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Inside Greek U.: Fraternities, Sororities, and the Pursuit of Pleasure, Power, and Prestige

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One in ten American college students joins a fraternity or sorority, and Greek social organizations produce a disproportionately large percentage of power brokers in business and politics. Statistics show that while these future leaders are on campus, they are much more likely than non-Greek students to engage in binge drinking and to be either the perpetrators or victims of sexual assault.

 

In Inside Greek U., Alan D. DeSantis takes an in-depth look at the lessons that Greek organizations teach their members about gender, drawing on evidence gathered in hundreds of focus-group sessions and personal interviews and from his years of experience as a Greek faculty advisor. Inside Greek U reveals a Greek culture that imbues its members with the sense that “real men” must be unemotional, promiscuous, violent, and aggressively masculine, while “nice girls” should be nurturing, passive, domestic, and purely feminine. These rigid formulations contribute to maladaptive behaviors and beliefs, such as eating disorders, body image distortions, homophobia, and date rape and other sexual misconduct.

 

Inside Greek U. aims to reform the Greek system rather than tear it down or sanction contempt for its members. DeSantis identifies narrow definitions of gender that impede Greek students’ intellectual and emotional development and seeks to broaden these definitions, thereby expanding the range of acceptable choices available to fraternity and sorority members before and after graduation.

 

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