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  #1  
Old 03-04-2012, 07:50 PM
Wynter Wynter is offline
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Unhappy Tent Talk & "Bottom-Tier" Houses

Tent talk and "bottom" houses during recruitment are inevitable. There's no way to stop it, little way to control it. I mean, you can't control freedom of speech and you can't stop girls from forming opinions.

But it still really gets to me.

Mostly because tent talk is a form of group-think, and usually results in certain chapters hurting from an unfair, sensationalized reputation. It also results in certain chapters getting "dogpiled" with girls that want them, resulting in even more hurt feelings.

I'm basically just venting here, because I've seen a lot of things at my large, competitive Greek university that are quite difficult to watch. (I know similar things happen at less competitive, smaller schools as well). And it makes me wonder if there are ways to alleviate these problems.

At my school (which I will keep private for now to protect everyone's identity), chapter A, B and C are considered the "top tier" houses. During recruitment it often seems they're the ones that every girl has her heart set on, and they get talked up quite a bit. Now these chapters are, like the rest of the ones at my school, excellent and full of amazing women I am proud to call friends. They work their butts off to pull off an awesome recruitment and deserve to be popular. But I can't help but feeling uncomfortable when...

The "bottom tier" chapters suffer. It's not necessarily directly related to the popularity of A, B and C, but at the end of it I think it all has something to do with tent talk and group-think.

I'm not in a so-called "bottom tier" chapter (I really hate that term, but it's a term that is often used), but I have close friends in all of them. In my opinion they are unfairly stigmatized just because they aren't quite as "shiny" as the most popular houses on the surface. Like the rest of the sororities, they work hard, are super involved on campus and are full of beautiful, fun and friendly women.

I was a recruitment counselor last fall and witnessed some truly horrible things said. I was far from shocked or even surprised, but I couldn't help being miffed. Several PNMs in my group started bragging about getting invited back to A, B and/or C, and conversely putting down D, E and F (the "bottom" tiers), going as to far to criticize the sisters themselves and make fun of them. Despite my efforts to try and correct them gently, it continued and resulted in several grief-stricken PNMs confiding in me that they felt really bad about not getting the "houses they really wanted" and might drop out altogether.

What was strange was that before the houses became so stigmatized, these same girls in my group seemed to genuinely like (as far as I could tell...I could be mistaken) D, E and F, and I'd watched them come out of said chapters with huge smiles on their faces. I'd also heard them praising the so-called "bottom tier" chapters...but as soon as the real tent talk began and the "top groups" started getting formed, suddenly PNMs' opinions took an odd and sudden turn for the worse. And as a result, potential sisters for the "bottom chapters" with less girls would start to drop. At the same time, I witnessed some of the bragging PNMs getting cut from their top picks and dropping out as well.

Now I realize that maybe these PNMs weren't right for Greek life, as some of my friends have suggested...I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps the competitive recruitment process causes girls act out of character or feel like they're not themselves due to all the pressure. But regardless, I can't help feeling like tent talk and behind-the-scenes rankings are detrimental to Greek life in general.

Sorry for the essay! I just wanted to share my experiences and hear everyone's thoughts.
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2012, 07:59 PM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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Here's the thing with tent talk, no one cares until it's them.

Interestingly enough, Smallest Chapter That Everyone Makes Fun Of is usually talked about the most by the chapter that is just a little bit bigger than them. Generally not by the Top Dog chapters.

Slightly Larger doesn't usually see what Smallest does in terms of propping up their reputations. Ex: Girls can say, "I got a bid from Slightly Larger, but at least it's not Smallest."

Slightly Larger doesn't realize that if Smaller Chapter closes, someone else will become the low man on the totem pole, and it's most likely going to be them.
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2012, 08:03 PM
Wynter Wynter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSUViolet06 View Post
Here's the thing with tent talk, no one cares until it's them.

Interestingly enough, Smallest Chapter That Everyone Makes Fun Of is usually talked about the most by the chapter that is just a little bit bigger than them. Generally not by the Top Dog chapters.

Slightly Larger doesn't usually see what Smallest does in terms of propping up their reputations. Ex: Girls can say, "I got a bid from Slightly Larger, but at least it's not Smallest."

