Ritualistic elitism rings in new year

Megumi Rierson, staff writer

Recruitment season is upon us, which means the annual battle of the elitists commences in full swing. Every year around this time, Whitman students bunch their collective panties and prepare themselves for the showmanship of the everlasting conflict between Greeks and independents. For a few weeks in the fall, the student body agrees to disregard nuance and reason in favor of participating in an overdramatized battle of social groups between a bunch of rich kids in Birkenstocks who wear Greek letters and a bunch of rich kids in Birkenstocks who wear don’t wear Greek letters.

This year’s showdown is shaping up to be even more of a nail-biter than the last. Last Friday, one hour before the beginning of sorority recruitment, first-year women received hand-delivered letters urging them not to participate in Greek Life at Whitman. One of the most striking aspects of the letter was the group of signatories. It was signed largely by independent women but also by some independent men, the resident authority figures on the first-year female experience. Though the letter attempted to dissuade students from both fraternity and sorority rush, the timing and distribution made it clear that the target audience was the one most in need of a healthy dose of condescension: first year women. As we all know, the shape of female brains makes it difficult to form complex opinions and thoughtfully consider multiple perspectives on controversial topics such as sorority recruitment. Thus, it seems only natural that men who have never occupied the experience of a first-year woman and have never been through sorority rush would deem it necessary to bestow their wisdom upon the newest potential tributes in Whitman’s “Elitism Hunger Games.”

“This is a critical time for us,” one sorority member said, “It’s the time when first-years decide whether they want they want to enjoy the social exclusivity of Greek life or the social exclusivity of the Climbing Club, the OP, Res Life, Varsity Sports, Club Sports, IM Sports, Acapella groups, poems club, etc.”

The letter expanded on this list of clubs on campus in which first years could participate instead of the Greek system. The list was particularly helpful considering the long-standing policy of pledged first-years being locked into sorority-specific dungeons and getting cut off from non-sorority contact immediately upon distribution of bids as they begin the rigorous training for next year’s crusade. First year women truly owe the authors and signatories of this letter a debt of gratitude for saving them from the horrors of a female-dominated space run by supportive, competent women who are involved in and leaders of the very clubs they suggest as alternatives to Greek Life.

Hopefully this year’s festivities prove to be as tepid in their results as previous years and we all go back to milling around our respective, carefully constructed bubbles. When you peel back the layers of frockets, monogrammed Patagonias and Blundstones that divide us, it’s clear that we are more similar than different in our shared trust fund heritage.