Her dress? Shein. His shoes? Steve Madden. Her earrings? Kendra Scott. She is one of hundreds of women wearing summer dresses and platform sandals walking around campus this weekend hoping to get an offer from the sorority of her dreams.
As the Purdue Sororities open their doors to new members, some current and former members have accused the Sorority Rush process of sexism and objectification from its participants.
Rush has a myriad of rules regarding appearance and behavior during the two week process, some of which may seem unreasonable to some.
“It’s frustrating when we are taught ‘fratiquette’, which explains what it is or is not appropriate to bring to a fraternity to appear in a swarm of boys who have just come out of a basketball court,” said declared a member of the sorority.
The member, who will be referred to as “A,” requested to remain anonymous, fearing repercussions from other members of his household.
“Fratiquette” refers to a PowerPoint presentation shown to members of the household, outlining a set of rules that women must follow in social situations like parties.
âWe are not allowed to wear sweatpants or frats leggings,â she said. “It’s not something we’re in control of, but these rules exist.”
The social dress code is maintained throughout the year, but becomes particularly relevant during peak hours.
âWe are not allowed to party with our letters,â said Emma Wozniak, a junior at the College of the Liberal Arts and a member of Kappa Delta. âWhen we represent our house, we have a reputation to uphold. “
Partying is “trash”
Women are judged not only on what they wear for fraternities, but also on how they spend their nights during rush hour.
Abby, who was introduced to a sorority before she stepped down and didn’t want to share her last name, said women couldn’t be seen going to parties during the peak two-week process.
âYou will be considered vulgar for partying for the first couple of weeks,â Abby said. âYou don’t want those kinds of women in the house because they’re already messy. Who knows what kind of drama they will bring home.
Sororities are also discouraged from talking about partying during peak hours, and members are taught to avoid these questions, even if they are asked.
âWe have a values-based recruiting system, and I think not talking about parties helps ensure that we meet people who really match (house) values,â Wozniak said.
“A” said she thought the system was “dishonest”.
âWhy should we avoid questions about drinking and partying, but (fellowships) are encouraged to talk about these things? ” she asked. “Whoever’s in charge of this is really sexist.”
‘(It’s) just really objectifying’
The Sorority Rush process takes place over multiple weekends, with each round being based on a mutual selection process.
The first round is the open house, where each sorority submits a video highlighting their information and values. Every student in a hurry will watch these videos, pick their top 14 and talk to their representatives, said Emma Swain.
Swain, who is president of the Pan-Hellenic Association, said students choose eight sororities they like and then narrow them down further to their first two, while sororities do the same for potential new members.
On the other hand, the Director of Public Relations of the Interfraternity Council, Andrew Eichmeier, said that the fraternities have a more informal rushing process than the Pan-Hellenic Association.
âIt’s a lot more for the fraternities to know how they want to have their rush process and get their new members. It’s a lot less rigid with the schedule, âhe said.
‘A’ described the process as frustrating and objectifying.
âWe have to rate girls on a scale of one to three, which is really objectifying,â she said. “You must give them a grade based on character, presentation and advancement in the sorority on the basis of a short conversation.”
Abby also said the recruiting process was wrong.
âThere are certain phrases that you know you have to say they want to hear,â she said.
The notes are compiled together into a “document,” as some women called it, and sometimes women leave obscene comments on the notes.
âSome girls are so harsh, (they say things) ‘like that girl is a bitch’, ” A ‘said.
âThere is definitely an emphasis on the feedback you make, and we have training for that,â Wozniak said. “I heard there were some mean comments, and that is both unfortunate and unacceptable.”
The exhibitor asked several members, but could not obtain any of these documents.
Wozniak said that as a woman in a sorority, she had to follow a “traffic light” schedule during rush hour.
âThe red light means you can’t leave the house at all, that’s usually when they go through the list to determine who will get an invite,â Wozniak said.
âThere is no specific dress code for rushing,â she said. “But current and potential members are encouraged to dress a little more each turn, and members of a house are given specific colors to wear.”
Ultimately, most women end up wearing dresses of a similar style, and a few choose to wear jumpsuits.
In addition to dress requirements, new members are also encouraged to submit their curriculum vitae and cumulative grade point average. The GPA required for admission is a 3.0.
Women in a hurry should be aware of the smallest perceived problems they can cause.
âThere are so many little things you can be fined for, like wearing heels over 2 inches,â ‘A’ said.
Sororities are not allowed to give anything to potential new members for fear of being accused of “dirty haste”.
Dirty rushing refers to when a potential new member walks into a house knowing other members, is promised an offer without going through recruiting or receiving gifts to entice them to join the sorority.
âThe only thing women are allowed to go with is a tampon,â Abby said.
Sororities can receive heavy fines from their national sections for speeding and can even be dissolved.
Lack of transparency
Although it’s been around for decades, the recruiting process remains a mystery. The lack of communication is not helped by the fear women feel when talking about these issues.
Mary Schofield, a freshman at the College of Health and Humanities, said her experience of rushing was upsetting, but thrilling.
While speaking to a reporter, an older member of the sorority approached her and accompanied her throughout the interview. Schofield looked at the other woman, apparently in approval, before answering each question.
Two other sorority members who spoke to the exhibitor also requested to remain anonymous, fearing retaliation from their sororities.
Wozniak said her unconventional rushing process made her experience more authentic and helped her connect with the women in her household.
“I ended up giving up formal recruiting after the second round,” she said. “My goal was to find a group of people that I was really connected with, and I didn’t feel like I had been connected with anyone at the time.”
The ongoing open tendering, a process where sororities can talk to potential members after application day, was when Wozniak ended up joining his sorority.
âSince I wasn’t part of the formal stampede, I had more opportunities to talk to the girls and it helped me decide that I belonged to Kappa,â she said.
Not all members have had such a positive experience.
Abby, who called the process “cliquey” and “isolation,” said being in a sorority made it more closed off from the rest of the campus.
âI felt more isolated in my group than when I was alone in my room,â said Abby.
Despite the issues that women note, most say they are glad they rushed.
‘A’ said she made lifelong friends, despite her belief that Greek life is a broken system that can be fixed if people fight to change it.
âWe can make Greek life a truly inclusive system and a wonderful friendship system,â she said. âHe can be whatever he claims to be. But first, someone has to admit it’s flawed.