TED Conversations

Alexander Koch

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Is it possible to alleviate the cultures of chauvinism and sexism within college fraternities? If so, how, and what will come of it?

Katz does a thorough job of discussing the cultures of "victim-blaming," chauvinism, and sexism that pervade many traditionally all-male organizations and groups, using the example of sports teams as (traditionally) a breeding ground for male hegemony. How does this idea relate to college fraternities in America, which many feel share a good amount of the characteristics that Katz bemoans as conducive to such bigoted attitudes? Finally, would it be possible to alleviate or mitigate the cultures of chauvinism within fraternity life, or are they completely endemic of the structure of college fraternity life? Considering the statistics regarding economic and ivory-tower social success of elite college fraternities versus their classmates, what changes might we expect to see in the upper, more established, and often less-permeable classes of gender construction if such a change were possible?


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  • May 31 2013: If fraternaties are offensive to you - don't join one For females - don't join a sorority. These are voluntary organizations.
    • Jun 1 2013: But I think you miss the point being that these institutions teach or promote "anti-us" beliefs and feelings which affect a persons behavior throughout life.
      • Jun 2 2013: I've never belonged to a college social fraternity, but so many things do that including churches, political groups, corporations, states, etc.
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          Jun 3 2013: I probably should have explained this fact in the first place but I purposefully didn't because I wanted differing perspectives from what I would have received. I am an undergrad and an active member of a fraternity at my college. I can say with absolute certainty that the kind and magnitude of social interaction, let alone the duration, within a college fraternity is unlike any, the exception probably being some form of commune. Not only are these supposed to be the "budding" and defining years of our life, but unlike political groups, churches, corporations, etc, one lives among these same people for the better part of that defining period. In this regard, the "us"ing and the "them"ing occurs to an extreme that I and no one else I have met has ever experienced.

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