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Deconstructing a TFM Detractor

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TotalFratMove receives a lot of criticism. Student newspapers and blogs across the country chastise the site for its supposed negative portrayal of Greek Life. Meanwhile hypersensitive officials (as if there’s another kind) from fraternity and sorority nationals and alumni boards view the site as a PR nightmare.

I stumbled across one of the aforementioned student newspaper articles this morning on my daily link search and felt like I should clear some things up once and for all. It’s my opinion that most of, if not all, criticism of TFM is based off of misunderstanding and miscommunication instead of anything valid.

Here’s a link to the original article, written for The Reflector, a student publication at Mississippi State University.

As a member of the Greek community, people have asked me what it is like to be a member of a sorority. My experience in a sorority has been beyond amazing. I have been able to maintain friendships with not only members of my sorority but with members both of different Greek organizations and independents.

That’s awesome, it sounds like our Greek Life experiences were incredibly similar. I wonder where this seemingly thoughtful and insightful article is going…

The websites Total Frat Move and Total Srat Move are not a good representation of the Greek community.

GUUUUUUHHHHHH. Well there goes all hope I had for this column. Also, TotalSratMove isn’t its own website (nice research), it’s a subsidiary of TotalFratMove, because it’s female AND ALL THINGS FEMALE ARE BENEATH THEIR MANLY COUNTERPARTS! BOOM! TmotherfuckingFM!

(*Runs across the office, high fives Roger Dorn, punches hole in the wall with erect penis*)

But seriously, this “TFM/TSM doesn’t accurately represent the Greek community” theme is so fucking tired. I almost feel bad that I’m singling out this column in particular since there have been so many just like it from all over the country, but I guess I’ve reached my tipping point.

Here’s the deal: TotalFratMove/TotalSratMove is a COMEDY website. We are here to make you laugh. That is our mission first and foremost. I admit we do infrequently publish articles with a more serious tone, such as Xan’s articles about America that give many of our readers such a patriotic hard on that the columns could almost be considered erotic (I call it “patriotica”). But the overwhelming majority of our content is meant to highlight the ridiculousness and hilarity of Greek Life more than anything else. Am I aware that some people could construe the site as more than that? Yes, but those people are idiots and I’d prefer not to cater to people who are too dense to understand sarcasm and satire (well, except for right now I guess).

A person who takes TFM as a literal representation of Greek Life is a painfully oblivious and naïve soul. It’s the equivalent of watching the movie “Slap Shot” and assuming that that’s exactly what being a hockey player is like. TFM takes the extremes, absurdities, and some of the truths of Greek Life and puts them together and/or exaggerates them for your entertainment. It’s baffling to me that I have to explain this.

TFM features a wall, columns and photos dedicated to Greek life. The website pokes fun at independents and boasts that Greek life is the best thing ever. TFM makes the Greek community look like snobs who only care about those affiliated with their organization.

Let he or she who has not mocked a GDI cast the first Frisbee.

Yes the website makes fun of GDIs, but it also makes fun of other Greeks, ALL. THE. TIME. I’ll agree that self-deprecation isn’t exactly our strong suit (although I like to think that I personally practice it often), but have you read a Fail Friday column? How about the piece I wrote about guys who try way too hard to be fratty? How about the hundreds upon hundreds of comments pointing out and mocking other try hard commenters? Again, the research put into this column is stunning. But I appreciate the lack of thought put into this article and the opinions within because they serve to prove my point that anyone who actually wants to sit down and think about the website would realize what the content really is. It’s comedy, not some ever lengthening Greek manifesto of supremacy.

There’s always going to be a certain level of entitlement and superiority felt amongst Greeks. But that’s as much the byproduct of being a part of an exclusive organization/system as it is the result of 18 to 22 year olds thinking like 18 to 22 year olds. That’s not exactly the most self aware age group, no matter who they are or what they belong to. It’s also worth considering that older Greeks (juniors and seniors) are generally less partisan in their views on Greek Life than their younger counterparts. People grow up. Obviously they still love their houses, they’re just less likely to force fuck their opinions into your ears.

Some of the posts are funny and not derogatory.

Because it’s a comedy website. I’m glad you find some things on the site funny. Obviously I don’t expect you or anyone else to find everything on the site funny. If people found every single thing on the site funny I wouldn’t be having comment induced stress blackouts every time I post a column.

Oh God… was that last sentence funny? Should I write something else? Someone’s gonna call me NF, I know it I just know it.

(*passes out, pees pants*)

However, most of the posts make Greek organizations look like they believe they are superior to other groups on campus.

I can pretty confidently say that if you objectively compared most Greek houses to other student groups in terms of organization, philanthropy, grades, campus contribution, size, camaraderie, and a number of other things you would find that they are, in fact, quite literally superior organizations. I assume however that you’re still complaining about the Greek snobbery, you’ve already stated this same thing two other times, let’s move forward.

Several wall posts on TFM include “Awe, she only thinks she is in a real sorority” and “Explaining Greek life to a GDI is like explaining quantum physics to a 5 year old.”


