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Southern Girl Academy: Sororities

Southerners LOVE secrets and the South is certainly full of them; from the trunk of Great Grandfather’s Confederate money that’s still in the basement (because you still never know if you might need it,) to the still your daddy has deep in the woods.  Ladies get in on keeping secrets as well.  We have the secrets to our families’ recipes (Only last week I was given the recipe to my grandmother’s banana bread) and the secrets of our sororities.  Any Southern girl of “breeding” joined at sorority while at college.

The names sororities generally consist of two or three Greek letters, often the initials of a Greek motto, which may be secret.  Each group as her own letters, symbols, crest, passwords and grip.  These are not revealed to you until you go through the secret initiation ceremony.  This usually occurs several after several weeks of “pledging.”  But before you stop reading because you’re now positive that Greek life is portrayed exactly in the movie Animal House, know that it’s a little different for women

Choice of sorority is crucial.  It begins long before college.  For me it began in junior high school – probably before.  My grandmother – the quintessential Southern aristocrat – would drive me along Sorority Row at the University of Alabama and tell me to which houses I was a legacy (all of them).  Legacies are daughters, granddaughters, or sisters of a member of the sorority. Many southern sorority women are part of a longstanding legacy tradition within the sorority.  She wanted me to attend there so badly she could spit (if she ever did such a thing).

Much to her chagrin and dismay I attended college in Arkansas where no legacies were to be had for me.  After receiving an invitation to join a sisterhood, later, my job became enlightening the new members on the history of our illustrious organization.  Along with the founders, purpose motto and creed, I taught new members about the finer points of pouring your beer in a glass before you drink, and not wearing your sorority letters to a “kegger.”  I always stressed that a lady only makes the paper unless she’s “wed, bred, or dead.”  After about 8 weeks they were initiated and finally knew the secrets of our sisterhood.  Of course many new initiates celebrated this event with copious amounts of alcohol.

Sure there is still the notion of fanatical loyalty, conformity, hazing and browbeating, but that was not my experience.  There was however a fair amount of partying, husband hunting and connection building.   For the guys, you can forget about the topless pillow fights and midnight hot girl on girl experimentation – or can you???  I enjoyed my time as a collegiate in a sorority.  And even today if you ask me the secrets of my group, I wouldn’t tell you!  Secrets are sacred in the South!

Anne Cadle is an alumnae of Zeta Tau Alpha fraternity for women.  Despite a freakish inability to make the most basic of Southern drinks, iced tea, she still considers herself a good girl from the south.  As the daughter of an Army Colonel she can drink you under the table and give you a cussin’ to make a sailor blush.  However, she’s also the daughter of a debutante, so she has the manners and up bringing not to do such a thing.  She blogs about her slice of the South.  You can stop by anytime for some store bought iced tea or her favorite beverage, Chardonnay.


2 Responses

  1. […] Southern Girl Academy: Sororities (southerngirlacademy.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] Southern Girl Academy: Sororities (southerngirlacademy.wordpress.com) […]

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