Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities

{ Tuesday, October 20, 2009 }
I recently bought the highly-acclaimed and controversial book Pledged, and upon reading it, felt absolutely compelled to share the wealth of first-hand information the daring, page-turning narrative brought to the table. Author Alexandra Robbins spent a year undercover with four sorority girls to pen Pledged, with the result being alarmingly eye-opening and insightful. With all names and sorority chapters being re-named to protect those who were followed and the college from exploitation, Robbins paints a vivid image of Sabrina, Amy, Caitlin, and Vicki's lives in the "Alpha Rho" and "Beta Pi" sorority houses. From Vicki's habit of rarely waking up in her own bed, Caitlin's date rape and ever-present hostility toward her boyfriend, to Amy's inability to hold a steady boyfriend and Sabrina's secret relationship with her English professor, I had to constantly stop to remind myself that Pledged was no soap opera; it was life in the raw.

Between each chapter, Robbins supported her observations with concrete evidence and background research of the dark side of Greek life. Sorority sisters admitted to abusing illegal drugs, drinking to the point of passing out, and using secret test files kept for cheating to achieve the grades they desired.

"Test files are a part of the benefits of being Greek," a Kappa Kappa Gamma at Texas
Christian University has said. "After all, we pay to be Greek."

The most alarming parts of the narrative, in my opinion, were those describing annual hazing and initiation rituals during the pledge period. Girls were publicly humiliated, forced to commit lewd sex acts, asked to consume large amounts of alcohol, and physically abused by older sorority sisters, all for the purpose of being accepted by their peers.

"Pledges of Kappa Kappa Gamma at DePaw University were strongly encouraged to drink alcohol at a fraternity party and then taken to a room full of sorority sisters who held them down despite their screams, pulled their jeans down to expose their hips, and branded them with a lit cigarette."

Pledged was absolutely impossible to stop reading until I was at the bottom of the very last page. I felt as though I had been submerged into a secret world of popularity that I'd never taken much notice to before. Being a freshman at a local community college, Greek life is not available on my school's campus; therefore, I've had no first-hand exposure to it. Pledged gave me insight into sororities, and I feel I will make a more well-informed decision upon whether to rush or not next fall when I transfer to a larger, 4-year state university to complete my major. I want to get involved in a good community service program and develop close and lasting friendships, which is a widely-known attribute of Greek life. I yearn to remain open-minded about the Greek system, although I have my hesitations. I know that the morals and ethics of sororities vary by chapter, and no two chapters are alike. Some girls feel that their decision to pledge gained them the best friends of their life, while others regret taking the plunge into the sisterhood. As my close friend and Kappa Delta sister once told me, "I've made some wonderful friends, but some are just plain jerks."



yiqin; said...

Ah I should check it out :D

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