Slightly Larger doesn't realize that if Smaller Chapter closes, someone else will become the low man on the totem pole, and it's most likely going to be them.
Ugh, that's rough. It makes sense though.
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  #4  
Old 03-04-2012, 08:13 PM
Old_Row Old_Row is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wynter View Post
Tent talk and "bottom" houses during recruitment are inevitable. There's no way to stop it, little way to control it. I mean, you can't control freedom of speech and you can't stop girls from forming opinions.

But it still really gets to me.

Mostly because tent talk is a form of group-think, and usually results in certain chapters hurting from an unfair, sensationalized reputation. It also results in certain chapters getting "dogpiled" with girls that want them, resulting in even more hurt feelings.

I'm basically just venting here, because I've seen a lot of things at my large, competitive Greek university that are quite difficult to watch. (I know similar things happen at less competitive, smaller schools as well). And it makes me wonder if there are ways to alleviate these problems.

At my school (which I will keep private for now to protect everyone's identity), chapter A, B and C are considered the "top tier" houses. During recruitment it often seems they're the ones that every girl has her heart set on, and they get talked up quite a bit. Now these chapters are, like the rest of the ones at my school, excellent and full of amazing women I am proud to call friends. They work their butts off to pull off an awesome recruitment and deserve to be popular. But I can't help but feeling uncomfortable when...

The "bottom tier" chapters suffer. It's not necessarily directly related to the popularity of A, B and C, but at the end of it I think it all has something to do with tent talk and group-think.

I'm not in a so-called "bottom tier" chapter (I really hate that term, but it's a term that is often used), but I have close friends in all of them. In my opinion they are unfairly stigmatized just because they aren't quite as "shiny" as the most popular houses on the surface. Like the rest of the sororities, they work hard, are super involved on campus and are full of beautiful, fun and friendly women.

I was a recruitment counselor last fall and witnessed some truly horrible things said. I was far from shocked or even surprised, but I couldn't help being miffed. Several PNMs in my group started bragging about getting invited back to A, B and/or C, and conversely putting down D, E and F (the "bottom" tiers), going as to far to criticize the sisters themselves and make fun of them. Despite my efforts to try and correct them gently, it continued and resulted in several grief-stricken PNMs confiding in me that they felt really bad about not getting the "houses they really wanted" and might drop out altogether.

What was strange was that before the houses became so stigmatized, these same girls in my group seemed to genuinely like (as far as I could tell...I could be mistaken) D, E and F, and I'd watched them come out of said chapters with huge smiles on their faces. I'd also heard them praising the so-called "bottom tier" chapters...but as soon as the real tent talk began and the "top groups" started getting formed, suddenly PNMs' opinions took an odd and sudden turn for the worse. And as a result, potential sisters for the "bottom chapters" with less girls would start to drop. At the same time, I witnessed some of the bragging PNMs getting cut from their top picks and dropping out as well.

Now I realize that maybe these PNMs weren't right for Greek life, as some of my friends have suggested...I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps the competitive recruitment process causes girls act out of character or feel like they're not themselves due to all the pressure. But regardless, I can't help feeling like tent talk and behind-the-scenes rankings are detrimental to Greek life in general.

Sorry for the essay! I just wanted to share my experiences and hear everyone's thoughts.
This happens at every school to some extent. Nothing anyone can do about it but choose to ignore it and concentrate on their own business.

It's also not hard to figure out your school. Before you start talking all over Greek Chat about how competitive your school is you probably should do a lot more reading about what that truly means in sorority recruitment.
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  #5  
Old 03-04-2012, 08:55 PM
MaryPoppins MaryPoppins is offline
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Actually something can be done about, Local PHC and the Chapters can be genuinely and publicly positive about the Greek System. Lip service won't do. Of course it won't actually fix tent talk, but it can help balance out the messages that are received by PNMs. Saying nothing can be done is like saying we will never land on the moon.
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  #6  
Old 03-04-2012, 09:23 PM
madoug madoug is offline
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How about a code of conduct for the PNM's? And if they are witnessed slandering people or groups, they get bounced from recruitment.
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2012, 09:39 PM
rahAU5 rahAU5 is offline
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Cool

