They say you know a sorority daughter when you read one, and son, have I appreciated some lately.
If you were scrolling TikTok at all this past week, it’s likely that your For You Page was at some degree taken over by college freshmen at the University of Alabama, most of them showing off their organizations of the day( OOTDs ). While OOTD videos are not new, these were all for a very specific event: sorority recruitment, better known as rush week.
One user’s OOTD for hurry-up week.
Approval: screenshot: TikTok /@ ebbabyyy
Another ordinary OOTD example, from a different used.
Approval: Screenshot: TikTok /@ reeseboo1 1
#BamaRush, as it’s competently labelled on TikTok, has stolen the hearts of unassuming TikTok sees everywhere. The videos themselves are simple: college-aged maids going garmented for their occasions, showing off their outfits and calling where each dress, shoe, and accessory come back here. It’s frilly and phenomenal, and it’s impossible to look away.
Several aspects tie these videos together. Firstly, every referred garb item seems to be from the same( expensive) supermarkets and firebrands. Kendra Scott, Steve Madden, and Throbs Store( which, contrary to the name, sells more than heaves) are the Alabama rush uniform. Secondly, all of the girls drop some very confusing lingo, including Philanthropy Day, blacklisted, Old Row, Pref Day, and PNM.
And thirdly, almost every of the #RushTok primary courages are white wives.
Yes, the grandeur and environment of Alabama’s rush process is undeniably fun. And after approximately 18 months of offset episodes( including rush at Alabama last year, which was entirely virtual ), it’s thrilling to see college students get dressed up to have some innocent recreation while participating in school lores. But TikTok’s obsession with Alabama’s sorority recruitment has paved the way for the next tendency: explainer videos on the racist and elitist autobiography of Alabama’s Greek life.
OK, which is what is run? And why do we care so much about Alabama’s?
Sorority recruitment, aka rush, is supposed to be a reciprocal selection process where girls who are interested in joining Greek life visit each chapter on their campus, at contests often called “parties.” At each of these parties, the potential new members( PNMs) chat with the current members to learn about their organizations in a highly orchestrated move of speeches.
After each day of parties, the PNMs submit a ranked schedule of every sorority they saw, from the ones they’d most like to join to the least. The sororities too grade every single girl their members talked to, from the ones they’d most like to join to the least. A mysterious algorithm then analyzes these lists to best join them up for the next day’s events. The roll gradually diminishes over the working day, until each girlfriend is hopefully left with her ideal sorority match.
The University of Alabama’s rush process is extremely integral to not only campus culture, but American college culture as a whole. In short, Alabama does it best. The clas has 18 Panhellenic sororities, with 7,600 active members, according to the Alabama Panhellenic Association. Each of these organizations pulls out all the stops every hurry season, hoping to attract the best and brightest gals to their organizations. And the physical orientation of colleges and universities, in Tuscaloosa, AL, is home to a long line of Southern sorority lores.
Basically, the world of Alabama Greek life is super secretive, swelling, and exclusive, and the sheer whodunit of such a glamorous process can’t help but be interesting. Whether you participated in Greek life in college or “ve never” even are aware of it, the TikToks taking over FYPs everywhere give sees in on a little bit of the fantasy, told through the lenses of the girls going through it themselves in what feels like a reality TV show.
Meet Makayla, TikTok’s biracial run queen and the impetus for anti-Alabama rush videos
As the events of rush week happened, various girlfriends kept reappearing on many users’ feeds. While the majority of members of them were the aforementioned grey dames, user @whatwouldjimmybuffetdo, whose first name is Makayla, quickly became a fan favorite as one of the only women of color on #RushTok. She clearly identified herself as biracial, after some commenters alleged her of using tanning plots to impel her scalp darker.
Makayla affixed the same OOTD videos as everyone else, and seemed to be enjoying the surge process. But after completing most of rush, she informed her followers to give them know that she had been dropped by every single sorority on campus. She would not be receiving a bid due to rumors of a video that testified her underage imbibing, which broke the strict recruitment regulates. Makayla went on to address the video in her TikToks, saying that she was not in fact imbibe in it and she was unfairly eliminated.
This cued the onslaught of appraisal against Alabama’s rush process. While it’s true that countless dames do get cut during the process, the seemingly unjust dismissal of Makayla reminded several Greek life alumni of the often racist diplomata that sororities use to choose PNMs.
“We have to keep the same energy across the board, We have to apply the rules the same to everybody, ” said TikTok user and Alabama Phi Mu alum Marissa Lee. “We can’t have current trends where, if you’re going to be a woman of color or if you’re going to be a different person in an environment, then you have to be above reproach, then “youve got to be” exceptional.”
While we can’t know if Makayla’s racial identity had anything to do with her run demise, it’s hopeless to ignore the glaringly racist predispositions of Alabama’s sororities. According to NPR, Alabama’s sororities weren’t desegregated until 2013.
Read that again. Black women were not allowed to join Panhellenic sororities at the University of Alabama until eight years ago, likely under the antiquated rules of their national organizations. And in less documented worlds, the social standards that dictate who concludes it into the “best” sororities at numerous universities often leaves out anyone who isn’t white and wealthy.
“The top mansions know who they require before anyone even strolls in their entrances, ” said TikTok user Cedoni Francis,a Vanderbilt University alum speaking more broadly about Greek life. “Because these are the girls who parties have gone to summer camp with, these are the girls that people have rode mares with their entire life-time, these are the girls you go to high school with. Elitism multiplies elitism.”
Francis also shows how the classist dues and punishments formations forbid low-income students from joining sororities and “the members statute” that forbid non-white members, leading to a lack of economic, ethnic, and ethnic diversity in Greek life everywhere.
The problem isn’t merely with Alabama’s sororities, and the TikTok craze should reignite a bigger conversation about Greek life culture.
This isn’t the first time the issues of racism, classism, and sexism have surfaced in the Greek life panorama. Around June 2020, several universities saw the Abolish Greek Life movement gain traction on social media due to members being put forward with narrations of obvious discrimination and sexual assault merely constructed possible through Greek life’s culture.
“People of coloring drop out of recruitment and out of “the organizations activities” at disproportionate proportions due to the systemic oppression and ethnic cruelty that they experience as part of these organizations, ” predicts an Instagram post from @abolishnugreeklife, the detail conducting the free movement of persons at Northwestern University. “No number of[ diversity and inclusion] shops is gonna fix that.”
While some of these universities did examine certain Greek sections close their openings as a result of the movement, countless remained open and operating without much reform — all of Alabama’s periods among other issues. With this most recent fascination in Alabama’s sorority scene and the written examination into Greek life’s seeds, it could be a chance to once again seriously discuss the consequences of Greek life’s structures.
“Greek life should be abolished for more grounds than eliminating marginalized families, ” reads an @abolishgreek_alabama announce. “Even if you had a great experience with Greek life as national minorities, you are complicit in a system that endangers students and continues onslaught , sexism, alcoholism, elitism, and homophobia among other things.”
Yes, the apparels are pretty and the Southern drawls are enchanting, but when Alabama’s rush season concludes and the reality TV show-like haze has filched, we won’t be retaining the white women who got offers to their dream sororities. We’ll be thinking of girls like Makayla, who are able to simply be the latest victim of decades-long racism, and said he hopes that the TikToks that explain why this happens can start the path towards change.
Read more: mashable.com