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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Column: Greek system pairings should not be gender-based

I don’t understand why these pairings need to follow the heteronormative structure in society.

April 28, 2017

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

Bizzy Emerson is a junior journalism major at MU. She writes about feminism and pop culture as an opinion columnist for The Maneater.

With Greek Week in full swing, I couldn’t help but notice: Why aren’t sororities paired with other sororities (and fraternities with other fraternities) during Greek competitive weeks?

The fraternity-sorority pairing during Homecoming and Greek Week has always been tradition. However, I find it outdated. It prevents Greek chapters from potential bonding with chapters of the same gender.

This isn’t implying that every pairing doesn’t have the potential to be successful. Every Greek chapter at MU has special strengths that make them a powerful competitor. I just don’t understand why these pairings need to follow the heteronormative structure in society.

Furthermore, I strongly believe pairing sororities with other sororities would foster positive female relationships between chapters on campus. Likewise, these women-women pairings would help to deconstruct the notion that women need men, or vice versa, to be successful.

I personally would love to work alongside another sorority during Homecoming. I feel it would aid in cultivating deeper relationships between PHA chapters, as well as promote unity among women working toward a common goal. While I’ve enjoyed working with fraternities in the past, this is would be an interesting and dynamic change that would make Homecoming and Greek Week totally unique and new experiences.

On the flip side, I could see how this shake-up in the Greek community could cause animosity and pit men against women in competition. To avoid this potential gender battle, I think Panhellenic Association chapters should have the ability to preference fellow PHA chapters, while also still having the option to preference Interfraternity Council chapters if so desired. This simply gives the Greek community the opportunity to align themselves with whomever they feel comfortable.

Although many think that, when it comes to house decorations or float building during Homecoming, sorority-fraternity pairings lessen the burden on sororities when there are fraternity men around to lift heavy scaffolding or have pick-up trucks that can transfer construction materials from location to location. But these are situations and tasks that can be easily completed by women. It is harmful, disrespectful and just ridiculous to think otherwise.

I fully understand that these competitions are extremely trivial and don’t really speak to MU’s campus as a whole. But, making bold statements and dismantling a tradition that has existed since the origin of Greek Life at MU would be impactful. This would send a greater message of inclusivity to a culture that often seems exclusive. MU’s Greek system should consider this when going into the Homecoming season this upcoming school year.

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