To some, that may seem a little heavy handed...but, I think if the girls knew there would be consequences for their negative words it might deter some of the tent talk.
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  #8  
Old 03-04-2012, 09:54 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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Some schools try that but realistically, you know that most girls will go behind closed doors to discuss their opinions, especially if they fear punishment. It's like bullying, it just moves underground.
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2012, 10:06 PM
rahAU5 rahAU5 is offline
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Good point.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2012, 10:35 PM
28StGreek 28StGreek is offline
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Originally Posted by rahAU5 View Post
Good point.
There will always be some type of tent talk going on in various situations throughout a person's life. Just let it be, and it will separate out the girls who are sensible and mature about things. In the end that would make better members and contributors to the Greek community.
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  #11  
Old 03-05-2012, 12:25 AM
HQWest HQWest is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSUViolet06 View Post
Here's the thing with tent talk, no one cares until it's them.

Interestingly enough, Smallest Chapter That Everyone Makes Fun Of is usually talked about the most by the chapter that is just a little bit bigger than them. Generally not by the Top Dog chapters.

Slightly Larger doesn't usually see what Smallest does in terms of propping up their reputations. Ex: Girls can say, "I got a bid from Slightly Larger, but at least it's not Smallest."

Slightly Larger doesn't realize that if Smaller Chapter closes, someone else will become the low man on the totem pole, and it's most likely going to be them.
Here's the thing "Slightly Larger" never seems to realize - bashing "Smallest" doesn't make "Slightly Larger" any better. In fact, they only come across as catty witches, and it can make P-PNMs think that all sorority girls are mean girls and witches. That only makes PNMs more likely to drop out of recruitment
if they don't get dream chapter (who - of course - couldn't be witches.)
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  #12  
Old 03-06-2012, 01:11 AM
Wynter Wynter is offline
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Originally Posted by HQWest View Post
Here's the thing "Slightly Larger" never seems to realize - bashing "Smallest" doesn't make "Slightly Larger" any better. In fact, they only come across as catty witches, and it can make P-PNMs think that all sorority girls are mean girls and witches. That only makes PNMs more likely to drop out of recruitment
if they don't get dream chapter (who - of course - couldn't be witches.)
Yeah, that bothers me. Maybe better relations between houses (making more of an effort to stay off nasty sites like Greekrank and having sorority/sorority mixers and events) would help, but if recruitment is competitive, I guess insecurities and jealousies are bound to play into it.

Our sorority has had events with other sororities, little getting-to-know you things, and I think it's increased our sense of Greek community. Too often we stay inside our own cliquey bubbles within Greek life and forget we all should be working together!
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  #13  
Old 03-06-2012, 11:42 AM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Originally Posted by MaryPoppins View Post
Actually something can be done about, Local PHC and the Chapters can be genuinely and publicly positive about the Greek System. Lip service won't do. Of course it won't actually fix tent talk, but it can help balance out the messages that are received by PNMs. Saying nothing can be done is like saying we will never land on the moon.
And putting it into practice. Saying "I have friends in all the sororities" kind of falls flat when PNMs see ABC sisters giving the death looks to XYZ sisters at parties.

It's pretty simple. If sorority members act catty, immature and mean, they will attract catty, immature and mean PNMs.

Other things that can be done to relieve tent talk: REVISE A TOO HIGH TOTAL. For the love of all that's holy. If your total is 150 and no one has been over 110 in 5 years, of course that's going to contribute to a bunch of worried and stressed out girls - and stress coming out in non-Panhellenic ways. Thankfully NPC has been more on the ball about this in recent years.

Get rid of (really in practice, not just in theory) the practice of taking little sisters or brothers (that is, women from sororities taking guys from the fraternities and vice versa). I've never heard of this making a Greek system stronger, just making the drama stronger.
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  #14  
Old 03-06-2012, 11:49 AM
28StGreek 28StGreek is offline
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Get rid of (really in practice, not just in theory) the practice of taking little sisters or brothers (that is, women from sororities taking guys from the fraternities and vice versa). I've never heard of this making a Greek system stronger, just making the drama stronger.
Is this really still widespread? I always felt it was more a case of getting a girlfriend involved in the pledge experience (in the case of Big Sisters to fraternity Pledges)
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  #15  
Old 03-06-2012, 12:19 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Is this really still widespread? I always felt it was more a case of getting a girlfriend involved in the pledge experience (in the case of Big Sisters to fraternity Pledges)
From postings on here, unfortunately, it seems it is.
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