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AXO Makes A Jezebel Uh-Oh

I love my big

I love my big

The website Jezebel started a trend of posting ridiculous emails and handbooks from sororities with an email from the Alpha Chi Omega chapter at University of Southern California. To add to the list of infamous AXO emails, Columbia’s own chapter has been featured with a leaked handbook for Recruitment Week 2014-2015. The handbook totals at 30 pages, including an exhaustive list telling each member how they should look and act during Recruitment Week in order to attract new recruits.

Among the many requirements and suggestions in the handbook, a few stand out for being excessively intrusive and demanding. In the beauty department, the author swears by putting Vaseline on every body part as well as avoiding the “natural look” for hair. The members are also offered a detailed list of options for what they can wear during recruitment and, dammit, it better be coral, white, or mint. As if that wasn’t hard enough, you need to have your outfit approved MONTHS before recruitment.

In terms of how the women should act during recruitment, AXO wants you to have your best game face on when it comes time to catch prospective members during Recruitment. Members should have down pat their speech on why to join AXO, and they are encouraged to attend workshops to refine their “heart sell.” Finally, members are absolutely required to attend recruitment events, and the sorority even asks its members to not get mad over all of these demands. The handbook reads, “Please refrain from attacking us as individuals or becoming personally offended if we ask you to wear something else, change your hair, wear more makeup, etc. For 361 days of the year, I do not care what you wear. These 4 days, my team and I have the final say.” Whatever you say, boss.

The authors of the Handbook via Shutterstock

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  • Disgusted says:

    @Disgusted This is 100% objectification. They’re being treated like prize pigs at a state fair.

    1. Emma S. says:

      @Emma S. I agree with the “vaseline on every body part,” especially around your butthole. His d*ck slipped right in!

      1. Anon says:

        @Anon Wait, Emma S., you weren’t mentioned in Obama’s speech tonight. Still a better reason to file a rape charge than the one you gave.

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous this is amazing

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Not true!
      Livestock at a state fair is mostly left to its own devices, and gets something in return.

  • Sorority girl says:

    @Sorority girl Emphasis on “361 days of the year I do not care what you wear.” Sorority recruitment keeps being taken completely out of context, how things happen during recruitment is not representative of the rest of the year or of being in a sorority. And the appearance/dress codes are simply because we want to look put together and like a cohesive unit. You wouldn’t go into a job interview dressed in a t shirt, or show up to a date smelling like ass. Same exact concept, but apparently when it’s an organized recruitment process involving women it becomes a problem.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous You are definitely a self-selecting group and you obviously have the right to wear what you want and look put together. That is your choice, and the individuals in AXO chose it knowing what they were getting into (for the most part). HOWEVER, that doesn’t change that this document is highly indicative of some disturbing trends in the greek system. First of all, the fact that natural looks are not allowed because they are apparently not ‘polished’ looking is just absurd. There is nothing less professional or polished looking about natural hair. This just further enforces the ridiculous white standard of beauty which, AXO as a pretty accepting and open place in general probably doesn’t intend to be doing.

      Secondly, the cost of all of these items combined could become really steep really fast. If a sister doesn’t, say, have a wardrobe with these ridiculously specific mint, coral, and white garments (and nude heels and flats and/or wedges and red dresses, and professional pedicures and excessive amounts of vaseline etc…) she has to buy them. After paying annual dues.

      Columbia is not the worst in this country by far on this. Nor is AXO the worst in this university probably. But it’s still indicative of some cultural problems of the sorority system. Food for thought…

      1. Good lord says:

        @Good lord “food for thought” are you a 50-year-old conservative on Facebook

      2. AXO says:

        @AXO Since you aren’t in AXO and are only hearing what Jezebel and Bwog choose to tell you, you dont know that the natural hair rule is flexible for women of color who don’t want to or otherwise find it hard to style their hair according to the ways outlined in the handbook.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous What about non-WoC who don’t want to do their hair? Is this easement only allowed for them?

      3. Sorority girl says:

        @Sorority girl I think these are the criticisms that people inside and outside of the Greek system should be making, not bitching about Vaseline and matching outfits. I personally do acknowledge recruitment costs can escalate quickly in addition to dues, and that is something we as a community should work on, in addition to making our chapters more inclusive to women of color.

      4. Sorority girl number 2 says:

        @Sorority girl number 2 While I do agree that there are criticisms to be made of greek organizations as a whole, it’s so ridiculous to ridicule women who are just trying to look their best for an event that is important to them. Women are shat on when they don’t meet societies absurd beauty standards and they’re shat on for letting those standards guide their form of dress. Members of AXO have already discussed the “natural looks” thing at length and it was never intended to mean that WoC (or even our nonWoC members with kinky or extra curly hair) could not wear their curls but that they should make sure it didn’t look like they rolled out of bed– meaning wear product. Yes there are costs and yes those are things that need to be discussed for greek organizations as a whole– since no sorority has lax policies on recruitment attire– but the reality is that AXO (and I would hope other chapters as well) is very aware that its sisters come from diverse economic backgrounds and do work with its members to lessen the economic burden while promoting inclusion as much as it can within the recruitment process (the nice thing about having over a hundred sisters is having over a hundred closets to raid and borrow from).

        Also, vaseline is a gift from whatever god you believe in so idk why it’s suddenly against feminist values (at least those of jezebel) to encourage its use.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Jezebel is for the lowest common denominator of pseudo intellectuals and serial activists.

