My Life as Rachel

visual sociology blog

Interview Questions & Pictures

Filed under: Uncategorized — rachelhymowitz at 3:28 pm on Tuesday, May 18, 2010  Tagged

What sorority/fraternity were you/are you associated with?

At what school were you apart of greek life?

What made you decide to rush a sorority/fraternity?

What year did you rush/pledge?

Did you experience hazing? If yes, elaborate as much as possible.  If no, have you heard of any hazing rituals done in the past?

What helped you through getting hazed?

Do you feel the hazing was beneficial in the long run?

Getting Serious – REVISED

Filed under: Uncategorized — rachelhymowitz at 9:41 pm on Thursday, April 15, 2010  Tagged

Literature Review :

1. Hughey, Matthew W. “Brotherhood or Brothers in the ‘hood’ Debunking the ‘educated Gang’ Thesis as Black Fraternity and Sorority Slander.” Race Ethnicity and Education 11.4 (2008). Web.

This article looks beyond sororities and fraternities however it goes beyond greek letters and investigates Black Greek Lettered Organizaions (BGLO).  Before even reading this article I for one never even knew there was a greek group targeted just for African Americans.  This will add great variety to our paper and research because not only does it go beyond gender it now goes beyond race.  However, this greek life is under investigations whether it is gang related and if the letters are just a cover for african americans in gangs.  Basically saying that the letters are covering up their identities as gang members.  Greek life is definitely not anywhere near gang like although there are similar initiation processes it is strictly not a gang.  It had been reported that member of BGLO were being accused of serious hazing rituals resulting in serious injuries and deaths.  This will tie into the hazing section of our research because hazing is large part of greek life and there has been deaths beyond BGLO.

2. Montague, David R., Israt Tust Zohra, Sonja L. Love, and Vasiliki J. McGee. “Hazing Typologies: Those Who Criminally Haze and Those Who Receive Criminal Hazing.”Victims & Offenders 3.2/3 (2008). Web.

This Article solely discusses hazing rituals and the negative affects it has on those who are victims.  Beyond physical injuries and physical abuse the long-term more common affect of hazing is indeed psychological damage and abuse.  All this abuse is done to a person just so they can be apart of a sorority/fraternity and just fit in.  Although everyone is going through the same abuse it seems rather outrageous that such damage is being put onto these students from other students.  This article will help further our research on hazing, why it is done, the harms and where it originated.


We are hoping that we are able to get our hands on some visuals of this past years pledge class during their pledging sessions.  It may be a hard task because the pledging time has already past and the newcomers have been initiated, so we’ve been told. I (Rachel) can always use pictures from when I was pledging although they are not very recent and my pledging was cut short due to hazing rituals being reported to my sororities national advisors.  If the first-hand visualizations do not surface than we will make due and use visualizations from the web as well as legal footage because we have stumbled across videos/photographs used to dictate to sororities and fraternities the harms and legal mattes of hazing.  Besides gathering photos of hazing rituals we also are gathering recent photos of sorority and fraternity events (non-hazing) showing greek life is about and what they do on campus and off campus and how they contribute.

Ethical Considerations:

We will need to get consent from all members/those photographed in the photos we hopefully will be able to use.  This shouldn’t be such a hard task considering the relationships we have with both the fraternity (Halie’s brothers) and the sorority (Rachel is a former member of).  We also have to worry about privacy issues if anyone in the photo’s object we will either have to blur/cut them out or remove the picture entirely.  Besides that we have consent from members of both organizations to interview them and use the information they give us which will be very helpful.

Ethical Considerations

Filed under: Uncategorized — rachelhymowitz at 4:10 pm on Wednesday, March 24, 2010  Tagged

For our project an ethical consideration we have encountered is getting consent from the brothers of Alpha Tau Omega and the sisters of Alpha Phi and their rituals from the pledging process.  Also known as the hazing process.  Although I am a first hand source of experience being hazed I am not the best person to be interviewed because I am after all the one researching this project.  I can however feed insights into the what the pledgers are feeling during the process.  Also a hard thing to do will be finding pictures during the hazing process from Alpha Tau Omega and from Alpha Phi because the pledging process is considered extremely sacred and secretive and only meant for other brothers/sisters to know.

