Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Mean Girls" or Marketing Sisterhood?

Sorority Rules at Cornell University

Okay so there is a lot of stuff flying around regarding Cornell University and Pi Bet Phi sorority.  The article that sparked my intrest is from Yahoo's front page and was written by a non-Greek, Ms. Jennifer Romolini.  (Yahoo, that was your first mistake.)  I have linked the article above. 

Read the Whole List from Pi Beta Phi Here

Now make your own assumptions, even take jabs at us ladies for it, but listen very carefully when I say that this is and will always be about putting your best foot forward during recruitment.  If you think it sounds ridiculous, think about all of the primping and poofing that our mothers taught us to do and the words "Easter dress" or "Christmas dress" that have been engraved into our minds beginning when we were toddlers.  Fashion is not a new subject for young women in America. 

The thing that irritates me the most about this whole situation is that people are angered at young ladies telling other young ladies what to wear.  Really?  Have you turned on the television lately?  If sorority women don't tell young women what to wear then perhaps Guiliana Ransic (E!) and Stacy London (What Not to Wear on TLC) will do it anyways. 

Do I care that the recruitment chair or advisor of this particular sorority told them not to wear watches?  Not at all.  It's a distraction during recruitment anyhow.  Does it bother me that they were told not to wear things unless they weighed 130 pounds or less?  Absolutely not, in fact I myself have wanted to say such things to other women in the grocery store.  Finally, do I find it odd that they were told not to wear things unless they could "pull them off?"  Hell no!  I cannot pull off a mini skirt, this is a simple truth.  So I don't wear a mini skirt. 

Now, in terms of the language that was used in the leaked outline of proper Pi Beta Phi attire, I find it amusing.  It is valley girl or mean girl lingo and I cannot help but laugh because it's irrelevant to the argument of whether or not what these girls are doing is wrong. 

What women of sororities do during these times is called marketing, nothing more and nothing less.  They are teaching their sisters how and when to put their best foot forward and if you thing it's snobbish or disturbing, then you are absolutely wrong. 

It teaches young women that manicures and pedicures are a treat and when you plan on shaking the hands of new acquantances all day, they are essential.  It reminds ladies that although your dye job is fantastic, roots will always catch up to you and they are one of the first things that people notice when they meet you.  More importantly, it guides young ladies to make proper attire choices for very precise situations.  Finally, it's about gently pointing out to a friend and sister that her make-up is a bit too much, or perhaps not enough.  Enhance your appearance and this will allow your personality  to shine above and beyond your outer shell. 

All of the above factors, as well as countless others about the fit or function of clothing, are relevant to them for the rest of their lives.  Business meetings.  Seminars.  Job interviews.  Etc.  A few added minutes to plot out your hair, make-up, and clothing choices can create an enticing appearance that (and here's that brutally honest part) that will open doors and create conversations that may have otherwise not have happened. 

So to the ladies of Pi Beta Phi,

     Keep on working out those wardrobe kinks...your members will be better for it in the future. 

Zeta Love,