Sorority Shaming: Can You Be A Sister And A Feminist?

by Kathryn Hensch

The University of Alabama’s Alpha Phi sorority made a recruitment video, like many other sororities do, and posted it to various social media outlets. What made this specific video different is how it was greeted –  with pretty intense backlash. Deemed “worse for woman that Donald Trump” by A.L. Bailey on, the video is a montage of attractive women laughing, blowing glitter into the air, and waving from various locations in slow motion. Bailey called it “hyper-feminine, so reductive and objectifying, so Stepford Wives: College Edition.”

College student Katie Sturtevant disagreed with Bailey strongly enough to post a defense of sorority life to The Daily of the University of Washington. Both Greek and a feminist, she feels these two spheres don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

“I am a woman, and I am in a sorority. If, on Monday, I want to wear bows in my hair and matching pastel dresses to take pictures with my best friends, I damn well have that right. If, on Tuesday, I choose to stay up all night with that same group of people studying for our neuroscience midterm, that is also my right,” she says. “That is what modern feminism is to me.”

“I’m pretty sure Mr. Trump wasn’t the one behind the camera,” Sturtevant continued, “telling these girls that he wouldn’t hire them unless they included a swimsuit scene. In my book, shaming these girls because of how they chose to present themselves in one video has the same intention as telling a woman she can’t be a doctor or CEO if she wants to have kids. The commonality is someone else pushing their idea of how they believe females should be behaving.”

As a feminist, I think you should be able to express yourself as you choose. If that means joining a sorority and wearing matching outfits, you should by all means do that. Though sororities are not my cup of tea, they do a lot of charity work and I admire the strong female bonds built within them.

However, there isn’t (from what I can see) a single non-white person in the video, or anyone whose body type isn’t thin. If the goal of sororities is female empowerment, maybe the best way to achieve that is to welcome anyone you feel a connection with, regardless of appearance. The issue at hand shouldn’t be how feminine these women are, but how only one black woman has joined a sorority at The University of Alabama in 50 years.

Watch the video at the heart of the debacle below:

Image and video via Silly Tricks on YouTube


Does This University of Alabama Recruitment Video Deserve All This Criticism?

University of Alabama’s Segregated Sororities Under Scrutiny

Michael Shannon’s Reading Of A Sorority Letter Will Have You In Tears

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