Film & Media Studies Theory

Whitman College – FMS 387

Greek Domination




With bids coming out this past weekend, Greek life is on my mind right now.  But how many people have thought about how oppressive Greek life is on campus? Greek life is one of the most dominant groups on campus especially for social life.  Especially every weekend for people who go out to party (for those who have time).  The most consistent and people filled parties are at the fraternities.  Greek life stays in power as the dominant social group on campus by “negotiat[ing] oppositional voices on to a terrain which secures for the dominant groups a continued position of leadership” (Storey 93).  The majority of Whitman students are non-Greek and when it comes to the weekends, everyone is rushing to the Greek parties.  Why?  Primarily because of the free alcohol, drunk activities/games, dancing, and fun with friends.  Greek life holds the power over the weekend social life.

If people who were not a part of a sorority or fraternity were not able to go to these parties, they would likely respond with an increased negative view of the Greek system.  By allowing people independent of Greek affiliation to parties, Greek life is allowing people a small glimpse into the system.  Everyone is provided a brief look/opportunity to be Greek for a night.  However, while anyone can come to any party, they are constantly reminded (or put in their place) about how they are not full members of the dominant group primarily due to the time restriction.  By not opening until after eleven for those who are not part of the respective social club, Greek parties allow for people who are not a part of the dominant group to seem to be a part of the social life on campus while at the same time securing Greek dominance.

Another similar example of Greek domination is the ‘friend of the house’ program that each sorority or fraternity has.  Each of these small exclusive groups has people who want to be a part of it.  If someone befriends enough members or shows enough dedication, they are rewarded with a bigger glimpse of what it is like being a small part of the dominant group yet still without being a full member.  Greek life has created a perfect hegemony in which they provide a little for people who want in, but still dominate over them.


2 thoughts on “Greek Domination

  1. What about all campus parties or date functions? Date functions especially secure a more dominant position for the Greek system since you have to be asked to go to one before you can even show up. All campus parties include everyone but for the most part there is no alcohol present. Is this more inclusive or less inclusive? Without the added benefit of free alcohol during your brief glimpse of the Greek system does the all campus party really secure a more dominant position for Greek life

  2. It is interesting that you bring up Greek life on Whitman campus as a dominant group – particularly because it seems to be less dominant than larger colleges with similarly bigger Greek systems. You make several points as to how Greek life can be both inclusive and exclusively dominant simultaneously, also saying that it is shoved in students faces. Do you think Greek life as a whole perceives itself as dominant? If so, are they consciously trying to maintain this dominance or just allowing for their respective groups to have time with themselves/the people they chose to associate themselves with?

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