For some people who have no knowledge of Greek Life…especially life as a sorority woman, the images and reputations they conjure up in their mind’s eye come from media, specifically moves and websites. We all remember the move “Legally Blond” where Elle Woods took the image of a girly girl sorority woman and made this ditzy blond become successful in law school. The references to stereotypical sorority situations and reputations abounded. Couple this with the portrayal of sorority women in the movies”Animal House”, “The Haunting of Sorority Row”, “Sorority Wars”, and tv shows like “Confessions of a Sorority Girl”, ” Sorority Life” and the latest one to hit the airwaves “Sorority Girls” on TLC (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/sorority-girls-series-premiere-video_n_1246555.html) and you get a very unreal picture of a what a sorority woman is really like.
So of course the reaction you get from some people who do not understand, ( and in some cases care to even try to understand), when you tell them that you are planning to go through recruitment and pledge a sorority is one of distaste. The picture of the sorority women from animal house, websites like :http://modifiedliving.com/sororitygirls.htm and http://hottestgirlsoncampus.com/tag/sorority-girls/, is not only gross, paints sorority life in a negative way but mostly is not true for the sorority women on campuses across the United States.
For many current sorority women and former sorority women we spend A LOT of time dispelling these reputation killing, social media websites. One in particular that has caught my eye is “Total Frat Move” (http://totalfratmove.com/ and it’s twitter site:http://twitter.com/#!/search/totalfratmove) and it’s sister site, ………………………………………………………. “Total Sorority Move” ( http://totalsororitymovee.tumblr.com/this is actually a blog, and it’s twitter site:http://twitter.com/#!/totalsorormove). These two websites came to my attention through the wonderful social media called “Twitter”. Hey I LOVE Twitter…I really do ! I have a Twitter account but I should share that I am not “allowed” to tweet. When I first got my Twitter account I “tweeted” the wrong person (one of my daughters ex boyfriends)..yep not good…my Twitter privileges of actually tweeting have been revoked since then. I do enjoy following others though. Since I get to follow my children I receive some interesting “tweets’ that have been “retweeted” with hash tags (those things at the end #sororitygirl….you know what I mean…ok I know the college girls do but you “mature readers..you get it right???) that say #totalfratmove or #totalsororitymove.
Some of these “tweets” make references to sorority and/or fraternity behavior and quotes, that although they are meant to be funny and harmless, come across as crass and rude. Being a “mom”, I have on more than one occasion called the child who “tweeted” such a remark and had a little “conversation” on what type of message it’s sending. Remember the lecture I gave on social media a while ago…yep well this is the same thing, if you don’t want Grandma to read the “tweet” then don’t tweet it.
I bet you are now thinking that my kids have blocked me…nope…they love and understand where I am coming from. I usually get a “talking to” about passing judgment and a lecture on how “it’s just for fun” but we all have a mutual respect for each other and at the end of the day I think all parties involved try very hard to understand the others point of view.
Where’s this all going you ask? Well….yesterday I was reading my sorority’s virtual magazine and a young woman wrote an article referring to negative sorority stereotypes. She spoke about Total Sorority Move references and made a suggestion that we, as sorority women, take the high road and instead of “tweeting” about negative and often crass and rude sorority images and language, that we recoin the title “Total Sorority Move” also referred to as TSM to become “Real Sorority Move” or RSM”. She went onto give suggestions of positive comments that could be tweeted. Her goal: to have social media cast a positive and “real” picture of the true collegiate sorority woman.
I have attached the article..it’s short but an excellent read. As you begin down the road of sorority recruitment or if you are already a member of a sorority or an alum I urge you to read and contemplate what this you woman has to say. As the National Panhellenic video, “Our Potential: Your Move (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un6c-MY4FEY) shows potential sorority women that they have the power, together with the help of their potential sisters to inspire, move, protect, and empower each other as well a countless other young women. I just have to tell you I could watch that video over and over again. It brings tears to my eyes and makes me so proud to be a “sorority woman”.
So read the article…dispell the rumors..choose to share the positive aspects of sorority life…let me know what you think 🙂 !
TSM vs. RSM
Negative stereotypes of Greek life are nothing new. As sorority women, we have spent countless hours defending bad reputations given by movies like The House Bunny and Animal House to campus administration, the media, friends and family. We are forced to explain that being in a sorority does not mean we’re arrogant, shallow or unintelligent—in fact, it is just the opposite! So why do some find it funny to make light of these labels?
The acronym “TSM” stands for “Total Sorority Move” and was coined by the website totalfratmove.com. The site’s perspective on what a “Total Sorority Move” is differs greatly from my Alpha Phi experience. Here are a few of many distasteful excerpts:
“It’s not hazing, it’s hierarchy. TSM.”
“Dear standards, sorry for partying. TSM.”
“I make sandwiches, not decisions. TSM.”
Are these things to be proud of? I sure don’t think so. While it is easy to laugh off these statements, it is just as easy for non-Greeks to see them as confirmations of the stereotypes they’ve always heard. If we don’t show respect for our organizations, how can we expect others to?
Since my initiation two years ago, I have made some of my closest friends through Alpha Phi. I’ve supported a great cause while participating in the Gamma Omicron chapter’s Fast Phi’t philanthropy events, and have helped colonize a new Alpha Phi chapter at Creighton University. I was proud to be in the chapter with the highest GPA in Greek life last spring, and am excited to meet sisters from around the country at the Alpha Phi Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI) this summer. And while the social events and formals have been incredibly fun, these are the reasons I will value my time as a collegiate Alpha Phi and will be proud to be part of this organization for the rest of my life.
Fellow NPC group Tri Sigma suggested on their blog earlier this year that sorority women should consider replacing “TSM” with “RSM”—Real Sorority Move. Instead of promoting the stereotypes shown in the media, this acronym promotes our sisterhood, the values we swore to abide by, and the outstanding benefits of being a member of a great organization. Here are some alternative “Real Sorority Moves”:
“Going to school for my MBA, not my MRS. RSM.”
“Always acting as if you’re wearing your letters. RSM.”
And, as Tri Sigma states on their blog,
“Realizing that the term TSM may have been corrupted by negativity and arrogance. RSM.”
So, before you upload that spring break picture or post a status concluding with “TSM,” keep in mind that it will be a reflection of Alpha Phi whether it includes letters or not. As Alpha Phis, we already know that our organization is made up of quality women with outstanding character—let’s make sure that the rest of the world sees us that way, too!
Use the hashtag #RSM on Twitter to tell us your Real Sorority Moves.
Maria Opatz is a collegiate member at Drake (Gamma Omicron).