Ex-Sorority Sister Assures You: Most Party Themes Are Offensive… To Women


As former Penn State Greek, it came as no surprise that my news feed blew up yesterday with some new publicity from my controversial, but much-loved Alma-mater. As we Penn Staters always say, “WE ARE… always in the press for something embarrassing.” Everyone seemed to be in shock that the Chi Omega sorority participated in an offensive “Mexican” party theme (pictured above). But I was surprised… that they were surprised.

There’s pretty much no question that the picture, costumes, and overall “Mexican” theme is offensive. The girls invested their parent’s hard-earned money on sombreros, ponchos, fake mustaches, and cardboard, in order to crudely represent our neighbors to the south… and then probably drink Corona and Tequilla with a “top-five” frat, which is the only good part of their decision making. (Side note: The only one who didn’t go all out is the Asian on the left, who is clearly uncomfortable — maybe her people will be represented in the next party!) Even if the two queen-idiots in the middle weren’t literally holding racist signs (FYI girls, tiny sombreros aren’t any sexier than big ones), the rest of the sorority are walking, valley-girl talking, offensive stereo-types.

It’s pretty dumb for a bunch of women who are allegedly getting college degrees to go through with this plan, but tweeting a picture of it out to the world is the icing on the [insert some sort of Mexican pastry]. After the world freaked out with a simultaneous “OFFENSIVE PARTY THEME? NO WAYYY!” Chi O was quick to apologize via some dude, stating:

“Our chapter of Chi Omega sincerely apologizes for portraying inappropriate and untrue stereotypes. The picture in question does not support any of Chi Omega’s values or reflect what the organization aspires to be.”

While the apology was certainly necessary, it just doesn’t address a larger issue. Don’t you know, party themes are all about being offensive! As a former self-described “sorosititute,” I can tell you this party is pretty mild on the shock-o-metere.  Some wonderful themes that I personally participated in (before I grew this sassy personality and some self-respect) include,”GI Joes and Army Hoes!” “CEOS and Office Hoes!” and “Tennis Pros and Golf Hoes!” In case you didn’t notice, the science to these parties is the word hoes.

party themes

See, the main difference between these themes and the “Mexican” theme, is usually the girls are just degrading themselves which nobody minds. I mean who cares that these highly educated, technically intelligent, beautiful women are dressing up like the sexual fantasies of a bunch of horny frat boys? Nobody! Does it matter that they are representing themselves and their fellow women like objects that should be used, rather than women with personalities and ideas? No way!

Frankly, the boys get off too easy (literally and figuratively). The fact is this is how Penn State (and I believe most big party schools) works: The fraternities have the parties and invite the sororities. The men supply the booze and in exchange the ladies show up dressed in outfits that would make their fathers stab their own eyes out. But the point is: Free Vladamire Vodka and Miller High Life! What, What!

No matter what the theme is: “Cowboys and Indians,” “80’s Party,” or “Let’s just get trashed… hoes!,” the women flaunt it all and the men basically dress like themselves, but with one funny accessory. Take this theme that I somehow missed out on until now: “Kindergarten Party!” Boys wear that dumb shirt they usually wear to class everyday and girls dress like sexy little five-year-olds who have been naughty and need a good spanking!


Which likely resulted in this look on her mother’s face when she saw her little girl growing up to be a sexualized character of a little girl:

The fact is, this isn’t a sorority issue. Even though sororities and fraternities are easy to blame, really we all know this is a cultural issue. Even the weirdos students who didn’t go Greek (I don’t get it? Did they like, make friends on their own? I’m exhausted just thinking about this), they too participated in offensive theme parties. Not to mention, this is what Halloween is all about here in America. Men dress awesome and funny, and women dress like sex dolls who are really, really cold. I mean, look at this banana costume for women compared to the banana costume for men.


For real? A sexy banana?!

I no longer belong to a sorority. I modified “sisters for life” to “sisters for a couple years” when I dropped out my senior year for personal reasons (aka drama!). Sure, I know some not great things about being in a sorority, but I know a positive aspects of the experience too and I still call some of my ex-sisters my best friends. At the end of the daylong, there’s nothing wrong with being in a sorority and there’s nothing wrong with being an independent (although, it’s got to be much harder to get wasted on a Wednesday while underage), but there is something wrong with the party themes that we accept and attend. You should be offended by a “Mexican” theme party, but you shouldn’t then attend a “CEO and Office Hoes” party. I mean unless it’s at like a really good frat… ok, actually, not even then.

The thing is a sorority is a group of women who are supposed to work together, hold themselves to a higher standard, and promote feminist ideals (the free booze and awesome parties are a bonus). Being racist certainly doesn’t reflect on the goals of sisterhood (looking at you, Chi O!), but either does being sexualized and giving into a misogynistic view of women. Most party themes are offensive… to women! And we need to stop participating in them, especially if you are in a sisterhood.

But to be fair, I was an “Army Hoe” too. Man, I looked hot in that costume.


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7 thoughts on “Ex-Sorority Sister Assures You: Most Party Themes Are Offensive… To Women

  1. Graduated from penn state in 1992. Was in a top 5 frat (at least it was then I don’t know about now). I found your piece to be extremely insightful. I remember one year I was invited to a pi phi formal. The theme was pi phi fiesta. Complete with t shirts and boxer shirts. The t shirts had two men, clearly Mexican, wearing sombreros, and passed out amongst bottles of tequila. I didn’t think any thing of it.

    Flash forward 2 years and I’m a first year law student studying Indian law at the university of New Mexico. Not even thinking twice about it I wore that tshirt to class one day and immediately offended approximately 60 percent of my class. I had met a grand total on 1 Hispanic person in my life before I moved there so I had not idea how potentially offensive the tshirt was. They were quick to tell me.

    Point…some of this comes from ignorance and some from callousness.

    I enjoyed your piece. Well stated.

  2. Interesting perspective. As a current Penn State female student, I definitely thought some of the points you brought up regarding women. But I think the blame should fall just as much on sororities as you put on frats for throwing these parties. It’s no excuse that because most parties are offensive, that a party that is offensive to a certain race is part of the norm.
    Also, as a student who is neither white nor black, I do understand all the outrage surrounding the recent news. The truth is, minorities are pretty much under represented on campus, and Penn State’s culture does not promote diversity as much as it should. Even though there is an array of groups, it’s easy to see the division between races/ethnicity.
    With that being said…these stereotypes do exist and we as a society basically accepted them. People in the media are even paid to make fun of these stereotypes. Why are we penalizing students when we as a society condone comedians and entertainers who do the same exact thing?..my two cents. Thanks for the nice read! WE ARE…

  3. Quit pointing out the hypocrisy of the world. They might appoint you Queen Hoe, ruler of all hoes, sluts, and hags.

  4. “Boy Toy”…what a lofty aspiration for a stupid girl. I guess I’m lucky that I can’t stand the taste of alcohol. I get to watch and laugh while all of you “smart people” make idiots of yourselves. It’s fun to watch a loud obnoxious girl with one of her boobs hanging out of her shirt hanging on a guy that looks like his IQ is in the negative range. No thanks. I’d rather be a weird independant with a small group of friends that I can count on, laugh with and not have to be a slut or ho for.

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