Following a controversy over a recruitment video from the Alpha Phi chapter at the University of Alabama, sorority members nationwide have taken to Twitter to push back against critics.
The Alpha Phi clip, originally posted on YouTube, showed sorority members hanging out in bikinis and running around various locations appearing to have fun. It did not appear to feature any alcohol, let alone anything illegal. The video was dubbed "worse for women than Donald Trump" in an op-ed posted on local news site AL.com last week. The piece compared the video to "The Stepford Wives" and noted a lack of diversity among members at a campus still dealing with segregation issues, especially in the Greek life community.
Alpha Phi took the video down after the AL.com column but did not make a public statement. Meanwhile, a University of Alabama spokeswoman condemned the video in a statement as "not reflective of UA's expectations for student organizations to be responsible digital citizens."
Women started pushing back online Tuesday and Wednesday, defending the chapter with the hashtag #isupportalphaphi. They talked about how a short video couldn't capture everything a sorority stood for or how the video was just a fun representation of the organization, and expressed their support for Greek organizations.
According to Total Sorority Move, the #isupportalphaphi hashtag grew out of discussions in The Cooler Connection, a Facebook group for sorority members across the country.
Sororities typically post recruitment videos on YouTube to generate interest ahead of rush and to attract more women who might want to join.
Many sorority members noted there wasn't much difference between Alabama's Alpha Phi video and other "ridiculous" recruitment YouTube clips made by other sororities. One example is this one posted Monday from the Alpha Phi chapter at the University of California, Berkeley, which doesn't have bikinis, but does have a cute squirrel 11 seconds in:
Katherine Timpf, a National Review Online reporter and former sorority member, called the Alpha Phi video "hilarious" and wondered how it had become national news.
"If those women want to present themselves that way, that's their choice," she said during a Fox News appearance.
The critics seemed to suggest the women of Alpha Phi at Alabama couldn't be "beautiful and intelligent and philanthropic," wrote College Candy's Stephanie Petit, also a former sorority member. She added:
Let’s think of the audience to this video. It wasn’t meant to be seen by 50-year-old men who have nothing better to do than look at sorority videos on YouTube. It was meant for potential new members (PNMs) thinking about joining their sorority. When you are 18 years old and entering college, you’re looking for a social life as well as an educational experience. Who would want to watch a five-minute video of a bunch of girls studying in the library or sitting in class? What the PNMs will think when they watch this video is not “Wow, these girls don’t do anything of substance.” They will see a group of women who love to spend time together and can have a good laugh (even when they’ve probably been filming this video for hours).
Other writers who weren't in Greek life, like journalist Kiara Imani Williams, opined, "You know what's worse for women than Donald Trump? Other women. ... It's like feminism now requires all women to take on this responsibility of making sure every woman across the globe approves of her actions."
A copy of the Alabama Alpha Phi recruitment video can be seen below: