Obiter Dictum

Woman's virtue is man's greatest invention --- Cornelia Otis Skinner

Monday, April 24


So, I saw this book on KP's blog and I was intrigued. Like her, I was a member of a sorority as an undergrad. Also, like her, I deactivated during undergrad. I had some pretty interesting things happen both before I pledged and after initiation. I loved the underhanded way the author of this book went about getting her information. It wasn't exactly battlefield journalism, but it was close....or it would have been if they had discovered her little deception.

I did like hearing the secrets, I admit. I know people take that stuff seriously and its probably a hanging offense to some people in some places, but I never really did. I always thought our ritutal was a little.......lame. Maybe we just didn't have the good ones. Parts of it were cool, definitely, but I thought initiation was a little bit of a letdown.

I went to a small school. Tiny, perhaps, is more accurate, so I had quite a different Greek experience than the girls in this book. And, if we would have had black sororities on our campus, I probably would not have joined the sorority that I did. I'm not going to go so far as to say that black girls and white sororities do not mix, but.......the experience of Sabrina in this book was very close to my own experience.

We also didn't have sorority "houses" on our campus (did I mention how small it was?) so that was an entire element from the book that I have no experience with. We had did have "mixers" with fraternities, but mostly the sororities and fraternities paired off in a more informal way. Our sorority pretty much dated guys in one fraternity, or else we dated GDIs. It wasn't that we didn't like the guys in the other frats (I actually preferred ATOs to our "unofficial" official fraternity) but that's just how it worked out.

I guess I thought the book was pretty accurate, even while it didn't (or couldn't) tell the whole experience. There are reasons why sororities have survived, thrived even, over the years. These women must get something out of it, and, in the South at least, it seems to be a life long committment. That part of the story, the getting something out of it part, is missing from this book. I understand that it probably wasn't her main purpose or focus, but its conspicuous in its absence.

She talked a bit about the black Greek system (also not her focus) and I thought it was very telling how one black woman kept trying to rush the white Greek system (or NPC Greeks) at either U of Alabama or Arkansas (I don't have the book in front of me) and kept being rejected because of her race. (confirmed by one of the officials at the school.) Why would she keep trying is my question. Time to move on. She did end up starting her own sorority which seemed to be going well as was multi-racial. I don't know. Seems like a waste of time to me.

Anyway, I thought the book was informative and very one sided. There are all kinds of different subplots in this book that it would take me forever to analyze in depth. It made for good reading, though. In fact, I would say that this book reads a lot like fiction. Women can be mean, cruel individuals. More than a couple times, I wanted to slap a few of the chicks in this book, including the one who decided to sleep with one of her professors.


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