Boys, booze and bars – these are the big three vices that sororities prohibit at certain times. The restriction is known as “no b’s.”
Depending on the chapter, sororities enforce a specified time period in which boys, alcohol and bars are all forbidden for chapter members. Some chapters enforce no b’s before any important event such as philanthropy or recruitment activities, and others only have no b’s 24 hours after initiation.
This rule is enacted to help each member maintain respect for herself and positively represent her sorority in public. The executive body of sororities do not want their members showing up to events while not on their best behavior, especially for activities in which the character and reputation of the chapter is put on display. After initiation, the new members are expected to focus on their new sisterhood and what that means rather than going out and having a typical night on the town.
But what is the difference in no b’s and hazing? Hazingprevention.org defines hazing as “any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team, whether new or not, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.”
Some students suggest that the no b’s rule seems to walk the line between a reasonable request and hazing. However, the Greek Life women I know, especially the women in the chapter of which I am a part, would not condone this rule or ask it of her fellow members if it was humiliating or damaging to them,
I personally view the purpose behind the rule as a positive one, but it does seem to be outdated in some respects. The no boys rule applies not only to significant others but to guy friends and supposedly even classmates as well. If one has a significant other they see on a regular basis, however, the sorority does not prohibit the member from talking to them. Mostly it applies to associating with frat boys (who, let’s be honest, are pretty much always bad news).
One of my issues with this rule is that members are not supposed to hang out with their male friends. Saying that women can’t be around men and still have respect for themselves implies that we have no self control. One of my best friends is a guy, and I don’t see how stating that makes any sense, even if we are supposed to focus on sisterhood.
Besides, we live in an age when it is an established fact that people can openly date others of the same sex. So, if you’re in a sorority and dating another girl, you can still spend just as much time with that person as usual. The explicit statement of “no boys” rather than saying “no significant others” effectively excludes members of a sorority who exist outside of the heteronormative expectation.
This rule is only enforced by the sorority standards board at certain times, such as the period around initiation and, for some chapters, during recruitment. At all other times, it is implied that going to bars with boys and drinking booze is the norm, even for underage members.
I believe that this rule is put in place partly to test a member’s dedication to the chapter. During the period of no b’s, sorority women must focus on their commitment to their sorority and evaluate what being a part of that really means to them. Sororities always ask that their members respect themselves and others in all situations, but the official no b’s stance is only enforced during specific times.
I’ve basically followed the no b’s rule my whole life, even before I joined a sorority, so it just gives me a valid excuse to avoid frat boys and going out.
I understand the concept behind no b’s, but I do think that it is time to update the official and unofficial rules that govern Greek Life to be more inclusive and respectful to the community as a whole.