Released every Wednesday on all audio streaming services, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, and others, DONT LET THIS FLOP.
If you used TikTok at all last year, you were probably inundated with videos of flaxen-haired sorority ladies named Grayson, Brayson, and Kaydynn strutting their Shein pastel minidresses and everyday jewelry in anticipation of rush week on your For You page. It’s that time of year again, when hundreds of thousands of aspiring sorority ladies go onto TikTok as part of Bama Rush Tok to become brief internet sensations.
Bama Rush Tok essentially consists of videos of University of Alabama pledges (also known as PNMs, or prospective new members) posing for outfit-of-the-day videos for their week-long rush, which includes activities like philanthropy day (where you visit different sororities and learn what charities they support), sisterhood day (where you tour various sororities), and finally Bid Day, where you find out if any have made you an offer. In other videos, PNMs flaunted the contents of their Rush Week bags or detailed their strenuous social activities.
The videos gained enormous popularity for a number of reasons. One explanation is that many of the respondents appear to be from countries other than the United States, where there aren’t many images of Greek culture. Many others were also impressed by how similar the young women in the films appeared to be; they frequently wore Shein minidresses, wedge sandals, and had flat-ironed white blond hair. (Occasionally, there will be a brunette, whose sight is so unusual that it is likely to give frequent viewers fever dreams.) At the University of Alabama, where sororities reportedly only became formally desegregated in 2013, this uniformity is not particularly shocking, and many people have remarked on the racism and classism seen in several of these movies (the Greek life system is also incredibly expensive to participate in, with dues at Bama in particular costing up to five grand per semester).
People became very invested in Bama Rush Tok, and some of the lines they use to explain the origins of the various pieces of their outfit—such as the line “the jewelry is normal” or “identifying non-pants items sold at the Pants Store,” which turns out to be a chain of clothing stores with locations throughout Alabama—became memes very quickly. One tiny TikTok superstar, Makayla Culpepper,, broke thousands of viewers’ hearts when she disclosed she had not received a bid from any sorority that year, which sparked a flurry of explosive theories as to why. Other PMs went on to become famous in their own right.
People on TikTok are over the moon that Bama Rush Tok is starting up again as the start of the academic year approaches. One woman commented on a TikTok, “I don’t know what these films have to do with the life of a 33-year-old Canadian or whether they involve subliminal mind control techniques.” I have not felt genuine elation since this time last year, but all I know is that this is my Super Bowl, sorority rush time, whether it’s at Alabama University (sic) or any other similar university, anything where we’re going to acquire a clothing haul from the Pants Store, Shein, or Lulus.
This week on Don’t Let This Flop, a podcast about internet culture and news from Rolling Stone, host Ej Dickson and executive producer/Rolling Stone senior culture editor Liz Garber-Paul (replacing cohost Brittany Spanos) discuss Bama Rush Tok’s triumphant comeback, media coverage of Nazi furries, the popularity of the hashtag #PrinceOfPegging, the indie film that gave our guest of the week her first orgasm, and Himbo