Can I be a Sorority Woman and a Feminist, Too?

Annie Forrest, Theta Zeta, University of Virginia
Annie Forrest, Theta Zeta, University of Virginia

As Sigma Kappa women, we are lucky to have such strong-minded and passionate founders. My personal favorite (if it’s acceptable to have a favorite founder) is Ida Mabel Fuller Pierce. She said that she refused to “accept her sex as irrefutable condemnation to a subordinate position in life.”

How cool is that?! She had the foresight to know that a woman should be able to pick her own lot in life and the courage to not only understand that sentiment, but also express it.

As a sorority woman, I often feel pulled between two seemingly contradictory aspects of my identity–sorority woman and feminist. I have spent the last four years determining how these two areas work with one another and I have come to a conclusion: it is both possible and preferable to live at the intersection of sorority woman and feminist.

I have always been strong-minded. With a quick tongue when it comes to inequality and injustice, I tend to speak my mind regardless of the circumstances concerning women and our rights. It’s not just “Nobody puts Baby in the corner,” but “Nobody puts a woman in the corner” to me.

I spent my collegiate years studying psychology and women, gender and sexuality–a far cry from the typical majors that come to mind when the word “sorority” pops up in conversation. But during these past few years, I learned that,  just because some people discount sorority women, it does not mean that sorority women can’t be at the forefront of the women’s movement.

After all, who better to tackle women’s issues than strong-numbered groups of women themselves? As NPC, NPHC and MGC sorority women, we are mighty in both number and in spirit.

We understand what it’s like to come together and support indisputably important causes (like Sigma Kappa and Alzheimer’s disease research or Zeta Tau Alpha and breast cancer). We understand how to mold new members into future leaders, which is why so many sorority women are leaders beyond their collegiate days. We understand what it means to support one another and why sisterhood and camaraderie are crucial aspects of life as sorority women. We understand why women are strong, courageous, passionate and capable. We understand this because we are those women.

I invite all Sigma Kappa members, and all sorority women in general, to reflect on what makes a feminist. Because at the core, a feminist is simply a person who believes that women are equal to men in all regards. Not better and not worse, not more or not less, simply equal. Sorority women already believe in these ideals, which makes the answer to whether or not a woman can be in a sorority and also be a feminist a simple one: yes.

Sigma Kappa’s founders fought for the right to be heard as equals on the campus of Colby College. Let us, as Sigma Kappa women, also fight for the right to be heard and for women, both domestic and abroad, to be heard as well.

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