An Open Letter to the Alabama Alpha Phi Girls Who Are Getting Virally Bashed…
I posted this on Facebook earlier today, and I am pretty sure no Facebook post of mine has ever gotten more “likes” & responses (both positive and negative, as to be expected). In reading the passionate responses and the great points that were raised from women of all ages, I realized I absolutely had to post about this subject on the blog. Not only is it an important message that I feel NEEDS to be shared, but I also have more to say than I said on FB earlier and I can only bare to be a minorly wordy Facebook ranter (lol)…
First of all, if you have no idea what I am talking about: I am addressing an article that was posted this afternoon by A.L. Bailey bashing a recent Alabama Alpha Phi recruitment video. The article has since gone completely viral, and has been reposted everywhere from Elite Daily to Hello Giggles and a thousand sites in between. When I first discovered the hateful article this afternoon I was pretty horrified, but as the day has gone on I have only gotten more upset and annoyed.
Bailey calls out the women in the video as being, “racially and aesthetically homogeneous and forced, so hyper-feminine, so reductive and objectifying, so Stepford Wives: College Edition. It’s all so … unempowering.”
First of all: GAG ME. The anger in all of those statements alone, all so completely unjustified and harsh, is the clearest example of blind judgement I have seen in a LONG time.
“Unempowering,” to innocently display a group of girls having fun, laughing with one another and showcasing their genuine friendships? In a YOUTUBE recruitment video? Give me a break.
And then Bailey goes on to say, “Meanwhile, these young women, with all their flouncing and hair-flipping, are making it so terribly difficult for anyone to take them seriously, now or in the future.”
And I’m just wondering — since when does “flouncing and hair-flipping” have anything to do with one’s intelligence and deservedness to be taken seriously? Can I just say that I, *oh, the horror* flipped my hair in a sorority video or two in college, and I also served as the Director of Fraternal Education in my sorority (Alpha Phi, represent) my junior year and formed bonds with the girls two years below me that will last a lifetime? The girls who I educated on all things Alpha Phi joined our sorority for countless reasons, including videos that showcased nothing but friendship and fun and the social side of a sorority (a huge aspect of college), AS WELL AS a full weekend of heartfelt and detailed speeches about our philanthropic efforts, our year-round service opportunities, our leadership positions, our lifelong support systems, and our genuine FRIENDSHIPS. Those girls, as well as the girls in my pledge class and everyone I encountered in Alpha Phi have helped me to this day with things from breakups to job applications to spreading the word about my book to helping me run events for my now business, The Balanced Blonde.
To try to judge the girls at Alabama University for one video and claim that it has anything to do with their brains, substance and tact is just Internet bullying at its finest.
One of my readers & commenters on my Facebook post wrote something that really struck a chord with me: “I served on the National Council for my sorority. I genuinely believe that women who recognize the real power that can be found in friendships shared with their girlfriends are healthy minded women.”
YES. Anyone who tears down women for being close with each other and showcasing their friendships has something seriously wrong going on (jealousy, perhaps?). I have come across countless women and girls in my life who make negative comments about certain other female friendships. I can truly say, after my years forming incredible friendships with intelligent women both in my sorority and far, far away from the college/sorority scene, that I would be nowhere without my friends. Nowhere. NOWHERE.
^ The girls in my pledge class & I joking around after Lip Sync one year… Yeah, you might say we look silly here & maybe even “UNEMPOWERING” (??) but we were having a blast and bonding and striking a funny pose (that I initiated, of course) after months of hard work practicing for our annual lip sync competition. And clearly we were flexible as f***. (lol), Do you spot me?!
That’s what being a woman and gaining respect is all about, right? Being happy with ourselves, supporting each other, helping each other grow and blossom and follow our hearts and kick butt in the world and bring our dreams to life. It’s certainly not about flipping the heck out about a recruitment video online. Recruitment videos are meant to be a fun, entertaining glimpse into what the social life of a sorority has to offer. I am more than positive these girls accurately portrayed their philanthropic & service efforts throughout the actual recruitment process and will continue to do so. But let’s not pretend here that sororities aren’t also about making friends and finding likeminded women to spend your college years surrounded with.
