THE BLOG

Explaining Feminism to a Frat Boy

03/31/2015 12:47 pm ET | Updated May 31, 2015

Students in every level of schooling are often assigned the extremely basic task of defining terms. As a person who has been going to school for pretty much her entire life, I'd like to say that I've mastered the art of the simple definition.

Also important to mention that I'm pretty sure boys go to school too, and I'm pretty sure that they are capable of learning and understanding definitions.

Except for that one word. Yeah, you know what word I'm referring to.

Feminism (dun dun duh).

The definition of feminism is the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. Pretty basic, right? And yes that is a direct quote from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, featured in Beyoncé's song, "***Flawless".

As a Greek myself, when talking to fraternity men, or really just men in general, the topic of feminism sometimes comes up. And the reaction to me identifying as a feminist isn't always particularly positive.

Feminism is an undeniably hot topic. Particularly at my school, San Diego State University, which has been recently plagued with sexual assault scandals. These scandals have resulted in an arrest, a fraternity getting kicked off campus, and the temporary suspension of Greek life at SDSU.

But this problem isn't exclusive to SDSU. All over the country, Greek life has come under fire, with the alleged UVA rape, and scandals at Penn State and many more.

And sure it would be great to say that this is just a series of unfortunate events, but
these events are interconnected. There is a culture that perpetuates these problems.

A lot of people think that Greek life is the problem, and that's why Greek life has come under pretty heavy fire recently.

Greek life isn't the problem. A rapist is going to be a rapist whether or not he's in a frat.

The problem is feminism. Or more specifically, a general lack of respect for the term, the movement and people who label themselves as feminists.

It's not the fraternities. It's the men, fraternity or not, who don't respect women as people.

But also, it's the fact that many men just don't understand that feminism does not entail hating men, fraternity culture or striving for women's superiority.

It's about equality. You're a feminist if you believe that women shouldn't be second-class citizens because of their gender. Unless you are anti-equality, you're a feminist. Sorry. Call yourself a humanist all you want, but technically, you're a feminist.

The main point I'm trying to make is that many men are technically feminists. They believe in the equality of the sexes. But they aren't willing to call themselves feminists.

And that's what I'm confused about. Is it just the negative connotation of the word that creates such venom? Because it's really dumb to disagree with the word and agree with the idea. But more importantly, not acknowledging the legitimacy of the term feminism delegitimizes the cause behind it.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a problem exclusive to frat boys. It's unfair to stereotype an entire group based on the actions of a few. There are plenty of non-Greek affiliated misogynists out there, just like there are plenty of great Greek guys.

As a Greek myself, I know that Greeks are held more accountable, and our actions are made more public. As we've seen repeatedly in recent months, society as a whole has a problem with the Greek system and its treatment of women.

There are undeniable elements of the Greek system that perpetuate misogyny, and I'm not going to defend them. The Greek system is far from perfect. But neither is society.

We should instead have a problem with the misogynist elements of society as a whole. Like how women make 77 cents on a man's dollar, like how 1 in 5 women are likely to be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and maybe just white male privilege in general.

A misogynist is going to be a misogynist whether he's in a fraternity or not. We should instead work on fixing the problem at its root, and teach young men what feminism actually means. The concept behind feminism is pretty simple. Men should not be afraid of the word if it's something that they believe in.