What outraged me about the article was not that sorority members are raped at an astonishing rate; nor the evidence of some fraternities’ criminal conduct and sororities’ submission to it.
Evidently, college women who wish to be part of sororities, are pressured to put themselves in risky situations that often lead to sexual violence, aided by excessive alcohol or the “date rape drug.” A sorority, seeking to increase its membership, works hard to be popular with fraternities even if it means their members’ self-sacrifice.
But what struck me more than anything was the fact that anyone would go against his or her better judgment and well-being just to be a part of a group!
Providing Amy (a made-up name) joins a sorority. Its leader urges the girls to go to a party with fraternity X. Amy has already attended a mixer with fraternity X, where she was pressured to drink to excess and where her girlfriend was slipped a “roofie” and raped. She knows the score. Will she have the courage to refuse to go, even if it costs her her friendships?
Many people are too afraid to hold their own, to be themselves, to fight for what they believe is right. They fail to realize that they have a right to be individuals, not a speck in a cloud of group dust. They compromise themselves just to be a part of something. In this case, that “something” clearly doesn’t have their best interests in mind!
Naturally, if you speak your mind, not everybody will like you. You may not be popular. You may even find yourself alone. But you will be yourself, uncompromised. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be me alone than pretend to be someone I am not, in a group. And before being a part of a group, a team or even a family, I am myself.
Dr Seuss says it best:
Today you are You,
That is truer than true.
There is no one alive
Who is Youer than You.
Exactly. You have your own individuality. That’s the personality and qualities that distinguish you from others. You are special. You are not like anybody else. The best you’ll ever be is YOU. You can improve you, but you’ll never be anything but an improved you. And I could only become a better me.
Individuality permits free thinking. And free thinking is at the root of all great inventions and change: Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, the Founding Fathers – the list goes on.
It is time we foster individuality. Young people grow up wishing to be “like”– like models, like movie stars, like the “popular” guy or girl at school. They want to “fit in.” Fit into what? A crazy society? What for?
Don’t do it. Foster individuality in others. Be an individual yourself. Don’t follow the herd. Just listen to Dr Seuss!