Tuesday, September 27, 2011

For The Sake of Beauty


 Normally you hear sorority disaster stories about underage drinking, parties that get out of control, or maybe some mean girl circling another new girls fat. Have you ever heard of a sorority that requires their members to tan? If not, keep reading.

For the record, I enjoyed my time in sorority. It was not only a great learning experience, it was also a great bonding experience. I met amazing women that I would not have been introduced to otherwise. I can also say that no part of my sorority experience was harmful to my health. In fact, I would argue it was the opposite. Still, years later, I am in touch with many of the sisters. They have gone out of their way to support me in my fight against melanoma.

That being said, I recently heard a rumor (from reliable sources, of course) that two of the sororities at the college where I graced my presence just two years ago requires their members to have a minimum of 120 tanning minutes per week. What does that mean? Six days out of the week these members are heading down to the local tanning salons to tan for the maximum amount of time: twenty minutes. When telling how their sorority is required to tan, they questioned why they never saw any of the Alpha Sigma Tau members. My opinion as to why we weren't at the tanning salon for required tanning hours: although appearance is important--and I mean this in terms of being clean and healthy--it is not everything. We focused our time on scheduling events (besides just parties), we spent time in the library actually studying, and we volunteered when needed. (I tanned some during my sorority time because I wanted to, not because anyone required me to do so.)

These same members are required to spend a certain amount of time at the gym each week. I could argue that this is ridiculous since the sorority should be based on more things than just looks; however, I won't. We all know the truth. And plus, going to the gym a few times a week is good for your health (not that I was ever forced to do so) it is not something that leads to cancer.

When I first learned this information, I was speechless. I knew that these sororities based a lot on the appearances of the members. I just had no idea how far they would go to make sure their girls looked "beautiful." While sending these members to the tanning salon, why don't they send them to the local mini mart to pick up some smokes, too. Smoking leads to lung cancer. Tanning leads to melanoma. Will it take one of their members being diagnosed with melanoma for them to learn how irresponsible they are being? 

Then I started thinking about the type of women that agree to this rule. It is fascinating--and terrifying--to know that hundreds of women AGREE to go to the tanning bed each week because the sorority that they pay to be a part of thinks that being tan leads to being beautiful. I, for the life of me, cannot imagine being a part of an organization that puts that much emphasis on how I look. 

Do I write to the Greek Life of my former college and explain why I am disgusted with this? Do I write to their national headquarters? Will it be ignored? Is it worth the effort that I will put into the letter (pictures and all, of course)? Do I let it be and wait for one of their members to be diagnosed with melanoma? Maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt that they are unaware that exposure to UV light raises their chances of developing melanoma by 75%. That's a huge risk. 75%!!!

Hearing all of this would usually makes me angry. It would cause me to drive down to good ol' Radford and do some butt kicking. Now, it just makes me sad and disappointed. It is time to kick melanoma awareness into full gear. Otherwise, there may be a lot more "Sisters" experiencing the hell that I have been going through. We will then bond not only by our sorority ties but by the black beast, melanoma.

C'mon, sorority girls, break this trend. Pale skin is in....

9 comments:

Carolyn said...

Excellent blog. I think you should write a letter. As a ulumni, you have a right to bring this to their attention. You go girl!

Becca said...

I, too, was a sorority member but not one of the popular ones. I was in the sorority for the rejects because I wasn't considered "pretty enough" for the other ones. The only thing they insisted on was that we party...alot. It resulted in me being kicked out of college after my first year. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened had I not rushed. But I can guarantee you that in the years to come, one of those girls will get melanoma. Then she'll turn around and sue the college. I can see it happening. If that's what it takes to make the college insist on a No Tanning policy, then it's a shame, but that's probably what it will take. You get 'em, Chelsie, you MAKE them listen. If anyone can, YOU can.

Ranisa said...

yes you should do or say something

Carol Taylor said...

By all means, Chelsea, contact the nationals, the college, and the local chapter also. All probably have FB, email, and snail mail. Send them your blog and stats also...more than one will get melanoma. They don't have a clue what they're actually requiring of those young women and the young women don't have a clue what they're signing away. You go, Girl!

Shannon Fielding said...

As the mother of a daughter who just graduated from university, I would be grateful to anyone who tried to protect my child from dangerous ignorance. Not all will take heed, but I think it's a great idea to send a letter. Education is never a bad thing.

~Haley~ said...

I think that you should contact whoever you can in regards to this! I flipped out on Facebook yesterday because J*Woww from Jersey Shore posted "Pale skin is never sexy".... stuff like that just pisses me off!
XoXo

Kate said...

Wow, I'm speechless. This is utterly ridiculous! Why are young women so desperate for social acceptance that they risk their lives.....by tanning, by excessive drinking, by putting themselves in risky positions with men, etc. Despite formal invitations to pledge the "top 3 most popular" sororities (you get the picture....the houses with the most attractive girls) I decided not to pledge at all. I was one of 18 freshmen not to pledge and I am so thankful that I made that decision....the whole idea that exclusive clubs chose their members based on the most superficial qualities in a person pretty much makes me ill. There were so many crushed girls who didn't receive invites from the sororities they were just desperately wanting to be members of. To think that tanning is now part of the "requirements" for memberships typifies what is wrong with these members-only clubs.....Please do write the letter, Chelsea - if anyone can call attention to this utter stupidity you can!

Brittany said...

I definitely think you should write a letter to both the college and national headquarters. What do you have to loose? Actually, it's more about what they have to loose if they don't stop tanning.

Anne said...

Definitely write!!! You can send the following paragraph from this article...

http://www.wwltv.com/news/New-drug-battles-inoperable-melanoma-130677578.html

"There's been a large spike in the incidence of melanoma in the year 2010. There is now one in 54 Americans that get diagnosed each year with melanoma. We've also seen an astronomical spike in the number of women between the ages of 20 and 39 who are now being diagnosed with melanoma compared to the years prior, and many of us are contributing that to tanning bed use," said Dr. Pavlick.

Go get 'em, Chelsea!!