In Neighbors 2, a group of college freshmen (led by Chloë Grace Moretz’s Shelby) form their own breakaway sorority to protest a real double standard within Greek life: Frats can throw parties, but sororities can’t. Aided by evolved frat boy Teddy (Zac Efron), the girls start Kappa Nu, where they are free to weep loudly during The Fault in Our Stars, party in their pajamas, terrorize their neighbors (returning couple Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) and have fun without subjecting themselves to “rapey” frat events.
I called up four sorority girls from across the country to find out what they thought of the film — and while they all had very different experiences of Greek life, they agreed that the film had some important takeaways.
The double standards in Greek life are pervasive and frustrating.
“It actually sheds light on a topic that’s true, that sororities aren’t allowed to have parties in their houses and frats are. I think it’s unfair, and I don’t really understand why that’s a rule. It seems pretty sexist to me.” — Emily Cox, 18, Kappa Delta, Ball State
“It was much more clever than I was expecting. There’s the scene where they’re at the first frat party, and they point out how uncomfortable it actually is. And there’s this idea that it’s normal, and in a way, it is. But it’s interesting when someone or something actually points out how odd it can be, that that’s our culture.” — Isabella Issa, 20, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Emory
And yes, frat parties can be terrible.
“I know of girls that have had bad things happen to them when they’ve gone to parties … We’ve learned about safe spots at parties, like, stay on the main floor, don’t follow someone upstairs.” — Emily
“I think that would be great to host our own parties and that would be wonderful, but I think above all frat parties should be safer. It would be nice if you could go to a party and not have to formulate a grand exit plan …. I don’t mean to suggest that all frat parties are unsafe. But literally every night, if I were to go out, I have some kind of exit plan.” — Isabella
“We attended a ‘CEOs and business hoes’ party, so we just all got name tags that said CEO and put them on our outfit. That was kind of a way to stick it back to them.” — Austen Tosone, recent graduate and former New York Magazine intern, Barnard
The parties would probably be better if girls threw them.
“We threw a mixer that was ‘togas and yogas.’ You have the option of going all-out and making a toga, or you could just wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt. And my chapter loved that. They loved that you could basically just wear what you wore that day, and freshen up your face, and go have fun. And the guys had just as much fun.” — Natasha Davis, 20, Alpha Omicron Pi, Kennesaw State
“I think it would be fun if it was like in the movie, when it was just the girls having their own thing and being able to drink together and stuff. Because then you can dictate the vibe.” — Emily
Still, not everything in the movie rang true — particularly the more traditional sorority led by Selena Gomez.
“My least favorite part was at the beginning where they had all those girls sitting in that room wearing white and acting kind of fake. And Shelby started smoking a joint and they were like, you can’t do that in here. It’s not really like that. It’s not as judgmental. I feel like we’re pretty accepting as a whole.” — Emily
“The portion in the beginning of the very stereotypical recruitment experience didn’t do as much justice as the sisterhood that followed when they created the new sorority. The connections that those girls made shed a little bit more light on what it’s really all about.” — Natasha
Feminist sensibilities coexist with Greek life, to varying degrees.
“Most of my friends consider themselves feminists. But I think going to school in New York City, we’re a little more aware of these things.” — Austen
“When you go through recruitment and rushing, every girl in Greek life looks out for each other, no matter what sorority you’re in. But I don’t know necessarily that you’d call it feminist; it’s just that we’re all there for each other. While there are girls who speak out about it, most girls don’t think too much into it or care that much. Or maybe they do care and they just don’t say anything.” — Emily
The “woke frat boy” does exist, but he is still elusive.
“I’ve had really productive conversations with a ton of my fraternity friends, who’ll have read a news story and they’ll say, ‘Did you see where they spiked the jungle juice to try and get the girls, that was so messed-up.” But you’ll always hear the occasional snide comment, like joking about random things that could be offensive to women. Like, ‘Oh, ha-ha, women’s rights,’ or something.” — Austen
“I’ve met guys who are that woken Zac Efron type and completely go against all the stereotypes that I came into Greek life thinking all fraternity guys were like, and then I’ve met guys who are all about the stereotypes, and ham it up even, and are not so woke, I guess … I hope more of them could become woke.” — Natasha