August 25th, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: email@example.com
Despite the popularity of the 2016 Delta Gamma video, the comments it received on YouTube and Facebook are full of anger and criticism, particularly from men. The comments typically characterize the women in the video as shallow, dumb, slutty, time-wasting, privileged, un-diverse, and ignorant. “I look forward to seeing how little each of you contribute to society,” ran one typical piece of user feedback.
The existence of the video was an excuse for viewers to lash out at what they deemed to be stereotypical sorority life. The Delta Gamma chapter defended themselves with a second video showing the local chapter’s work with the national Delta Gamma charity Service for Sight. But that video got only a fraction of the views of the first, and it seemed to convince no one.
The reaction to the Miami Delta Gamma video is a miniature version of the reaction to the recruitment video genre as a whole. No matter what the women in these videos do, they incur shame and backlash. One beautifully edited chapter recruitment video got the dismissive response of “more dumb whores.” The more professional the quality, the more the public’s reaction seems to be, “Look at these overprivileged [slurs] wasting their time, minds, and money.”
Earlier this week, another sorority, which used the same production company as Delta Gamma to film its recruitment video, wound up issuing a media statement in order to explain that the video only cost a few thousand dollars to make, rather than the exorbitant amount of money the public was ready to shame the sisters for spending.
The UT Alpha Delta Pi chapter video couldn’t have been further from this kind of aesthetic. It’s a grainy, simple, unedited vertical video with no production quality, just a roomful of girls cheering. Yet it brought on the jeering media frenzy just as quickly as Miami’s sun-soaked beaches and yachts.
Sorority girls just can’t win.
The sight of women bonding in loud, public, and overt ways has long been a threat to the established order of society. But sororities are demonized from both ends of the social spectrum: They’re attacked for representing what many perceive as regressive and outdated gender roles, and they’re attacked for representing the positive aspects of female community and “sisterhood.”
…This video functioned as a Venn diagram of things the internet loves to hate: selfie culture, millennials, and women. Sorority culture itself, by virtue of being young, female, and increasingly tech-savvy, seems to inhabit the center of this vortex. It’s not enough that sorority members face a litany of bizarre double standards compared with their fraternal counterparts while in school, even as feminists accuse them of contributing to their own oppression; they’re also in danger of being publicly shamed just for being in sororities.