When I did my initial research on this subject I was interested in the dangers and mishaps that surround Greek letter societies, especially fraternities. In delving into this matter my interests shifted; fraternities undoubtedly have a higher chance of exposing their members to risky behaviors, but why? In exploring the behaviorism's fraternity membership instills, I started to examine the concept of masculinity within college culture and how these concepts contribute to the fraternity "problem". The concepts that define masculinity and how these factors, along with fraternity membership, contribute to proliferation of high-risk, drunken, or violent behaviors will now be my focus.
Fraternities seek to instill in their members maturity, leadership, and moral rectitude. In short, fraternity membership, in its purest form, is supposed to offer an opportunity for college boys to become men through the adaptation of masculine traits. In the college context, traits that are perceived to be masculine include; ability to drink, risk-taking behavior and associated risk success, physical altercations and violence. Because fraternities seek to push their members into manhood, they push upon their members masculine traits. Because the fraternity is intrinsic to college culture, the masculine norms mentioned early, which permeate the culture in which the fraternity is imbedded, are promoted by the fraternity itself. The fraternity seeks to better its members, but being as the college culture promotes these behaviors, the fraternity is at the forefront of these problems.
In following through on this topic I am relying heavily on the masculine norms theory. This theory, established through scientific and peer reviewed research, states the factors that contribute to the college cultures perception of masculinity, as defined earlier. By linking the masculine norms that contribute to the violent and dangerous behavior of college students with the proliferation of these traits via fraternities, a sound link is drawn between fraternity membership and these behaviors.