So, recently I saw people that weren’t Alpha Phi sisters tweeting about an Alpha Phi recruitment video, and I was like “wait, what?” I looked into it and realized that I was at the tail end of a week long controversy surrounding the University of Alabama’s Alpha Phi chapter. “Oh my,” I thought to myself, “what have Bama sororities gotten themselves into this time?” I know that people just love to hate Bama, and that a lot of the negative press they’ve received in the past wasn’t because of things that actually happened, but because of facts being manipulated, if not completely overlooked, in order to tell the the story that people (mainly leftists) want to hear. If there’s anyway to make Greek Life sound racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise bigoted- especially at the University of Alabama, mainstream media is going to leap at the opportunity. But if it was on video, I thought this had to be serious. This couldn’t be another triviality blown completely out of proportion. Silly, silly me.
The original video had been removed by Alpha Phi at this point, but the Internet came through and I was able to view it anyways. I watched in anticipation for four minutes, waiting for the moment that had acquired so much attention and backlash. Were they going to flash? Did someone eat a taco, or even worse- wear a sombrero and oppress millions of Mexicans worldwide? Was there twerking involved? What on earth could have happened?
You can imagine my disappointment, and outrage after the four minutes had passed. I watched thesamerecruitmentvideo that had been done a million times by a million different chapters at a million different schools. The video featured a mediocre electronic dance song played over carefully shot clips of beautiful sisters being their staged candid selves. What on earth was so controversial about what was more than likely at least the thousandth video of its kind to grace the Internet? I found the article responsible for all of the drama as I tried to understand why on earth #AlphaPhi was a hashtag.
The op-ed is literally titled “Bama sorority video worse for women than Donald Trump.” Wow. Did we even watch the same video? Only a few words into the piece, I realized that this woman’s opinion had nothing to do with reality. This was about one woman’s (frankly deranged) worldview, and her virtually scolding young women she’d never met for daring to stray from it.
The author immediately takes issue with the fact that all of the women in the video are conventionally attractive, blonde white women. Where are the disabled black lesbians?! The trans* South American paraplegics?! The genderfluid Filipino hunchbacks?!
Now, I’ve always thought that sorority videos focused way too much on showcasing their hotness, and appreciated the ones that went out of their way to actually highlight their sisterhood. That should be done more often. But I’m not delusional. People are attracted to beauty. People want attractive friends, they want attractive lovers, they want attractive employees, and they want to be attractive themselves. Why are the overwhelming majority of people chosen for advertisements easy on the eyes? It doesn’t matter if they’re selling Dior or deodorant- we like looking at pretty people. So why should sorority sisters be vilified for using their aesthetic gifts to their advantage?
The author complains that they’re in bikinis, blowing glitter, and giving each other piggyback rides, when they obviously should have been holding book club meetings discussing the subliminal symbolism of Sylvia Plath and free-bleeding while running marathons.
A recruitment video is quite literally an advertisement. It’s about what people want and what people want to be. Even the most grizzly of feminists have to admit that at one point or another, they wanted to be “that girl.” We all wanted to be Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, not the unfriendly brunette- no matter who we actually are or how we end up.
I’m not blonde or very skinny any more, but I’m probably one of the hottest messes you’ll ever meet. I won’t get into details, but trust me. I can wear as little clothing as I want and embarrass myself at as many parties as I want, and any guy that actually knows me is going to respect me. Because having the tits out for the boys doesn’t mean I don’t know how to bring the brains out for my future. And just because you need hairy pits and a pantsuit to prove yourself to men doesn’t mean the rest of us do.