I Smell a Frat

Having read this article from last year, I am even more against fraternities than I already was, which is saying something. The Greek system has always seemed full of contradictions to me. They’re a source of embarrassment for the associated colleges, yet the colleges gladly affiliate with them. They’re full of guys who live together, stick things up each others’ butts, and call themselves “Greek”; yet tend to be incredibly homophobic. And they’re authority-flaunting troublemakers, but also very conservative. It’s not like I ever would have joined a fraternity even if they WEREN’T hotbeds of privilege and assault. I’m by no means a guys’ guy, I rarely drink, I like to be alone, and I’m not all that big on parties. Even their language comes across as pretty creepy to me. I doubt most of them don’t take the whole thing about being loyal for life all that seriously, but even joking about that comes across as a little unsettling to me. I know there’s recently been a lot of talk about the frat with the racist chant, but it’s not like they’re unique in their bigoted attitude.

I found it interesting how frats more or less changed from means of escape from the strictness of college life to defenders of the status quo. While I’m sure not all fraternity brothers are politically conservative, I tend to link the two because it seems like frat culture shares the same attitudes as the modern Republican Party: self-satisfaction, disdain for women and minorities, and the belief that you can get away with anything if you have money. I don’t think too many CPAC speakers live in houses that people routinely fall out of, though. Colleges are going to defend fraternities because there’s money in them, and the frats themselves claim that the bad apples are outliers. While I don’t believe in blaming the many for the actions of the few, I also feel there’s something about getting a bunch of manly men together that brings out the worst in them. It’s sort of like the military, except without the necessity for national security. I’ve never been in the military (I’m sure you’re shocked), but the media always portray it as full of drill sergeants who insult the troops by calling them faggots. Perhaps this isn’t entirely accurate, but if there’s any truth to it, is it really all that shocking that this macho posturing would contribute to the culture of sexual assault and disrespect for women? Not that I’m keen on sororities either; I haven’t heard about their members being violent, but I do think they produce a kind of group-think that’s disturbing. Yes, I’m generalizing, but I think this is the image such groups portray.

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