Two Photos For Final Project

Filed under: Uncategorized — rachelhymowitz at 10:42 pm on Tuesday, March 23, 2010  Tagged

The first photo that I have posted is the one I have taken.  First, some background knowledge.  During pledging, the point is to get closer to you’re sisters/brothers not only the ones you are pledging with.  In most cases you tend to form bonds with an older sister/brother who sort of takes you under their wing and will most likely choose the pledger as their little.  During Big/Little week his/her new Big serenades their new Little with LOTS of gifts, posters, candy etc…  I still have many of the items given to me from my Big and I chose to take a picture of a poster she made for me.  I choose to take a picture of this to bring about the topic of Bigs and Little’s because that is a HUGE part of the pledging process.  One of the most exciting days, besides initiation, is Big/Little reveal and I know all Little’s out there cherish every gift given to them by their big. A Big is supposed to be there for their Little during the pledging process so it gives him/her an older brother/sister to confide in and give them the confidence they need to know that after pledging it will all be worth it.

The next photo which I found on flickr is a photo of a paddle.  The paddle holds great significance within sororities and fraternities.  They used to and probably still do, which I am sure I will learn about as I further my research, used to haze pledgers with these paddles by beating them and other unimaginable things that I don’t think are necessary to get into.   To my knowledge, as of now, paddles are now used for decoration usually to give to you’re Big in thanks for the gifts they have given you and for taking you as a little.  In greek life nothing is free, including having a Little, which is another subject that will be explored within my research.  Back to paddles, although they used to represent hurt, now they represent love and thanks.  Kind of ironic in a way, huh?

P.S. Just realized my name is on this paddle just to clarify this is NOT my paddle my Big has the paddle I made!

Project Proposal – Gone Greek. REVISED

Filed under: Uncategorized — rachelhymowitz at 1:03 pm on Friday, March 12, 2010  Tagged

Sooooo, I’ve had a change in mind for my final project.  I think it would be interesting to do something based on greek life because know one really knows what goes on behind pictures when all the girls/guys are wearing the same thing or pictured doing something funny or unusual.  As someone who did experience going through the ‘recruitment’ process also known as pledging, I do have a much better insight of what is going on beyond the pictures compared to what everyone else is seeing. Although the pictures from my pledging days are old I can compose pictures from the internet and also from my former ‘sisters’ if there are any pictures from this past pledge class which I am almost positive there is because sorority girls just love to take pictures. I say ‘sisters’ because now that I am no longer a member I find the whole sisters concept kind of overrated and just plain stupid, but that is just my opinion.  Since my focus is not just sororities I can also discuss fraternity pledging rituals although I do not have a first hand experience I do however have friends who have experienced pledging a frat. Let me tell you, what I had to do was NOTHING compared to what they had to do.  I can easily access more knowledge about frat life as well from my cousin who is in a fraternity at Maryland University as well as old friends from my old school, Towson University, also in Maryland.  My debate although is whether I should put my focus on my former sorority, Alpha Phi, or if I should make my focus on different sororities.  I am kind of leaning towards different sororities because I think it will make for a very interesting project to compare what different sororities do to their pledge classes and how they differ and how they are similar.


I will be partnering up with Halie and she has absolutely no experience or much knowledge about greek life so we should make for a good group.  Im thinking that since when I was pledging we had “pledge moms” or “pledge masters” they basically are in charge of the entire pledge class so maybe if I can talk to a former pledge mom/pledge master and ask them some questions about the initiation process and the purpose for hazing rituals.  I also think we should focus on one sorority and one fraternity and compare and contrast the differences and similarities because the differences in the rituals are huge but the reasoning behind them I believe are quite similar.

We have also decided that we will be discussing and possibily showing in our presentation clips from the movies, Sydney White, Sorority Row and the ABC show Greek.

What Do I Want To Do -Old Topic

Filed under: Uncategorized — rachelhymowitz at 5:23 pm on Wednesday, February 24, 2010  Tagged

Vieweing the previous classes final assignments brought a lot of ideas about a main one that stuck with me was celebrity images, body image etc.. I am leaning towards maybe researching stereotypes, what brought about this idea was actually the Jersey Shore show where the cast proclaimed themselves as guidos and guidettes.  There has been tons of feedback both positive and negative about the show.  I was thinking I could focus on stereotypes form appearance and how they dress such as guidos, punks, nerds,rich, poor etc…  Im debating whether I would print out actual photos of each stereotype and intreview people of all ages and ask what they see and to describe the person in the picture.    I could also take the path of taking pictures of people around me.  I also have to figure out if I want to narrow in on a specific stereotype which could be interesting say I did focus on guidos and guidettes especially because after the Jersey Shore the stereotype recieved some angry feedback from actual Italian Americans who were furious with the nick name.  The idea needs some expanding but I think I have found something that is different from the other classes projects that could be equally interesting.


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