Local sociologist weighs in on female social groups - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Local sociologist weighs in on female social groups

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The theory is that some people seek to segregate themselves. The question would be why. Cultural connections are important. A local sociology professor says it's natural for women to connect with like-minded people. She says it's difficult to determine when that natural tendency to segregate becomes something more cynical; like discrimination.

She would not weigh in specifically on the UA sorority situation. But she did give some insight into why women gravitate to certain social groups.

"We like to have people in the same age group. Women who are socially similar to ourselves. And what I mean by that is usually the same social class, often the same neighborhoods, the same backgrounds,"said Patricia Drentea.

Patricia Drentea is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She says women typically have a strong desire to belong.  Drentea says women are open to forming new relationships with other women.

"Women like to belong to groups. They like to have friends. They view their friendships as very important," said Drentea.

If that is the case, what  would make a group of women block another woman out of their social circle? and how likely is it that race would be the determining factor?

"Research in sociology shows that the cattiness among women, and they actually use that word, is usually in a situation with very low power and control. So when women have more power, whether it's education, social or income, they're less likely to be catty," she said.

And race?

"I think race does matter. People tend to be more comfortable with people who are like them. And we're still at a place in society where we are not all completely integrated," said Drentea.

Still, Greek life varies from campus to campus. Denny Bubrig is the director of Greek affairs at Samford University. He knows events like the one out of Tuscaloosa do nothing to help the image of Greek-letter organizations.

"Greeks as a whole already have a lot of negative stereotypes. And in some way it's really disappointing because they do a lot from a philanthropic stance," said Bubrig.

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