I have a confession to make: I, a Jewish girl from Long Island, who went through sorority recruitment almost a decade ago, have ended up on University of Alabama sorority rush TikTok. And I’m absolutely fascinated by it.
Then again, this is like the Olympics of sorority rush. These girls are the quintessential southern sorority girls on steroids. I mean… The headbands. The head-to-toe Shein outfits paired with Golden Goose sneakers. The way they say “philanthropy.” It’s all just so next-level.
I’m far from the only one going down this neon-filled rabbit hole.
Creator @LucyMassam_ posted a TikTok speaking for all of us when she said, “I am so invested in this process and it fascinates me so deeply because I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.”
Don’t get me wrong—I went through sorority recruitment at a “Southern” school back in 2012. I know all about the mandatory Panhel shirts, eventually losing your voice, 24/7 snacks, and more than anything, being terrified to utter the words “See you tomorrow.”
But ~back in those days~, no one had ever heard of Shein, let alone Revolve, and we sure as hell did not have TikTok where we posted our OOTDs. Come to think of it, we didn’t even know what an OOTD was; we were too busy adding five different filters to one Instagram post, but I digress.
If anything, TikToks like these highlight just how far we’ve come from the days of Total Sorority Move, American Apparel zip-ups, and sorority Tumblr accounts. And Avicii. Always Avicii.
I mean, my pledge class’ Bid Day shirts were literally yellow pinnies. Meanwhile, these girls are decked out in sparkles, sequins and more pink than I’ve seen in my entire life—and they’re taking over TikTok.
As Taylor Lorenz, technology reporter at The New York Times explained on Twitter: “Last year we didn’t have a rush season because of COVID, so this is the first post-TikTok boom Rush season and I feel like that’s why it’s all over your (and everyone else’s) fyp!”
What has fascinated me about these TikToks is not only the amount of preparation these girls—both in the sororities and the ones going through recruitment—are putting into it, but also how they’re so willing to share every detail with the world.
The Greek life system has been clouded in secrecy for decades. (What was less of a secret? The racism, sexism, and a host of other issues that have been prevalent throughout it for years—but that’s an article for another day.) But part of why I think we are all loving these TikToks is because they’re giving us a peek behind the curtain.
From what I can see, rush at Alabama seems like such a far cry from my experience in a sorority almost 10 years ago. I can’t say I remember my exact outfits as a freshman, but if I had to guess, it involved a lot of ripped skinny jeans, black, and those Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties. I guarantee you there was not a Teva shoe or pink sparkly cowboy hat in sight.
Their outfits are like the Met Gala for Americana fashion with a Gen Z twist. They’re all decked out in LoveShackFancy and fake designer jewelry from Amazon. There’s no in-between.
It’s not just the outfits, either, although that’s a big facet of what’s so captivating about the trend. They’re also sharing what’s in their “rush bags” (Longchamp, always), complete with portable fans, umbrellas, and of course, Kleenex.
And as for the sororities? They’re going viral. They’re showing off their houses, the type of girls in the house, and even how creative they can get with a candy theme. GreekRank who? We don’t know her.
Even though we didn’t have TikTok when I was going through rush, we did have Facebook and Instagram, and I can’t even fathom the thought of someone posting details about their outfits or even a smidge of how they were feeling about the process. Imagine posting a Facebook status upset that you were cut from Kappa?! Shudders.
Everything was top-secret, and don’t even get me started on how tight-lipped we had to be once we were on the other side of it (lest you get in trouble with… a group of your peers with basically made-up titles). Like, no, we just liked lining up in alphabetical order for the fun of it, don’t worry, and it’s a total coincidence that you were paired up with someone who is friends with your best friend’s roommate.
If you, like me, are also far beyond legal drinking age, I’m sure these videos even provide a drop of nostalgia, too. You’re getting a chance to live vicariously through these girls, even for a few seconds, albeit with much better hairstyles and a better grasp on color theory.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sisterhood round of videos to watch.
Image: Al Drago/CQ Roll Call / Getty Images