Across the United States, many young women come into college hoping to join a sorority. For some, Greek life is a fun, positive way to create lasting friendships and find a “home” on campus. However, underneath the facade of smiling “sisters” in matching T-shirts sometimes lies the dangerous world of hazing, slut-shaming, rape culture and a slew of other unjust practices.
For Lucy Taylor, a 2020 college graduate, her experience in Greek life was not the supportive sisterhood she had hoped for.
After rushing and receiving a bid from her dream sorority, Taylor was loving her new “socialite status,” as well as the parties and friendships that accompanied it. However, the summer after joining Greek life, things started to go downhill for her.
Taylor posted a bikini picture in the summer of 2017 that would start the long battle between her and “sorority world.” When Taylor’s Instagram picture was deemed “scandalous,” she was faced with harsh rules, sexist policies and little support from her brand new sisters.
This was not the first time Taylor had felt alienated and uncomfortable in her sorority, and it wouldn’t be the last.
In the fall of 2017, Taylor was raped by a fraternity pledge. While her sorority sisters sympathized with her, it seemed to Taylor that sexual assault was far too common within the Greek system. To many girls, blurry consent and rapey situations were “normal,” and what Taylor went through was “just another Friday night.”
As Taylor’s experience in Greek life began to hurt her in more ways than one, she made the difficult, yet necessary decision to disaffiliate and move out of her sorority house mid-semester. However, her story doesn’t stop there.
Since leaving her sorority, Taylor has been persistent in her efforts to seek justice for herself and bring awareness to the dangers of Greek life that exist everywhere.
Taylor became the host of SNAPPED, a six-episode podcast series where Taylor gives us the uncensored truth about her experience in Greek life, including why she left and the aftermath that accompanied her decision to “desisterize.”
Taylor said she’s known since 2018 that she wanted to tell her story, as she felt the cultural silence from her school and society in general about how toxic these organizations can be was deafening. The only question was how could Taylor tell her story?
Initially, SNAPPED was a web series that featured interviews with other people who went through similar experiences within the Greek system. You can check these out on Instagram at @snappedthepodcast. Taylor began filming the webseries in 2019, but ultimately decided that it didn’t feel right and wanted more time to reflect on, as well as gain distance from her experience before she shared her story.
“This podcast would have looked a lot different if it was released two years ago,” Taylor said. “I’m a lot more detached from the situation now and that has definitely helped a lot.”
Taylor studied abroad in the fall of 2019, and she took a class on podcast production, which got her interested in using that platform to tell her story.
Using a podcast studio abroad, Taylor began converting her webseries to a podcast and incorporated the storytelling techniques she had learned in class. After multiple years of brainstorming, filming and building the confidence to share her story, episode 1 of SNAPPED was released on May 14.
Although Taylor has always been determined to tell her story and seek justice for what happened to her, it was often difficult for her to be so open, especially with the knowledge that her former “sisters” might be listening.
“I’ve prepared myself for [negative feedback],” Taylor said. “But I honestly expected a lot worse. I thought I was going to be called a slut and a liar, but overall there’s been really positive feedback. A lot of people have messaged me that they really relate or went through something similar.”
Some of these positive responses have been from those who have decided not to join Greek life after listening to SNAPPED, which Taylor says is the ultimate goal of the podcast.
While she understands why people choose to participate in Greek life, Taylor firmly believes that Greek life as a system is flawed.
“Even for those people that think they might have a good experience [in a sorority] or have had a good experience, what’s more important to them?” Taylor said. “Their personal experience? Or the overall harm that these organizations cause?”
On her Instagram, Taylor brings awareness to the many injustices that surround Greek life, including those that she has not experienced personally.
At many schools across the country, initiatives have been put in place to educate members of Greek life and hopefully reform this prejudiced system. Taylor, however, believes the only real solution is to abolish Greek life entirely.
“I think [Greek life] needs to be overthrown and built from the ground up,” Taylor said. “No matter how many diversity chairs or workshops there are, these organizations are built on sexism, racism and classism.”
Five episodes of SNAPPED are currently available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and the final installment will be released in early August. A Q&A episode will come out following episode six.
Taylor hopes to continue with SNAPPED in the future and plans on releasing a second season. This season will likely feature the stories of individuals who were also failed by the Greek system, as well as interviews with some of Taylor’s friends who played a role in her journey with Greek life.