Honors Theses


College of Arts and Sciences


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


Department of Sociology


Bachelor of Arts


Sociology, Psychology

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Since their establishment, National Panhellenic Conference sororities have existed to maintain traditional white femininity and womanhood in an age of women’s higher education. A central aspect of this traditional womanhood was marriage, so sororities focused heavily on appealing to and socializing with men, called “heterosocialization.” Drawing on in-depth interviews with 19 women affiliated with 8 National Panhellenic Conference sororities at Mississippi State University, I examine how a woman’s reputation and status – and thus her access to heterosocialization opportunities - in the Greek system is still dependent on her appeal to fraternity men. There is a clear and consistent, but informal, hierarchy that establishes some chapters as “top-tier” and others as the “bottom-tier.” I find that these rankings are based upon the chapter’s reputation, which originates with fraternity men. A reputation that appeals to men – namely “good girl” femininity and physical attractiveness – earns the chapter a spot in the “toptier.” Findings indicate that heterosocialization remains a major focus of sororities, and women in the top-tier sororities have exclusive access to a network of fraternity men because of the status and reputation that fraternity men have given them. Thus, the Greek system illustrates a microcosm where a woman’s place in the social system is not only determined by how well she appeals to men, but also determines her access to the most valuable resource in the system – men.

Publication Date


First Advisor

Allison, Rachel

Second Advisor

Thompson, Diego

Third Advisor

Vivier, Eric