Instruction in Living Beautifully: Social Education and Heterosocializing in White College Sororities
Freeman explores the history of sororities in the period from roughly 1910 to 1970. The chapter argues that while national sororities claimed to build a supportive sisterhood, their intense focus on preparing members for conventional, white, middle-class womanhood and their emphasis on physical appeal undermined positive aspects of the women’s-only space, as it fostered a competitive and controlling environment. Sororities promoted conventionally “feminine” activities for members and alumnae, which orbited around an ultimate goal of marriage and homemaking. Thus, heterosocializing became a primary interest of the sororities. Rather than simply instructing women in manners, social graces, and high moral character that would supposedly prepare them as “ideal” wives and mothers, sororities also specifically instructed members on appearance and personality with designs on attracting male attention.