The Problem With The Bama Video Is Not Women Throwing Glitter
When I first heard about the Alabama Alpha Phi sorority video and the resulting backlash, I was expecting nudity. I was expecting slow motion shots of pillow fights at the Playboy mansion.
When I actually watched the video, my first thought was “Have any of these critics ever heard of YouTube?”
These types of “Look how much fun we’re having! Join our sorority!” videos are nothing new. This video is exactly like dozens of others on the internet. They show members wearing their letters, hugging, welcoming new members, and yes, throwing glitter, to catchy pop remixes.
These videos are advertising. They are a way for PNMs (potential new members) to go online and see, in theory, how much fun they are going to have if they join that chapter.
Realistic? Eh. I am in a sorority and while we have fun, I will say I have never had a “girl-on-girl piggyback fight” with my sisters. But, has anyone ever actually splashed water onto themselves and smiled radiantly at their perfect skin in the mirror after washing their face?
Has anyone ever really tried a new brand of bottled water and suddenly found it within themselves to climb a mountain?
At least the women in the Alpha Phi video are just having a good time with each other, as opposed to, you know, sexually eating a sandwich. If you want to talk about misogynistic media, that might be a better place to start.
This video is selling the sorority, sure. The same people who would balk at that are the ones who cry out that sororities are just organizations to buy friends or go to parties. They are the same people who would ignore the fact that in 2014, NPC sororities raised close to $6 million dollars for their respective philanthropies. They watch this video and ignore the fact that these women exist outside of the four minutes of edited bouncing around and waving.
If you are angry because you assume that women cannot have mindless fun and be intelligent, that is not feminism. If you are angry because you see pretty blonde women and assume they are nothing more than“Stepford wives,” that is not feminism. If you are angry because you assume women cannot ever be taken seriously if they wear bikinis on camera, (all together now) that is not feminism. It reeks of victim blaming to tell these women that it’s their fault if men treat them poorly because they dare to wear what they want.
However, if you would like to direct your attention to a problem worth discussing, note that all of these women are white and ‘Bama has a notorious reputation for discrimination. Oddly enough, this is the issue that exists as the footnote in most outraged pieces about this video. It is not the main story; it is an afterthought to scolding women for showing off their bodies.
“Put some real pants on and read a book! Shame on you!” is the overarching theme to the criticism, not “Hey, there’s a race problem here we ought to shed some light on.”
I wish I could say I’m surprised.
Maybe when we start criticizing female organizations for their lack of diversity and not their clothing, we can progress. Looking down on sororities because you assume all of the members are the same thoughtless caricatures of women is not a step forward for feminism. It’s old-fashioned sexism. Women can be respected even if they flip their hair.
Instead of berating women for wearing booty shorts, let’s talk about the exclusion of people of color from Greek life (a problem that is hardly unique to Alabama). It’s an issue that runs much deeper than a four minute video of girls enjoying each other’s company. It’s the one that deserves center stage, not handfuls of glitter being thrown around in amusement.