Another really wonderful comment (excerpt) from my extremely smart, talented, capable ANDDD Greek (literally and Panhellenically) friend Eleni on my FB post:
Further, our society has begun a positive movement to embrace an attitude that all women should love their bodies, regardless of what they look like. We encourage women to stand strong and feel confident, no matter what they look like. But the moment that a group of “stereotypically beautiful” women wear bathing suits, go swimming, and have fun with their friends, they are criticized for “selling themselves on looks alone, as a commodity.” Criticism from minds like A.L. Bailey put all women in a lose-lose situation.
So, what I’m really saying here…
Here’s what really pisses me off, and the only reason why I am writing this article: THESE POOR GIRLS. I mean, come on. How do you think it feels to be a girl in this video, 18-22ish years old and being BASHED on the Internet by some self-righteous stranger who doesn’t seem to know the first thing about true empowerment of women or, obviously, about recruitment videos? These girls in the video are probably devastated, and I shudder to think that they might be missing out on any opportunities or feeling poorly about themselves because of what this judgmental writer felt like saying about them.
“Worse than Donald Trump?” #GetOverYourself.
To Alabama A Phi, Love The Balanced Blonde
Dear Alabama Alpha Phi girls,
As a subject of some pretty vicious “viral bashing” myself (when I transitioned away from veganism), I know what a toll it can take on a person’s psyche when strangers on the Internet are out to get them. For that reason I will put THIS out there instead: You beautiful (inside and out, duh) Alpha Phi girls killed it in your video. It was well-edited, you put a lot of time and effort into it, and I think it turned out awesomely well. And because I was in a sorority and I know all the layers there are within recruitment, I KNOW that you did & will continue to do a phenomenal job getting the philanthropic, supportive and sisterhood messages out there to potential new members as well. The video is a very small slice of what Alpha Phi has to offer, but from what I can see… It was just a bunch of girls laughing, having a good time and showcasing their genuine friendship.
You deserve to be taken seriously, regardless of the “hair flipping” and football field dancing you partook in in the video. (By the way, that looked like a lot of fun to me.) Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are anything less than intelligent, capable, worthy of respect and gorgeous inside and out. You will learn so much from your years in Alpha Phi and in college, and you will go on to take the world by storm. You can have fun AND study hard, you can go to parties with your friends AND engage in service opportunities, you can forge lifelong bonds with your sistas and other girls in college AND pursue what you’re passionate about in the process… The amount of FUN you have has nothing to do with your capabilities and academics. I know you already know this, but after the recent negativity you may need to have it reiterated.
And being white / blonde / brunette / long and lean doesn’t make you (or your sorority sisters) racist or aesthetically homogenous. That is just silly and blindly ridiculous.
Don’t let the bashing get to you. People will get over this nonsense and move on to the next “groundbreaking” viral bashing topic. I hope that being the subject of such negativity doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself (you all roc), and gives you a little more compassion next time you see someone else being unfairly targeted on the Internet or in real life… Step in, make your voice heard, you are strong independent women and you deserve to stand up for yourselves and for others who end up in a similar position.
PS– Whoever put in the time and energy to edit this 5 minute long video, I give you props. I know how long that takes!!
PSS — I have been hated on by plenty of Internet trolls, and the cruelty gave me a tough skin & showed me who my real friends and supporters were. Find the positivity in this situation, because there is certainly a lot of it.
PSSS — to the girls rushing sororities at Alabama and at EVERY school this Fall… look for GENUINE people who you can see yourself being friends with, learning what your passions are with, and getting to know yourself as you grow up & grow into adulthood with. That’s what sisterhood is all about. Look past the videos and the frills and the details of recruitment– engage with the people, talk to the girls, find out about the leadership and service and academic and social opportunities. Everyone in and out of a sorority knows, plain and simple, instincts are everything. Don’t let the Internet trolls’ craziness turn you off or on to a particular sorority house.
Jordan / A fellow woman who values how important it is to be open and empower women for who they ARE, where they are going, and the massive potential that they have.
* Sorry if this whole post comes off as a little angry, but when someone on the Internet verbally attacks a group of young, impressionable girls for being part of their sorority recruitment video… I am going to stand up for them. Always. Not cool!!!