If you haven’t seen the University of Alabama Alpha Phi’s recruitment video yet, drop everything and go watch it now. Is the video even real? No, really—please tell me it’s an SNL spoof or something.
I try my best (I said try) to keep my opinions to myself about the Greek system, because I’m fully aware that I’d offend, oh, just about every one of my friends. But this is now getting national media attention, so I consider it fair game.
Holy shit. It’s disgusting. It’s degrading. It’s nothing new, but still. It’s an embarrassment to the school, the state, the sorority, and the women.
It’s not like this was something filmed with an iPhone as a fun, weekend activity. This shit was planned and produced as a real recruitment video! Someone actually went out and bought the glitter and blew up the Tootsie Roll (yes, pun very much intended) and selected the blondest and skinniest girls to be the stars.
But let’s say the women filmed this recruitment video to actually recruit new members instead of making a College Girls Gone Wild commercial. Really? Piggyback rides, football, and bathing suits are your strengths? Because man, if there was one thing I loved about college, it was prancing around in a bikini with other women. Sign me up, Alpha Phi!
Last I checked, college was for getting an education. You know, so that you can adult properly when you graduate. And be a contributing member of society. I’m not saying that these women aren’t intelligent, but they’re not exactly shouting, “Look at our collective GPA! Join our sorority!”
Women should get to college and confidently walk into an engineering or tech class, not feel like they need to dress up and get bid on like a show pig. Because remember, if you want to be a part of the Glitter-Blower’s Club, you need to be chosen.
What are we teaching our children? That girls need to be skinny and blonde and pretty and white to have a good college experience? That an MRS degree is totally acceptable because a wealthy fraternity brother will whisk you away into the sunset in his white BMW?
Take a look at Kate Parker Photography, for example. She created the photo series called Strong Is the New Pretty and does a phenomenal job photographing her daughters looking their strongest. And the result is incredible. These girls are grimy and athletic and pouty and beautiful beyond words.
And then you may remember the Like a Girl campaign from last year’s Super Bowl. How can you not watch this video and get all the feels?
This is what we need to be teaching our future generations. It’s beautiful to be seen as smart and messy and goofy and strong. It’s important to be seen for the person you are, not as a sex object. You are worth way more than the sorority you pledge.
I hope girls everywhere pay attention to these campaigns and look at the videos and photos and think yes, we can look this way and feel confident. I hope that women continue to push back against being objectified. And I really hope that the girls in the Alpha Phi video look back and think, “Hey, maybe that wasn’t the best idea. We’re better than that.”
Full disclosure—I’m writing this with a strong anti-Greek system bias. I went to the University of Alabama, so I experienced this madness firsthand. Or rather, secondhand. I wouldn’t have dreamed of rushing, nor would any sorority have let me cross the threshold of its sacred fortress. I was called a GDI (Goddamn Independent) (Damn right I was!) and was told I couldn’t hang out with Greek classmates outside of class or go study with friends in their sorority house. And if you’re wondering, no I’m not bitter at all. I think the whole thing is laughable and sad.