I was talking to a high school friend who pledged a fraternity at his school on the East Coast, and in the midst of the conversation, he said, “TFM.” Confused, I asked, “What does that stand for?” Turns out, TFM is short for “total frat move.” He was baffled that I had never heard of the phrase, because it happens that it was made into a rather popular website (or at least popular in the East, Midwest, and South). He was so appalled that I had never heard the phrase, that he emailed me a link to the website (click here to see for yourself).
If you are going to peruse the website, here are some of the abbreviations you will need to know: TSM = total sorority move, NF = not frat, and GDI’s= God Damn Independents or students not in Greek life.
At first, I was interested by the website. It was like looking into a totally different, albeit obnoxious, world, but the more TFMs I read, the less intriguing and more offensive the site became. By the end, I was completely repulsed. I was going to try and describe the offensiveness of this website for those who chose not to click on the link, but I don’t think I could do it justice. Instead, I will provide you with a sampling of some of comments that grace the website (I tried to pick ones that conveyed the feeling of the site without choosing ones that were profane).
“I get pissed off when I can’t find the keys to my frathoe for 5 minutes. Can’t imagine how those GDIs are going to feel when they can’t find a job for their entire lives. TFM.”
“Turns out Obama and I do have something in common. We both love spending my dad’s money. TFM.”
“No sex on the first date, technically makes it the last date. TFM.”
“I’m in the law library with my fratdaddy. He’s studying corporations or something. I am coloring. TSM.”
“No. I am not concerned about my future. I am a 34D and bake cookies like you wouldn’t believe. TSM.”
Essentially, the stereotypical male poster on the site would have you believe that he is a guy from a high tier fraternity somewhere in the SEC with a huge trust fund who votes Republican, bleeds American, gets wasted everyday, and sleeps with hot women, whom he believes deserve about as much respect as the dirt he walks on outside. The stereotypical woman poster on the site is a hot Southern belle who concerns herself with 6 things: 1) her “fratdaddy”, 2) her pearls, 3) Lilly Pulitzer apparel, 4) Yurman jewelry, 5) sandwich-making, and 6) her MRS degree. She will survive on her family’s money and then her husband’s. Anyone who works hard (in school, in their job, in anything besides “fratting it up”), lives anywhere besides the South, doesn’t have a large trust fund, has different political ideas (a.k.a. is not a Republican), or isn’t part of Greek life is NF and therefore is to be relegated to below-human status.
As a member of a sorority here at Stanford, this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Maybe it is because I go to school in California (OH NO!), but these ideas seem ridiculously archaic. Being part of Greek life doesn’t make you automatically better than everyone else. Being rich doesn’t make you better than everyone else. What defines you is how you act, and the posters on this website act like arrogant fools. What makes me the most sad, however, is that this is all done in the name of Greek life pride.
Being stuck-up, uneducated, and misogynistic is anything but what Greek life is about. Joining a fraternity or sorority is not about status, it is about joining a group of people who will be with you through thick and thin, who will support you no matter what. If you look at the founding principles of any fraternity and sorority, you will find that these institutions are founded on bettering their members academically and morally and helping their members to, in turn, better and give back to the community. The posters on totalfratmove.com continue to perpetuate the stereotype of fraternity men and sorority women as dumb kids who only care about partying. Yes, parties are part of Greek life, but they are, by no means, the only part of Greek life. And they aren’t even close to the most important part of Greek life. Because when college is over and the parties are done, the friends that I have made will still be there, and I will still be a proud member of my sorority.