Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research

Faculty Sponsor

Dacia Charlesworth


Fraternity members constitute a large percentage of men who hold highly influential jobs in politics, large corporations, and the like. Since fraternities are limited to men-only, it is important to examine how masculinity is both rhetorically constructed and subsequently performed. Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE), the fraternity with the largest amount of chapters nationwide, is the focus of my analysis. Its popularity among college campuses signifies that its recruitment is successful and that, regardless of initiation into the fraternity, many men (and women) view TKE as an example of masculinity. In my analysis, I examine TKE recruitment videos from various universities that span the Northeastern, Southern, Midwestern, and Western regions of the United States. My analysis identified five markers that indicate an abidance to hegemonic masculinity, or the varying construction of the “ideal” man that is impossible to fully achieve: dominance (ascendency), sexual objectification of women, heteronormativity, alcohol use, and recreational movement of the body. These markers demonstrate how TKE’s sustainment of hegemonic masculine ideals is problematic to society as a whole given the influence of fraternities beyond campus borders.