Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

My topic- satirizing groups

Posted by erinoestringer on May 3, 2013

For my paper I have decided to look at the satirizing of the Greek community on college campuses. We’ve all seen movies like Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. There is the role of the elitist group that runs the campus and gets the shoe in from their dad to some job after college, or the group parties their way through college and doesn’t care about their education.Why do we play in to these images? What does that say about our culture? In my paper I discuss how this shows the roles of the villains/under dogs, depending on the portrayal. When Greek organizations are stereotyped as elitist and stuck up, they make a perfect villain. When they are seen as the underdogs (the bottom tier organization on their campus, for example) they become relatable. Since there are these two aspects, and Greeks are not just universally viewed one way, it shows that these satirical media portrayals have much more to do with filling character roles than attempting to show realistic college feuds between the greek and non-greek.

One of the more popular portrayals on Greek culture today comes from TotalFratMove.com. This is a site ran by graduated fraternity and sorority members, meant for undergrad Greeks. The site has branched off into all social media outlets, created clothing lines, books, and is currently making a movie. The image this site portrays is that of the rich and privileged, drunk yet successful. They play up being better than the rest of the universities, having more fun, dating better looking people, and getting better jobs after. The site is also seemingly geared towards the best chapters on campuses. “Bottom Tier” organizations are looked down upon almost as harshly as non-greeks.

The site is often criticized for its portrayals, since that image of Greeks is not completely accurate and not appreciated by many. (Both in-group and out-group alike.) But the site its self describes its self as satirical. Why do its followers play into it? In my paper I discuss that this has much more to do with our culture’s desire for this lifestyle than anyone thinking this is realistic. Who wouldn’t like to rage through college, have excessive amounts of money, be considered the best of the best, and leave college on your yacht to take over your shoe-in job as CEO for the family company? Its ridiculous, unrealistic, and a SATIRE of what Greek culture really is. 

I chose this topic because it has always interested me. I am a member of a sorority, but I am also a first generation college student. I pay for college on my own, I work two jobs, and I am not the sandwich-making stereotype TFM.com makes for sorority women. I wanted to look at where these stereotypes come from and why they have lasted so long. I did NOT want to persecute the Greek stereotype, nor defend Greeks against them. I tried to take an unbiased look at the satirizing of fraternities and sororities, why it has come to be, and what that says about our culture.



One Response to “My topic- satirizing groups”

  1. Sam Ford said

    This is another paper in which I think you inserting yourself into your writing could be quite valuable. It is really your own story, and your own relationship to being “Greek,” that has driven your interest in studying and reacting to the way Greek culture is covered in society. Centering your focus on TotalFratMove.com, while referencing some other representations of fraternities and sororities in popular culture throughout your piece, seems a good way to shed light on how these stereotypes work. I’m especially intrigued by your point that these portrayals of Greek culture are much less about really understanding or representing sororities and fraternities but often instead about the ways in which aspects of fraternities and sororities represent stereotypical roles the narrative calls for…the rich kids…or the lovable underdogs…etc.

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