Good research too, because I don’t really have anything to say to the first one (which I believe was actually a TSM), that thing is bitchy as hell. It also plays well with your “they only care about people in their own house” claim, you should’ve put this right after it. That said this is also a pretty perfect example of TFM/TSM highlighting an extreme of Greek Life for the audience’s amusement. Just to reiterate, that is an example of an extreme, not the everyday attitude of the majority of Greeks.

The second one made me chuckle, because, you know, it’s a joke.

It is quite difficult to explain to anyone what it is like to be Greek to anyone. However, from my own personal experience, I did not even know what it was like to be a member of the Greek community before I pledged Delta Gamma.

You didn’t know what it was like to be a part of something until you were actually a part of it? Shocking.

Growing up, I never thought I would join a sorority due to the portrayals of the Greek community in movies.

Well that was probably the best way to go about forming your opinion on Greek Life since movies never lie or exaggerate, and of course neither does the Internet, which his why this column is totally necessary.

It was not until the spring semester of my senior year of high school did I decide to rush. One of my friends didn’t rush until her junior year of college because she was afraid to go through rush due the stereotypes of the Greek community.

Why is it okay to base your opinion of Greek Life on stereotypes when it isn’t okay to do that to any other groups? At what point is it ever acceptable to judge anyone based on secondhand snark instead of firsthand interaction? This whole article is basically attacking the closed mindedness that Greeks are apparently guilty of in places like TFM all the while asking the reader to feel empathy for the closed minded attitudes of those outside of the Greek community in regards TO the Greek community. What the fuck? Seriously?

College is where one should find his or her own happiness regardless of whether the Greek system is for them or not. Everyone has a different experience with the Greek system; for some it works out, and for others it does not.

Agreed. No argument here.

However, what makes TFM different from the movies is that members of Greek organizations are responsible for the cruel comments. No one is representing their letters appropriately if they are showing a bad attitude toward any group.

Well aside from the fact movies like “Animal House” were actually written by fraternity men you do realize that this is the Internet right? The Internet, as in the land of reckless assholes who can do and say what they please with zero repercussion. Cruel comments are not exclusive to TFM (although our commenters certainly have a flair for evil). The point is that people are total and unrepentant dicks in every corner of cyberspace. That includes Greeks, GDIs, Albanian pornographers who claim that I don’t have the “it factor” they’re looking for in a webcam dancer…everyone.

This also plays a major disadvantage to those uncertain about the Greek system.

If people are conducting the bulk of their research and forming opinions about Greek Life based on fictional films and mean, anonymous comments on the Internet then their major disadvantage is that they’re really fucking stupid.

One column claimed the campus police were not serving and protecting but rather were a step above a mall cop. Greeks seem to believe they are above authority in the columns. This is very disrespectful because the campus police face many incidents every week.

Campus cops suck ass, I support that column and its author’s opinion 100%. As far as Greeks thinking they’re above authority, that’s certainly not technically true but it’s pretty fun to feel that way after you get out of trouble for whatever reason. I bet there are GDIs that feel that way and brag about it too, just a wild guess.

An advice column on TSM suggested that every senior should skip class on a sunny day and go drink at a local bar’s patio.

Yeah, they should, they’re seniors. Go have fun while you can. Once you graduate you can’t skip work at 2:00pm on a Tuesday to down margaritas with your friends, well unless you work for Jimmy Buffet…or TFM. And to be fair, Tom Petty basically told everyone, Greek and GDI alike, to do the exact same thing, so in the interest of fairness I’d like you to complain about Tom Petty for a paragraph in your next column. I don’t care who you are, you’re in college, live it the fuck up.

TFM and TSM do not do justice on showing members of the Greek community are studious.

We’re back to not doing research, huh? Here’s this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this. That took me a grand total of five seconds to find.

There are plenty of TFMs and TSMs about grades not mattering as well, but those are what we call jokes.

TSM makes Greek girls look like they are on a manhunt for a frat boy who drives a Land Rover just so they can get an engagement from Tiffany’s. Bragging about having Lilly Pulitzer dresses and Tory Burch purses on a website does not make anyone more special than an independent.

This is certainly true and probably one of the more valid criticisms of TFM/TSM. That said it still only tells half the story. If you had bothered to make yourself more familiar with the site you would know that the TSM wall is also home to a ton of the positive, self empowering posts on the site too.

Total Frat Move is just a website that makes the Greek community seem like it is cruel

If you are dumb and read it literally, then yes, yes it does.

and thinks it runs the whole campus.

Apparently some stereotypes are true.

Being a member of the Greek community is a great experience filled with charities, friendships and unity with other organizations.

And drinking, raging, sex, ridiculousness, etc. Which do you think make for the better jokes?

However, the bad representation from TFM does not show what the Greek system truly is to those who are not affiliated with a Greek organization.

And if those people truly have an interest in finding out what Greek Life is all about they should get off their lazy asses and go and find out about it instead of apathetically browsing the internet and forming their opinion based off one comedy website. Maybe after they properly inform themselves they can come back to TFM and start getting the jokes.

Follow me on Twitter @BaconTFM

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