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Feminism

Hey Amy,

I just started Manifesta and I feel more and more "feminist" with every page I turn. Now I have a question. I am 21 years old and about to graduate from college. I am also in a sorority. I know that the sorority has done wonders for me and the other 80 women in it but what is the feminist take on women in sororities? Does membership in a sorority hinder women's advancement by perpetuating stereotypes or do you think they bring women
together in an important sororial bond?

Thanks for your opinion,

Mary

 

Dear Mary,

Jennifer and I just finished giving a lecture called: Can I Be A Feminist and Shave, Love My Boyfriend, Make Money, Get Married, Be Pro-Life? Your note made me realize that we should add on to this "and be in a sorority."

The general response to this question is yes! Feminism has somehow attained the reputation of saying "no" to things rather
than saying "yes." We somehow feel that engaging in these traditional female things cancels out our feminism, yet in reality they barely have anything to do with one another. For instance, when I get dressed or buy and expensive skirt or get a pedicure, I don't think about the feminist implications of this and I don't even think there are feminist implications of this. There would be if I was insisting that others had to do what I was doing in order to be valued or if my motivation was fitting in rather than feeling
good about doing these things.

I think these everyday dilemma's relate to your question and I certainly think that you can be a feminist and be in a sorority, in fact, I think that feminism is inherent to some sororities, where there is a commitment to social justice, volunteering, etc... and where women sharing their lives is a constant part of their lives. So I don't think that you should feel conflicted about this and in fact, I think that you should attempt to even maximize your sorority as a feminist place. Not that you have to let feminism take it over, but in general, I think you can ensure that the sororities aren't overlooked on campus and that they are seen as the place where things happen, not just teas and meetings.

I hope that there is something here for you to latch on to. And I hope that you can see that you shouldn't feel conflicted about your feminism and your membership in your sorority, but instead see these as one and the same.


—Amy

 

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