Throughout your college experience you have no doubt noticed countless representations of so called “Greek Life” on TV and in the movies. Some of these representations, such as “Old School,” are incredibly entertaining. Others, such as the vaginally inclined “Greek,” are about as accurate as a Disney Channel sitcom set in Darfur. Regardless, these representations all have one common theme. They don’t come close to what being in a fraternity is really like. I’ve done some major research (by that I mean I read Wikipedia and IMDB) and came up with a few of the more common (and obnoxious) misrepresentations.
For some reason the most legendary part of the fraternity process is completely underplayed in most movies and TV shows. Pledging becomes less about the mental and physical anguish, and more about the hilariously awkward situations. Sure it makes for better TV, but it also convinces every overconfident high school prick watching that they’re going to walk into the fraternity house doors to the actives chanting their name. At least those dickholes are the most fun to haze.
Pledging is a lot harder, and in retrospect actually a lot funnier than many films can convey. A couple of pledges stealing a monkey and letting it loose during a banquet at the Dean’s house is kind of funny, sure, although at this point it’s a little cliché. But you can’t beat the awkward hilarity of walking into the school health center with 30 pledge brothers and throwing all the free condoms into pillow cases just because the pledge trainer was drunk and needed a condom. There’s no such thing as overkill when following the pledge trainer’s orders.
The length of the pledgeships in these shows and movies are equally ridiculous. Fuck in “Old School” pledging was only 21 days. Can you imagine? Most of us were praying for only ten weeks. Not even Frank the Tank could crush someone’s soul in a mere 21 days.
Extremely Slutty Girls
Much to my dismay, fraternity parties are not typically populated by Victoria’s Secret models in lingerie making out with each other while the brothers cheer with amazement, whipped cream bottles in hand. As nice as it would be to populate every party I’m at with high priced call girls (see also: desperate actresses), in the real world, sororities have a little she-devil known as the “Standards Chair.”
Real life sorority girls can still be slutty, as we all know too well, but the institution forces her to be a little more subtle with it. No more subtle than a quick trip to the fire closet would require anyway. But at least there’s still an iota of class involved damnit! The movie versions of sorority girls are either A) epic attention seeking sluts or B) the hot girl who is actually really smart because she reads obscure French literature and just wants a nice guy to have a meaningful relationship with. Do these girls really coexist in the same house? What is this chapter like? “Um I don’t want to be a buzzkill but the Omegas REALLY lost respect for us when Krystal started giving those orphans lapdances at their philanthropy.”
We Are All Retarded
So maybe the typical media view of the “frat boy” has a few things right. Yes, we binge drink to the point of catastrophic liver failure on a regular basis. Yes, we are extremely lax in our sexual attitudes. And, sure, we might snort a thing or two that has no business being in our nose. But I’m sorry Hollywood, we are not the idiots you make us out to be.
Fraternities consist of some of the smartest, most success driven men on campus, and to portray us as constant worthless “Van Wilder” alcoholics in every production is simply incorrect. I understand why you do it? It makes for easy jokes. Hollywood is after all the institution that gave us three Transformers movies and the future eyeball abortion known as The Three Stooges remake. But guess what? We absolutely control our individual campuses, from Student Government to Alumni Relations: we control it all. We run shit, and no matter how careless we are made to look on the silver screen we will continue to do so.