No, the University of Alabama's famous #RushTok hasn't been shut down
- #BamaRush TikTok became a wild cultural phenomenon last summer.
- But this year there's only been a trickle of TikToks, leading some to speculate sororities had cracked down.
TikTok users speculated that several sororities at the University of Alabama may have taken steps to ban prospective members from chronicling their rush experiences after last year's fall rush bonanza, which is why there's only been a trickle of rush videos in recent days.
But, it turns out, the problem is likely one of timing.
Alabama's rush technically only began on August 6 and will run through August 14, after which potential members will receive bids from sororities, according to Shane Dorrill, the assistant director of communications for the Alabama Panhellenic Association. (The APA oversees 19 of the University of Alabama's 24 sorority chapters, which total more than 7,600 members.)
The University of Alabama's fall rush is considered something of the Super Bowl of sorority life and can feel like TikTok's very own parasocial reality TV show; TikTok users guess which PNMs (potential new members) will receive bids from which chapters and rank their favorites.
Last year, #BamaRush, which is specific to Alabama, and #RushTok, which encompasses rush at other universities, became certified cultural obsessions. The hashtags include a slew of "what's in my bag" videos from PNMs detailing the makeup, snacks, and clothes they prep for a week of events; coordinated OOTDs that lean heavily into shades of pink and retailers like Kendra Scott and Shein; tours of extravagant themed parties; and PR-slick promo videos for chapters that might end in someone doing a backflip.
Fans went wild for RushTok, but the attention also exposed Alabama's monolithic sorority culture — members are overwhelmingly white, thin, and wealthy.
That led some to speculate that perhaps the school's Panhellenic council would try to put tighter social media reins on this year's rush cycle.
The APA told Insider it doesn't have a social media policy — for active or hopeful members – and doesn't limit what people post, so a ban wouldn't come from them — though it could come from individual sororities or chapters.
"Potential members are aware that social media is one of several factors individual chapters may consider during the recruitment process," Dorrill said, "and chapters may have social media guidelines for their active members." While PNMs aren't technically beholden to chapter rules yet, each chapter does have its own set of guidelines around what prospective members should and shouldn't post. OOTDs are usually OK, but posts detailing closed-door goings-on or chapter rituals are verboten.
@abelle21 RUSH THE BEST #phimu #bamatok #rushtok #pinkout @uaphimu ♬ sunet original - Raluca Dumitru
#BamaRush being less visible could also be a symptom of TikTok's mysterious algorithm. The platform's "For You" page, which is credited by many users for first discovering #RushTok, is curated by the app's algorithm — and it might not be favoring #BamaRush as energetically as last year.
TikTok did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
But a possible shift in the algorithm doesn't mean that a PNM's social media presence is any less important.
As Elise Wurtman, a former membership chair for the California State University-Long Beach chapter of Gamma Phi Beta, explained: "I know dang well that the number one topic of conversation going on at Bama Rush right now for the girls in rush week is 'you need to take better content, better TikToks, better photos, you need to have better outfits than all the other houses, and you need to be posting every day so much.' It is literally more serious than the NFL draft."
If you have tips or stories about #BamaRush or #RushTok to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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