Gutierrez: Why I decided to go through recruitment

Pallas Gutierrez, Columnist

At the beginning of winter quarter, many first- and second-year students make what is framed by Hollywood as the most important decision in a college student’s life: whether or not they are going to join Greek life.

The portrayal of sororities by Hollywood is consistently negative. Elle Woods and her fellow Delta Nu sisters in “Legally Blonde” are focused entirely on getting married at the beginning of the film. In “Sorority Wars,” pledge week tears apart two best friends, and the sororities on campus have an intense, ongoing rivalry. The tagline of “Confessions of Sorority Girls” is “They’re smart. They’re pretty. And they’re all bad!” Because of this portrayal, my feelings toward Greek life before coming on campus were very negative, and I was certain I would not join. The “catty party girly-girl” image Hollywood presents as the average sorority member is not who I am, nor will it ever be.

But being on campus and meeting people who were active sorority members quickly changed my mind. All the sorority members I met at NU were confident, accomplished, kind people, and they convinced me to go through the recruitment process.

Another reason I decided that going through recruitment would be good for me was my realization of how many values sororities have in common with Girl Scouts. I was a Girl Scout until I graduated high school, and I loved having a space that I could share with my other girl friends to study, work on our leadership skills, volunteer for good causes and just relax together. As we got older, more girls quit the program until there were only two of us left. I didn’t realize how much I missed that supportive environment until I was on campus.

I was still nervous going into the recruitment process this week. My relationship with my gender is complicated; I’ve never matched the typical conceptions of femininity, but I don’t fit into masculine constructs either. When I dress up for formal events, I love to wear makeup, but I also seriously considered wearing a suit to my senior prom.

Although it was not the experience I had during the recruitment process, I do recognize that Greek life can feel exclusive of trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people. From the beginning of the recruitment process, the definition that the Panhellenic Association provides for potential new members includes “gender non-conforming or female” students, and several of the sororities belonging to the Multicultural Greek Council use gender-neutral language, such as muxeres and Latinx. My worries of being rejected because of my relationship with gender proved quickly to be unfounded. Everyone who talked to me at the different recruitment events reminded me of why I wanted to join in the first place — they were intelligent, put-together and incredibly kind.

Despite my preconceived notions of Greek life and my complex relationship with being a woman, I am excited to join a sorority. I love my two brothers and all my guy friends, but I realized how much I missed having a space for femme people to celebrate each other’s accomplishments, comfort each other at low points, work together and, most importantly of all, be sisters.

A. Pallas Gutierrez is a Communication freshman. They can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.