Gender Stereotypes Upheld by Greek Recruitment

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Recruitment for fraternities and sororities at Case Western Reserve University have very different rules, practices and focuses. Sororities go through what is called “Formal Recruitment,” where women must sign up to participate in a four day “mutual selection” process. This entails a very detailed list of policies and regulations that must be studied and is strictly enforced. Fraternity recruitment encompasses a three-week period in which men get the chance to get to know one another and determine which chapter they believe will be the best fit for themselves. This decision is based on events they choose to attend, which are hosted by the various chapters.

The difference in recruitment procedures between men and women can be noticed immediately upon visiting the Greek Life website and reading descriptions of each. The first paragraph describing fraternity recruitment includes the excitement of making new friends and eating a lot of good food while the first paragraph of sorority recruitment explains when recruitment takes place and why spring recruitment is necessary to allow for an adjustment to college life.

First of all, why do women need the time to adjust to college and men don’t? Second, recruitment at CWRU takes pride in the fact that it is “values based,” meaning it is focused on attracting members whose values are aligned with those existing in the organization. But what about eating a lot of “good food” has to do with being “values based,” especially when sororities are forced to follow strict guidelines on what food they’re even allowed to serve? Third, why does the sorority recruitment page include nothing about the excitement of joining a chapter but includes a seven-page policy and procedure document, a bill of rights and new member responsibilities document? And the argument can go both ways: Why are these documents not included for fraternity recruitment, which instead focuses on a “relaxed setting” and a “feeling of belonging”?

The majority of students going through recruitment are freshmen, with a limited number of sophomores and juniors participating. Immediately upon arrival, impressionable new students at CWRU experience the gender divide of recruitment firsthand. Women watch men go through fall recruitment where they have three weeks to “hang out,” pick and choose events to attend and participate in fun events that allow them to bond naturally and get a realistic feel for whether or not they would be a good fit. Men then watch women prepare for sorority recruitment, where there is a predetermined dress code, list of recommended questions to ask and preparatory workshops with the “do’s and don’ts” of recruitment.