Think of how terrible an influence the clip below must be on all the impressionable young girls surfing around YouTube watching … sorority-recruitment vids?
No, it’s not a slick Playboy Playmate or Girls Gone Wild video. It’s a sorority recruiting tool gaining on 500,000 views in its first week on YouTube. It’s a parade of white girls and blonde hair dye, coordinated clothing, bikinis and daisy dukes, glitter and kisses, bouncing bodies, euphoric hand-holding and hugging, gratuitous booty shots, and matching aviator sunglasses. It’s all so racially and aesthetically homogeneous and forced, so hyper-feminine, so reductive and objectifying, so Stepford Wives: College Edition. It’s all so … unempowering…
Meanwhile, these young women, with all their flouncing and hair-flipping, are making it so terribly difficult for anyone to take them seriously, now or in the future. The video lacks any mention of core ideals or service and philanthropy efforts. It lacks substance but boasts bodies. It’s the kind of thing that subconsciously educates young men on how to perceive, and subsequently treat, women in their lives. It’s the kind of thing I never want my young daughters to see or emulate…
During filming, did any of them stop to think about what they’d be selling? Did they think they were selling a respectable set of sorority chapter ideals? Did they think they were selling the kind of sisterhood that looks out for all women? Or were they focused on having the hottest video in the popularity contest that is sorority recruitment?
“Now or in the future”? If one of the women of Alpha Phi showed up at your office to apply for a job after graduation with a 4.0 and a double major on her resume, you’d have difficulty taking her seriously because she was once in a dumb sorority pledge vid swinging around a giant inflatable Tootsie Roll? Not only is this clip not terribly different from what other houses on the same campus are doing to drum up pledges, as the IJ Review notes, it’s less scandalous than what you’d find on the social-media accounts of probably half of America’s college students. The most outre thing they’re guilty of here is stripping down to beach-wear. And yet:
UA released a statement regarding the video, which has since been removed by the sorority, but copies of the video have gone viral.
“This video is not reflective of UA’s expectations for student organizations to be responsible digital citizens. It is important for student organizations to remember what is posted on social media makes a difference, today and tomorrow, on how they are viewed and perceived,” said Deborah Lane, Associate Vice President for University Relations.
How you feel about it, I suppose, depends upon how seriously you take fraternities and sororities. If you’d object to a frat pledge video showing a group of bros lifting weights and doing keg stands because it doesn’t show them engaged in philanthropic pursuits then I suppose Alpha Phi’s attempt to define itself as the campus’s premier hot-girl sorority is “problematic.” If you wouldn’t object to the former because you see Greek organizations mainly as vehicles for friends to party together and build professional contacts for life after college, then what’s the problem?
I’ll concede that the clip’s racially homogeneous, though. It’s at least as white as the masthead of your average liberal political website, or the last reunion of the 2012 Obama campaign staff.