    Probably barely even makes it into Emma Sulkowicz’s favorites bar.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I don’t see the problem with having to get the clothes months in advance in the case that people would have to return/exchange them. I don’t see the problem with wanting to look your best for something that is probably the most important event for your group. I will agree that there is an issue with the whole “natural looks not being polished” but I’m pretty positive this was just some naive word choice. This is in no way comparable to Theta’s fuck up, and I feel bad for AXO for being lumped into the same category just because some washed up psudo-intelligent site posted about them. Cultural appropriation is no way on the same level as just wanting to look and act your best to impress recruits. Shame there’s a sister in the group who would tarnish her sorority’s reputation just for a cheap joke :/

    Also, wtf, everyone knows vaseline is godly, calm down and just get with the program already.

  • JM says:

    @JM i like hottt girls. when and where is recruitment, may i watch?

  • Theta is worse says:

    @Theta is worse Poor AXO. By NO means is this as bad as Theta appropriating culture. Their website/tumblr/ instagram has hardly any diversity. Theta is racial point blank and I would join a sorority where appropriating culture is “fun”…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Killing yourself for AXO recruitment must be what being on Columbia Football feels like during every practice…

    1. AXO's not even cool... says:

      @AXO's not even cool... if it were actually a football team it would be Columbia

  • confused non-greek says:

    @confused non-greek why is this news

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous “non-greek”

      ok lol sure

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous can someone explain the concept of paying to have friends? not trying to be rude, but i never understood. especially when this type of vapid superficiality is part of what you’re signing up for

    1. srat life says:

      @srat life The problem is you are under the impression all a sorority is is social hour. We do more than just socialize with each other, we support various philanthropic organizations and the larger columbia community. Women in sororities do things other than their sororities and have friends outside their sororities, some people do join for the social aspect but more so they join a sense of community in a school notorious for having a lack of community. I can say joining a sorority hands down made my college experience enjoyable and I don’t know where I would have ended up without it.

      1. golden says:

        @golden Agreed, there is a lot of good that can come out of a sorority! Confidence, poise, social tact, money for good causes, community and more. Definitely the only thing that kept me at Columbia University when I wanted to leave.

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Not a superfan of Greek orgs in general, but got to agree that even a subpar sorority does more philanthropy than, say, Beta (who have officers who never heard of their own national’s credo).

      3. Oh please says:

        @Oh please Like anyone joins a sorority for its philanthropic projects

    2. fratty mcfratterson says:

      @fratty mcfratterson While I’m not mad at the accusation of “buying friends,” here’s how I’d put it:
      If you and your friends wanted to throw a party, you’d all have to chip in a little bit to pay for drinks, snacks, etc.
      If you guys all shared a social space that was yours, maybe you’d want to chip in for a stereo, maybe a new TV, things like that.
      Maybe in a goofy kind of way, you think it’d be fun to have t-shirts that reference your group of friends, so you guys all chip in for that.
      I think in none of those circumstances, anyone would accuse you of “paying for your friends,” but the above examples are exactly the kind of expenses greek life have.

      See how that works? While from one perspective it does admittedly look like the greek system is about “paying for friends,” and I won’t deny that the financial obligations of frats and sororities unfairly discriminate against those without the means to fulfill them and that’s an issue that should be addressed, the dues of frats and sororities reflect the costs that those institutions encounter when trying to put on events and do stuff for their members.

      1. Hmm says:

        @Hmm Yes, but the examples you provided indicate some sort of prior friendship, which is generally not the case with sororities. You hardly know any of your sisters before joining (excluding recruitment, where you only get to know them superficially). So really, you are paying to make friends.

      2. YT says:

        @YT And then, you and your friends could only let certain people join (it helps to be white and fairly wealthy), subject your new friends to demeaning hazing rituals, and even have a significantly higher percentage of sexual assault allegations levied against you than people who aren’t in your circle of friends! Sounds like a blast to me.

      3. greek says:

        @greek It’s true that many go through sorority recruitment without knowing anyone and are somewhat blindly committing themselves to an organization they must pay to be a part of. However, at least in my organization, new members aren’t required to pay dues right away which gives them a chance to feel out the sorority and make sure it’s the right fit for them. Sometimes a girl drops out before initiation into full sisterhood and that’s fine (our organization or Greek life in general isn’t going to click with everyone), but in that case, they usually haven’t paid dues yet. I definitely agree that sororities lack diversity, but it’s a problem some of them have genuinely been trying (and admittedly somewhat failing) to address. Perhaps such problem-solving needs to take place within a larger sphere of Columbia than just individual organizations.

        Side note – I can say for certain that my organization has zero tolerance for any hazing whatsoever. I hope ‘YT’ is incorrectly assuming such practices take place in Columbia social sororities and doesn’t have actual knowledge of hazing, as that would be extremely disturbing to me. However, I do acknowledge that social fraternities tend to have problematic hazing rituals, along with some multicultural Greek organizations and sports teams.

  • sororgirl says:

    @sororgirl It doesn’t matter that this is AXO’s handbook. It could have been any sorority’s handbook. The fact is that this kind of handbook is reflective of sorority recruitment on a national scale–it’s archaic, fake, over the top, and held to a completely different standard than Fraternity rush. The sorority recruitment system needs to be amended or eliminated.

  • vt says:

    @vt For real tho: if any AXO girl wants hit me up I don’t care if your hair is like you just rolled out of bed heres my number 2126631708

  • Confused says:

    @Confused Why is this so scandelous? If you were going to interview for a job you were really interested in, wouldn’t you do your hair and makeup and try to look your absolute best? Presenting yourself well isn’t something that should be shamed… I agree that some parts of this handbook seem a little harsh but it seems to be taken way out of context and everyone who is adhering to these guidelines signed up for it. I don’t understand the problem?

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