Thursday, July 16, 2009
If you're a twentysomething lady on Facebook, you've probably seen your friends playing "Sorority Life". I ignored the Paris-Hilton looking application for weeks and months until, in a weak moment, I signed up and made an avatar. I was suspicious at first, but at first glance it was innocuous enough. You make friends, socialize, etc - all of the superficial purposes of a sorority.
But then I went to the main page. Right up top, guess what's emphasized:
Yup. Consume, consume, consume. College campuses are about buying and style. Learning is not mentioned.
You show affection for your friends through Farrah Feathered Hairstyles, perfume, and ugly trendy bags.
All of the social events and ideas of social standing are based on how much "glam" you have. Guess what glam is?
If you guessed "traditional/stereotypical markers of femininity that inevitably costs money", you get a cookie! Spend, spend, spend, ladies. Having an iPod is the only way you can socialize:
You are overseen by a House Mom, who gives you Brownie Points that are somehow different from other forms of cash. Though they're apparently equal to actual cash:
The application's construction of female friendships and interactions is just as disturbing. How do you climb socially?
Attack other women. Duh.
And how are the winners of these fights chosen?
Whose friends have the most material goods. Duh.
There are a couple of good points. You have to have a job, and there's a bank you can put money into (though it's difficult to use and there doesn't seem to be any purpose for that facet). There’s an emphasis on confidence, but it’s mainly used to attack other women. But everything, even social events, are not based around female friendship. They're about fighting sisters and using other women as status markers - it's not the quality of your relationships, but the quantity. You don't interact with your friends in a meaningful way, but use them to get material goods.
I was in a sort of sorority in college, and I loved having a woman-focused atmosphere. I'm not willing to write sororities off completely. But this isn't the direction they need to go. "Sorority Life" is a sick way to socialize women into believing they need more, more, more to have friends and have fun.
What's something on Facebook you object to? How do you feel about sororities?