The 4 to 1 fraternity ratio: Do I look sexy enough?

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

By Jenna Seyer, Staff Writer

As you all are certainly aware, there is a subtle initiation process at the door of campus fraternity parties—that discreet once-over of the appearance of girls, the body count of dolled-up young women on the side of one guy trying to get into a party.

We are scrutinized on the tightness of our dresses, the height of our heels, the volume of our hair and the amount of makeup we have on, all to be able to gain entrance, to loosen up after a long, hard week of classes.

And for that single guy in the middle of it all, silently hoping that the girls he brought look hot enough, the process of entry is pass or fail.

Girls begin to have a single purpose: to be deemed acceptable by a random fraternity brother.

What may look like a scene out of the House Bunny movie (without a pig running around rampant, maybe) some girls are turned away, not living up to the standards of this unwritten, changeable rule.

But why do girls continue to participate in such an objectifying and degrading fraternity system? What if we want to dance in our sweatpants, flirt in our skinny jeans or walk into the fraternity house wearing our converse sneakers?

Why is it mandatory to squeeze into some skin-tight outfit to please the fraternity boy standing on the front steps with an answer of either “yes” or “no?” The answer should always be “yes,” whether or not we decide to sport our mini-black cocktail dress!

If we truly take a moment to think about why a ratio is required at most fraternities, it is clear that fraternity boys do not want to talk about classes, discuss politics, develop friendships or even indulge on how amazing our Servo cookies are. The 4:1 ratio simply increases their chance for an alcohol-induced hook-up. If the tables were turned and sororities dominated the party scene with a 4:1 ratio for the amount of guys brought, the situation would be just as demeaning; guys would be sent away for a ridiculous set of standards—not muscular enough, not tall enough, not attractive enough. It is purely a superficial numbers game, one that can seriously damage an individual’s self-esteem, girl or guy.

But, to answer the question I asked in the title (“do I look sexy enough?”), yes, you absolutely do. To all of the girls who have been turned away from fraternity parties, you are beautiful—in whatever you wear, however you look. Never allow whoever is standing on that porch to decide if you belong!

Please know that this commentary is not meant to bash, to humiliate, to protest the existence of fraternities on college campuses, to report any fraternity member or to discourage any girls from attending fraternity parties.

The goal of this article is to expose a widespread practice on our college campus that is unfair, humiliating and sexist.

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  1. A Gettysburgian Responds: The 4:1 fraternity ratio reconsidered | The Gettysburgian. - […] This piece is in response to an article that appeared in The Gettysburgian on November 7th, 2015, which can…

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