I will start this editorial off by saying that the following passage is by no means directed or related to the Washburn chapter of Alpha Phi in any way.
This past week, the University of Alabama Alpha Phi chapter released a recruitment video online to draw in new members for the fall of 2015. Subsequently, the video received so much criticism that not only did the Alabama Alpha Phis take the video offline, they also deleted or made private all of the chapter’s social media accounts.
The video, which runs about four minutes long, takes a short tour through the Alabama Alpha Phi sorority house, showing only white females with almost uniformly blonde hair, and is followed by various scenes of sorority members dancing in bikinis and team spirit clothes, blowing glitter around, and flirting with the camera.
This depiction of sorority life, which paints a picture that only white, Barbie-doll-perfect women are allowed to join this sorority and forget about school, work, and accomplishing anything that women have striven so hard to accomplish, is what sparks outrage with many, myself included.
A critic from AL.com has gone as far as saying that the recruitment video was “worse for women than Donald Trump” and labels the Alabama Alpha Phis as “poster children for detrimental stereotypes and clichés”.
While I cannot say I would go as far as to say that the Alpha Phis’ video is as misogynistic as Mr. Trump, I will go as far as to say that the video certainly does not empower the women of Alpha Phi. My understanding of Greek life, especially at Washburn, is that yes, it is an opportunity to have fun, but also to learn what it means to become an outstanding member of society, to learn to actively seek ways to better one’s community, to network and gain an edge both in one’s school and career, and to gain brothers and/or sisters in ways never known before to recruits.
The Alabama Alpha Phi’s recruitment video has disappointed the aspirations I have for Greek life, leaving me with nothing but a few women in swimsuits dancing and blowing kisses at me, and a very unrealistic view of sorority life. No books were opened, no communities were helped, and no professionalism was present.
Griffin Meyer, the male student filmmaker behind the recruitment video, has been quoted as saying that the creation of the film “was not very organized and there was a lot of improvisation that led to shots with similar looking girls.”
When even the filmmaker responsible for the sorority’s recruitment video complains about a lack of professionalism and diversity on the Alpha Phi’s part, there is indeed a need for a makeover for the Alabama Alpha Phis.
In looking at Kappa Sigma fraternity’s national recruitment video, the difference is stark. The video opens streaming the words “Fellowship, leadership, scholarship, service” and goes on to boast statistics about the fraternity’s size, depicting men of all races attending and hosting events, wearing all varying types of clothes, swimsuits and business attire included, and contributing to the societies around them, all while having fun.
Even the Ohio State University Delta Gamma chapter’s recruitment video is a one-up to the Alabama Phis. The video at least depicts the sorority members studying, working on homework, and reading books around the sorority house before jumping into a dance scene.
I now appeal Alpha Phi’s national level to work toward redeeming their Alabama chapter. Instead of declining to comment, issue a response of any kind, be it video or statement. Sweeping the past mistakes under the rug is only the first step.