by Ashton Carrick Ph.D. American History Studies
The Sorority Cults are an academic subject that still remains largely shrouded in mystery. In recent years a greater interest in the inner workings of this fanatical following has cropped up and thus much more has been discovered in regards to this perverse cult system. In this paper I shall explore some of the darkest corners and perplexing fetishes of one of the most widespread cults in U.S. history.
Despite its far reaching spheres of influence, the structure of this particular breed of cult was not complicated. Prospective members were heavily vetted before being allowed membership and were subjected to a whole host of rituals and rites of passage collectively known as “Rush.” Membership into the cult was dependent upon a strange conglomeration of traits. A candidate was evaluated primarily on her physical appearance, shallowness, and poor decision making. Promiscuity and lack of inhibition practically ensured that a candidate would get an invitation to be baptized into the cult, otherwise known as a “bid.” According to research collected from taped interviews of candidates who did not get bids, having any type of actually personality was the greatest hindrance to being accepted.
For those who did make it, however, the annual pagan celebration known as “Bid Day” was used to usher in the new Sisters. This celebration traditionally consisted of face paintings, screaming, prancing, and shedding of tears. Upon induction, each new member (otherwise known as a “Little) would be assigned a mentor (a “Big) whose job it was to shower the new inductee with traditional, handcrafted gifts and make sure that they were truly indoctrinated to the cult’s dogmatic laws. Every Little had a Big and every Big had a Little, thus forming smaller, self-sufficient groups within the cults known as “Families.” Being a matriarchal society, the Senior Sister held the highest authority while the Freshman Sister held the least. Members of families were expected to show absolute devotion and filial piety to one another—this often involved maudlin, conspicuous public praise of one’s family members. It is likely that coercion and social pressure were involved heavily in this practice, as it is highly impractical that all Littles actually believed that they had “the best Big ever.”
One might be curious as to how such a wealth of knowledge has been obtained from what were usually such secretive societies. Oddly enough, historians in fact have an abundance of primary source material to work with due to the Sisters’ compulsive need to keep detailed records of events and personnel via Instagram posts. A pattern can be discerned in these archaic photos as to how the Sisters related to one another physically. A significant number of photos have been archived depicting the infamous “Sorority squat” and the “piggyback” positions. The “cheek to cheek” pose also seems to have been a popular fad at the time. It’s not clear what or who started these cultural idiosyncrasies, but evidence of them has been found in relation to every branch of the Sorority Cult, suggesting it was a widespread phenomenon.
The Sisters engaged in other strange cultural practices as well. In homage to the warrior cults of ages past that would paint their bodies with their sacrificial victims’ blood, Sorority members often painted their bodies with fake spray-on tans. Coincidentally, this also made it easier for members to identify one another by sight when among a crowd of normal people or “non-Greeks.” The traditional dress of the Sorority members also made them easily identifiable and created a culture of solidarity and conformity. An oversized Sorority t-shirt with the traditional frocket paired with the black yoga pants were the typical garb of the day. Footwear included Nike running shoes and white tube socks pulled conspicuously up over the pant legs. The truly indoctrinated members could also be seen wearing pearl earrings, Aviator sunglasses, and monogrammed necklaces. Monogramming came to be an essential part of Sorority culture for a very practical reason—eventually the members were becoming so identical in appearance and behavior that they needed a way to tell one from the other. To solve this dilemma, they began to brand their initials all over their bodies and possessions. A good many of the members also participated in extended periods of fasting in order to alter their physical appearances.
The Sisters also eventually developed their own language as a counter measure against the “non-Greeks” of the outside world. This language was primarily performed in a crude version of sign language, usually consisting of signs made with the hands, arms, or other parts of the body in order to identify other members of the cult successfully and to promote the dominance of a particular branch. Some experts believe this practice derived from the practice of gang signs used by hoodlums in the larger cities of the U.S in decades past. Ancient Greek letters were also often used when denoting specific branches of the cult; however, there is no evidence suggesting that members had any true knowledge of the Greek language and the practice was deemed asinine by later historians. The Greek letters were often made into enormous sized letters and carried around by pallbearers as trophies of social conquest to be showed off to the public.
Members were required to continually demonstrate their loyalty to the group by capturing outside victims for use in certain seasonal religious festivals such as 5K runs, pancake buffets, and car washes. Failure to do so resulted in the member being sacrificed to the Sorority’s primary goddess, Lilly Pulitzer. Besides sacrificing some of their own, Sisters paid respect to the goddess by wearing special flowery garb and burning wads of money—along with any notions of originality—on her altar in their sacred temple, the Sorority House. Chanting ancient spells amidst candlelight was another popular way in which the sisters offered worship to their deity. Sisters were also all very adamant about following the Great Commandment that had been established as the basis of the Sisterhood since its very genesis: “Thou shalt judge all others.”
Many believe that this cult was ultimately nothing more than a financial scam as it required large sums of money for a member to retain her membership and to participate in cult festivities and rituals. Regardless of whether this was the case or not, it has been argued how such a destructive ideology was allowed to flower and form into a full-fledged movement in the first place. Many historians debate the reasons for this. A leading theory is that since the Sorority masked its subversive and, frankly, destructive activities under the guise of “philanthropy,” that its true nature was hidden from authority figures at the time. Others argue that Sororities had actually infiltrated networks spreading throughout the entire U.S., with previous members holding positions at every level of education and government. Such widespread infiltration allowed the Sorority to continually operate with relative impunity from the authorities, much in the same way that the Illuminati supposedly had a network running throughout America at this time. Sadly, the Sorority Cults of the United States prospered for many years before the non-Greeks, finally outraged enough at the judgmental nature of the Sisters to take action, began rioting on college campuses across the nation, burning effigies of Greek goddesses, and looting Sorority Houses of their organic yogurt and gluten-free muffins. In a matter of days the entire system came crashing down in a cataclysmic takeover and the remaining Sisters either committed mass suicide via self-immolation by pumpkin spice candles or were captured and converted back into non-Greeks. All in all it was a dark era in our country’s history—an era we don’t wish to repeat—plagued with the terrors of an obsessive, brain-washing machine known as the Sorority.
*No offense to people in sororities.