.798.8777 Fax: 513.523.1921

Perspectives is published four times per year. Submission deadlines: Summer 2011 May 1, 2011 Fall 2011 August 1, 2011 Winter 2012 November 1, 2011 Spring 2012 February 1, 2012 Send address corrections to AFA:

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Board 2011 Editorial

Jason Bergeron, University of Houston Amanda Bureau, Zeta Tau Alpha Erin Huffman, Delta Gamma Christopher Kontalonis, Kappa Sigma Heather Matthews Kirk, Zeta Tau Alpha Jessica Pettitt, Kirkland Productions Lindsay Sell, University of Connecticut Nathan Thomas, Bradley University Teniell Trolian, Kent State University Rob Turning, Johns Hopkins University


Perspectives / Spring 2011

Monica L. Miranda Smalls

Happy (almost) Spring! I hope that by the time you receive this edition the weather is changing and the snow that has blasted much of the country is beginning to melt away and lead us to more sunshine and warmth. When I was told gender in fraternities and sororities was the topic of the Spring issue, I recalled a recent conversation with a student who shared a perspective with me I will not soon forget. Our discussion was centered primarily on men and what most are taught very early on in their lives – boys don’t cry, men don’t share emotion. This wise young man, a fraternity member, spoke of how he heard that phrase often during his life, and it was not until recently, as he was discussing this topic with a mentor, that he had learned he can still be a man and express emotion. In fact, he believes that this very phrase – boys don’t cry – is repeated all too often and is one way by which society begins to fail its youth, especially young boys. Teaching them to be tough, to be rough, and to never let anyone call them a “sissy” prompts anger and acting out with physical force, force that can be deadly as we see, unfortunately, every day in our communities and even on our college /university campuses. In a separate conversation about sisterhood with a group of women, inclusive of students, staff, and faculty, “gender appropriateness” for women, and how society defines it, was discussed. Other issues addressed were self-esteem in young women and how the media prompts many negative and false images of women. Both of these conversations made me wonder what role I have played in the continuing of these prescribed gender norms in our society. Have I done anything to support or counter these teachings once these students reach membership in a fraternal organization? How can fraternities and sororities enhance the level of understanding of one’s own person? Of one’s experiences? How are fraternities and sororities incubators of human development? Do we have conversations with our students about gender? How gender impacts their societal engagement? Or, about how they believe their understanding of gender norms promotes or inhibits their growth and development through these critical collegiate years? What are we talking to students about on a daily basis? Clearly this has prompted many more questions for me than answers. I look forward to reading this issue and continuing my search for answers. I hope you will join me.

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Perspectives Spring 2011  

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Perspectives Spring 2011  

AFA Perspectives Spring 2011

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