“Sorority Girls” Steps on ToesAuthor: dlemle | Filed under: BGSU, Local stories, Localizing story, Spring 2012, Student Contributor
By Dan Lemle
“Sorority Girls” Steps on Toes
Greek Life has been influencing countless individuals on university campuses across the nation for many years. Due to this, fraternities and sororities have developed their own norms and cultures, which some argue are under attack.
TLC’s show “Sorority Girls” follows five Americans as they try to establish Britain’s first-ever sorority. According to Greek Life members, the show relies on the stereotypes involved with sororities and has seemed to have only upset those involved with them here in the United States.
“After watching the show, it’s pretty clear that the producers didn’t do much research about actual sorority life,” said Rebecca Humberger, a sophomore at Bowling Green State University and member of the sorority Delta Zeta.
According to Humberger, the show involves women competing to join Sigma Gamma, which isn’t chartered with any council of Greek Life. In other terms, Sigma Gamma isn’t a real sorority that someone could actually join.
“They’re pretending. No sorority would allow a show to have creative right to use their letters,” said Jeff Kegolis, assistant dean of students in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Kegolis, who has been working with Greek Life for nearly six years, agreed that the show seemed to be falsely depicting what it’s actually like to be a member of a sorority.
“I was skimming the channels and came across the show. It seemed to be pretty ridiculous,” Kegolis said.
Emily Kaufman, 20, a physical therapy major, disagrees with the upset sororities and thinks the show isn’t doing any harm.
“I’m not in a sorority but I don’t think it needs to be taken that seriously. There are jokes and stereotypes for a lot of people,” said Kaufman.
According to a Greek Life Data Report for 2011, 1,510 students are involved with Greek Life at BGSU. Some of these members complain the show perpetuates stereotypes. Examples include the contestants needing to find a date for an event in a short amount of time or needing to dress and act a particular way.
“It seems like the show is a cross between “Survivor” and “Jersey Shore”. No wonder people want to watch it,” said Dan Shoemaker, a professor in the Department of Popular Culture.
According to Shoemaker, stereotypes are seen throughout television because they’re easy to identify and understand. When used on television, stereotypes can have a satiric aspect.
TLC is highlighting the show as a way to show parallels in culture.
According to a press release from TLC, “Sorority Girls” explores if English tradition can mix with this American custom and all that comes with rushing to get in”.
“I understand why sorority girls are upset, but in the end, I don’t think it will really matter,” Kaufman said.
sorority-girls-videos (Video clips of “Sorority Girls”. Taken from TLC’s website, www.tlc.com)