This past Saturday was Bid Day for the sororities at the University of Alabama, and so the women at Alpha Phi released a Bid Day video, intended to serve as a recruitment tool for all the shiny-haired, strong-toothed gals looking to pledge Alpha Phi. It is ridiculous. It’s like a misguided scroll through the #squadgoals hashtag, a slickly-produced paean to white clothing, icy blonde hair, one-piece bathing suits and the Crimson Tide. It’s insane, but it’s also amazing, a piece of work that somehow manages to be a neat parody of itself, like the world’s most perfectly executed “SNL” skit.
There’s frolicking, there’s laughter. There are those inflatable pool floats that look like swans and Tootsie rolls being thrown in slow motion into a lake off a wooden pier. There’s sisterhood. Friendship. Glitter. Mirrored aviators. The video is not particularly engaging, but is still mesmerizing – and it’s caused an internet backlash so strong that the sorority has made all of their social media channels private and deleted the video.
The criticisms lodged against the video are most succinctly summed up by A.L. Bailey, writing in AL.com:
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.
While it’s true that the video is blindingly, laughably white and so blonde that the few brunettes present stand out like specks of dirt on your brand new Keds, there’s nothing outright offensive about it. But when you step back and remember that the University of Alabama had been criticized in 2013 for excluding black women from pledging four of their sororities, it all starts to make sense. The entire Greek system hasn’t been getting such great press lately, and God forbid it crumble beneath the weight of its own outdated and terrible policies.
Here’s what a University of Alabama spokeswoman had to say:
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.
This year’s rush, for what it’s worth, was a teensy bit more diverse than in years past, according to a statement from the university. Best of luck to those “214 minorities” that rushed and accepted bids. Stay strong.
Original by Megan Reynolds @mega_hurt