Walking into a Southern university, such as Ole Miss, seems to be a daunting place for young women’s reputations. Not only are these girls away from home for the first time; they are also entering a realm of Southern culture, tradition, and gender roles. In the South, it is inconceivable that a young woman would enter into sexual relations with a man before she is married. At college, on the other hand, sexuality runs rampant across the campus, and abstinence is no longer the only form of birth control.
As the girls evolve during their time at the university, some begin entering into sexual relationships with their male counterparts. Due to the lack of sexual education in high school, not all students are aware of the repercussions of unprotected sex. While the student health center does offer birth control and condoms, many students do not utilize this area to learn about sex and health. So, when that time of the month comes around, some girls are shocked when their monthly visitor does not arrive.
What does a girl do when she is late? Does she call her parents? Does she tell the boy? Or maybe she turns to a trusted friend, a fellow member of her sorority. It is not a conversation that is common in sororities, but it does happen. When a sister tells you that she is pregnant, there is no judgment, there is no stigma, there is only love and understanding. To the outside world, sororities can seem like cliques, or groups of bitchy girls, or a place where cookie-cutter girls are desired. But this is untrue. Sororities are a group of girls who put aside their differences to help one another and make their college experience something to remember. A sorority is a support system for young women, which is why sorority sisters are sometimes the only people a girl trusts with her problems.
I first found out my friend “Serena” was pregnant after she had gone to Memphis. By going to Memphis, Serena had had an abortion. It is a phrase that girls use when discussing an impending abortion. By crossing the state line, girls have the opportunity to take matters into their own hands and choose whether or not they want to be mothers in college. The first person Serena told was her best friend, a fellow sorority sister. Unlike a parent, there was no scolding. Unlike a boy, there was no blame. With a sorority sister, there was an open ear, a hand to hold, and somebody there to wipe away the tears.
With the stigmas surrounding abortion, it is hard to conceive that Southern girls are proponents for pro-choice. Not all girls support abortions, but being a part of a sorority gives girls a network of support. I have had a few friends that have had abortions. All of the girls have changed in some way because of this traumatic ordeal, but the one thing they have in common is that they all had a sister to confide in. When the outside world views sorority girls, they sometimes see them as trivial women with no concerns outside of fraternity boys and formals. What the outside world doesn’t see is a group of women that are able to find a source of strength with a group of people that have joined together in the name of sisterhood. Without sororities, my friends would have been unable to get an abortion. When big choices need to be made, it is vital to have someone you trust by your side, and what better person than a sister?