Now in paperback, the New York Times bestseller-with over 91,000 copies in print-that takes you behind closed doors to see what really goes on in America's sororities ver wonder what sorority life is really like? In Pledged, bestselling author Alexandra Robbins goes undercover to expose the dark side of collegiate sisterhood-the psychological abuse, hazing rituals, and widespread body image disorders-while at the same time introducing us to many of the intelligent, successful women within its ranks. The result is a compelling sociological exploration of the powerful influence that these organizations wield over young women today. With its fly-on-the-wall voyeurism and remarkable insight, Pledged paints a sharp-eyed portrait of the intriguing and paradoxical world of modern-day sororities.
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Alexandra Robbins is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, one of which was voted Goodreads' Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and other publications. She has appeared on numerous national television shows such as 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Oprah, The View, and The Colbert Report. A Marie Claire contributing editor, she is the 2014 recipient of the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, given by the Medill School of Journalism.From Publishers Weekly:
Robbins, who previously researched Yale's Skull and Bones Society for Secrets of the Tomb and also coauthored Quarterlife Crisis, went undercover for the 2002-2003 academic year to investigate the inner workings of "Greek" (National Panhellenic Conference) sororities. Sororities are far from anachronisms; there are presently some 3.5 million women in almost 3,000 Greek chapters on campuses across America. After the national office forbade locals from cooperating with Robbins, she disguised herself as an undergrad and found four sorority women willing to risk expulsion to help her. While Robbins structures her narrative around the year's ritual cycle-the rush, the bid, pledging, initiation, Greek Week, etc.-the timeless soap opera of sorority life occupies center stage. And although battles between girls can be wrenching, there's nothing like a date gone wrong to bring out the tearsâ€"and the thermos of vodka. Beyond romance, Robbins's informants have their own issues, among them, being black and poor in a rich white sorority and recovering from date rape by a frat brother. These problems are worsened by an environment that encourages binge drinking, drug abuse, eating disorders and blind obedience to what their pledge masters or sorority elders tell them to do. Historically black sororities, which are not the focus of this book, do have a reputation for promoting community service and sisterhood; "historically white" sororities, Robbins concludes, are really just social groups for making friends and meeting guys, despite their claims to academic and service values. Robbins makes suggestions for reforming sororities-more adult supervision, ending pledging, etc.-although the demystification that comes from reading her front-line account may be the best prescription.
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