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Sorority Rush TikTok
via TikTok @jocloud / via TikTok @whatwouldjimmybuffettdo

Why are we all suddenly obsessed with sorority rush TikTok?

The University of Alabama’s Greek recruitment process has gained a huge following online through pledges and sorority sisters, all documenting the surreal performance of the ultra-feminine upper-middle classes

Over the past week, TikToks of sorority girls rushing at the University of Alabama have dropped onto millions of For You Pages across the world. Since then, the university culture has exploded across the internet with users questioning what “jewellery normal” means, crying when Mckayla was dropped from every house, and celebrating when Hannah made Zeta

Popularly referred to as #BamaRushTok and holding over 65 million views under its hashtag on TikTok, the trend follows university students at the biggest Southern American universities as they navigate “rush” – the sorority recruitment process where students compete with each other to get an acceptance, or “bid”, to a sorority. 

Normally, rush is a packed seven-day schedule of Greek-themed events where PNMs (potential new members) participate in short interviews with sororities until they narrow down to one final house. For the University of Alabama, which has the largest number of Greek system members in the US, recruitment is an extremely intensive and – to outsiders – fascinating process.

“I thought Olympics Tokyo 2020 was serious,” commented one TikToker. “No! Bama 2021 puts them Olympic athletes to shame.”

Most of the videos documenting the school’s sorority rush feature white, blonde students showing off their OOTD with a number of pastel dresses, statement earrings, and platform sandals from brands like Shein, Kendra Scott, Lululemon, Michael Kors, and Steve Madden. Other videos include short vlogs about their days and musings on topics like whether to curl or straighten their hair.

Many commenters on rush TikTok have called out the Alabama sororities for their obsessive beauty standards and lack of diversity, which highlights the racism and elitism in Southern sorority culture – University of Alabama, itself, was only desegregated in 2013. 

“Is Bama all white? I’ve seen a million of these and everyone is blonde with blue eyes,” stated one user in the comments. Another commenter wrote: “Where’s the diversity? Are Black women allowed to rush here? No hate, I’m just confused why it’s all one colour.”

One user, 19 year-old Makayla, a fan-favourite of the rush TikTokers who is also a POC, was dropped from all sororities on campus due to a video of her underage drinking. While most sororities do hold restrictions on underage drinking, many commenters voiced their opinions that her rejection was tied to the higher standards and racism experienced by POC in Greek life. Accordingly, Alabama sororities and fraternities were only desegregated in 2013. 

Other commenters, however, have shown support for girls, following along with their rush experiences, encouraging them throughout the process, or sharing nostalgia for their own time in sororities. Elsewhere, a number of non-Southern TikTokers have posted their own parody OOTD videos, teasing the Southern accents and preppy outfits. 

Check out some of the Bama rush TikToks below.

@hannahdubb

it’s been a crazy day and week, but here is the bid day ootd and my forever home❤️‍🔥 #greenscreenvideo#GetYourJeansOn#fypシ#gata#rushcrush#ranhome

♬ Waiting For Heartache - BLVKSHP
@mar_lifebelike

No one can dim the light from within 👏🏽 @whatwouldjimmybuffettdo ##justiceformakayla ##bama ##bamarush ##tea ##lookingatyouBama

♬ original sound - Marissa Lee
@jocloud

RUSH PHI MU #bama #rush #phimu 💖💖💖💖💖💖

♬ Potential Breakup Song - Aly & AJ