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Nick Medich When one thinks of Greek Life the first thing they probably picture is massive parties, alcohol and attractive people. Without a doubt, these things are true, but, for a vast amount of different Fraternities and Sororities on college campuses these days it means much more. For anyone who attempts to join Greek life they will certainly experience something known as, gatekeeping. Gatekeeping is essentially allowing prospective members that the Fraternity or Sorority approves of to enter and denying people they do not see fit for entry. For those unfamiliar with the way Fraternities and Sororities recruit and obtain new members it is fairly simple. Sororities and Fraternities differ in the recruitment and “rush� processes but basically a prospect attempts to obtain a bid, an offer to join, and then decides if they want to accept or not. To become a prospective candidate for entry you must first obtain the approval of the current members. Which is easier said than done for a lot of males and females. Without a doubt, Fraternities and Sororities both use gate keeping, which puts both boys and girls through scrutiny, either private or public. However, it is a common conception that females have it much worse than males. One significant way that Fraternities and Sororities apply gatekeeping is by analyzing the candidate’s social class. In relation to Greek Life most people will agree that women enforce social class criticism as a form of gatekeeping. In addition, research has shown that social class gatekeeping is used significantly more against females attempting to gain entry into sororities. Fraternities stick to the basics when gatekeeping, meaning they look for guys who are easy to get along with and talk to, seem like they are fun to hang out with and who would be fun to go to the bar with. In my early interpretations of gossip and gender I believed that women implore these things much more than men and this case is I would be correct. Social Class exclusion as a form of gatekeeping is a common problem many Fraternities and Sororities currently have. Joining a Greek Life organization should not be about how much money one


has, what kind of car one drives or how expensive the clothes one wears are. For many Fraternities and Sororities there are certain unwritten standards in relation to these social class characteristics that one must live up to when seeking entry. Sadly, this is a much larger issue for females than it is for males. Sororities have an especially bad reputation for only accepting pretty rich girls with a lot of money who drive around in the car their parents pay for and call themselves daddy’s little angel. These bad reputations typically resonate throughout the student populations so most people will share these beliefs about Sorority girls. A female student in a study at Benton College when asked about social class discrimination for Fraternities said, “I think they recognize it, but I . . . I don’t think it really matters to guys. But like to girls, you see them together with all the same stuff on—Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany necklaces, Gucci. Guys could care less . . . they’re like, if you don’t have a lot of money, big deal, come party, you know. But for girls, most of ‘em are daddy’s little rich girls.” This quote shows that students have the belief that Sororities are rough when examining social class and Fraternities are much more lax. Another interviewed student at Benton College said, “I think guys are a little bit more nonchalant about it. It doesn’t seem like guys let it get to them as much. . . . My experience is that girls take social class and appearance and things like that much more personally than guys.” (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011) Giving further validation to the belief that social class exclusion is much more prevalent in Sororities than in Fraternities. As these quotations show most students categorize privileged college sorority women, as superficial, competitive, and materialistic (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011). For sororities, this is a harsh stereotype, but, unfortunately in this instance the numbers do not lie. Previously, the common belief that Sororities used Social Class discrimination as a form of gatekeeping more than Fraternities was simply an opinion. With the study performed at Benton College, now there is proof. This study tested several hypotheses; the first was that “working-class students


should be less likely to affiliate with the Greek system than non-working-class students.” (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011)

59.9 percent of working-class women and 68.8 percent of working-class men. Despite these high levels of involvement, we find support for our first hypothesis: non-working-class students are 13 to 15 percentage points more likely to be Greek than are working-class students, regardless of gender. This quote validates the belief that Greek organizations in general use social class gatekeeping on their prospective members. The next hypothesis was; “Greek organizations that are exclusionary on the basis of class should be more prevalent among the sororities than fraternities.” (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011) The results for this hypothesis came back positive as well. “Students perceive that class exclusion is more prevalent among sororities than fraternities; if we break down the data for each organization, this impression turns out to be correct.” (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011)

Previously, my early gossip and gender interpretations led me to believe that women were always the major culprits and victims. Through reading articles like “Male Gossip and Gender Play” and “Cliques, Rumors and Gossip” (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011)I learned that both men and women gossip in addition to discriminate males or females who do not fit typical gender norms, they just do it differently. However, in the case of using social class as a major form of gatekeeping in college Greek Life, females are much more discriminatory than men. A study at Benton College showed that the students there shared these beliefs. Here, women are perceived as the much larger force using social class as a form a


gatekeeping for Greek Life. A male student said when interviewed “I think guys are a little bit more nonchalant about it. It doesn’t seem like guys let it get to them as much. . . . My experience is that girls take social class and appearance and things like that much more personally than guys.” (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011) Also, a female who was interviewed said, “I think they recognize it, but I . . . I don’t think it really matters to guys. But like to girls, you see them together with all the same stuff on—Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany necklaces, Gucci. Guys could care less . . . they’re like, if you don’t have a lot of money, big deal, come party, you know. But for girls, most of ‘em are daddy’s little rich girls.” All of the interviews conducted in this experiment showed that almost all students at Benton College “categorized privileged college women as superficial, competitive, and materialistic.” (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011)In other words this is how they viewed women involved in Greek Life. In addition to these beliefs, students viewed men as basically the complete opposite,” Not a single student—male or female— described feeling judged or rejected by a male student.” (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011)Upon further inquiry on whether or not students felt that their fraternities or sororities one student said, “If there is any exclusiveness within the system, it is found among sororities, not fraternities. Because female students were typified as more judgmental and superficial in matters of status and social class, the sorority system was constructed as the setting in which they exercised their exclusion; fraternity men, however, were seen as simply wanting to have a good time.” “Students perceive that class exclusion is more prevalent among sororities than fraternities; if we break down the data for each organization, this impression turns out to be correct.” (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011) “Despite these high levels of involvement, we find support for our first Hypothesis: non-working-class


students are 13 to 15 percentage points more likely to be Greek than are working-class students, regardless of gender.� (Jenny M. Stuber, 2011)

Works Cited Jenny M. Stuber, J. K. (2011). Gender, Social Class, and Exclusion: Collegiate Peer Cultures and Social Reproduction. Retrieved April 16, 2013, from University of California pRESS: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/sop.2011.54.3.431 Smith, J. (1997, March). Students' Goals, Gatekeeping, and Some Questions of Ethics. Retrieved April 15, 2013, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/378379 Swartz, E. (2009, June). Diversity: Gatekeeping Knowledge and Maintaining Inequalities. Retrieved April 15, 2013, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40469063?&Search=yes&searchText=life&searchText=greek&searc hText=college&searchText=gatekeeping&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3F Query%3Dgatekeeping%2Bcollege%2Bgreek%2Blife%26Search%3DSearch%26gw%3Djtx%26prq %3Dg


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