Stigma Between Fraternity Members and Non-Members

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Many new college students aspiring to become involved in campus activities and expand their group of friends may be posed with the age-old question of joining the Greek community or choosing to remain with the majority of non-members. However, many students are also confronted with the question of whether or not they want to be stereotyped for the duration of their college experience. I believe it is common knowledge that all fraternity members experience stigma, and some may even say that non-members may experience stigma to a certain degree. I believe that both groups, fraternity members and non-members, are, at some time, stigmatized. However, the stigma that affects non-members usually only results from the members of fraternities and can be considered far less than the stigma that fraternity members receive from the rest of the population. For example, of Indiana University's population, only approximately 20% are involved in the Greek community, leaving a far greater number of students to stigmatize against the Greek members. However, fraternities are an organization, whereas the remainder of the population need not interact as the members of fraternities do. This may make the stigma against non-members more powerful. Fraternity members are stigmatized as being any of the following: conformists, unoriginal, followers, or sheep. They are also seen as extremely wealthy, stuck up, and

Shimkus, 2
conceited, probably owing their habitus of the upper class. Their membership in these establishments can be seen as a "blemish of individual character" resulting from weak will and treacherous and rigid beliefs, according to Goffman (Goffman 1963). However, the stigma is not immediately apparent, unless of course members are identifying themselves by wearing clothing with their Greek letters as most members do, thus making the stigma discreditable. I have observed the interactions that occur between members of fraternities and non-members and the way...
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