Did TFM Just Outsmart Everyone Else?

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Wait. What?

How did this happen? How did I, a fraternity professional, find myself retweeting Total Frat Move?

Since birth, TotalFratMove.com (TFM), has been the bane of every higher education professional’s existence. The website glorifies most of what gets fraternities on the news or off a campus and I’ve had pretty much nothing to do with it. Although my engagement with TFM  has been limited, it was more because I grew out of the humor than because I was trying to make some sort of statement in solidarity with the Fraternal Values Movement (more on that battle here).

The war has been long, and as far as I was concerned, TFM had shrunken from a powerhouse worthy of opposition in everything we did to a blip on the radar worthy only of the occasional, “remember when. . .,” joke. It began with national organizations successfully having their letters removed from TFMs website and culminated in the ultimate battle over a movie.

TFM was to film parties at fraternity houses across the country, but the funding didn’t materialize and national headquarters threatened expulsion to those men who participated. Suddenly, those students signing their living quarters up were pulling out, saying, and this is almost an actual quote, “I don’t want to be a GDI (a term for those who choose not to join a fraternity) just to be in a TFM movie.” Check-mate. . . or was it?

[READ: The first TFM post that brought fraternity/sorority professionals to our knees]

Twice this year I’ve seen my colleagues brought to their knees, posting one of two stories published by TFM. The first, a letter from a fraternity man regarding suicide. The second: the post you see highlighted in my retweet at the top of the page. To use just one more acronym. . . WTF is happening?

How can we possibly revolt against the revolting aspects of TFM when they are posting such endearing content? They are posting actual fraternity moves, as many of us on the other side would describe them. Dare we continue to tarnish the name and reputation of a website that is kind of on our side?

The argument against TFM can, at most, be: Most of what is on there is terrible. . . but not all.

Even though the terrible side of TFM is pretty terrible; they advocate for things that have occasionally ended in death, we can no longer denounce the site as a whole, and that is a weakness they are sure to exploit.

This hits the point of why the fate of fraternity and sorority cannot simply be “to chug, or not to chug.” TFM rose out of our student grassroots, searching for one organization or publication preaching the benefits of brotherhood over the benefits of the latest anti-binge drinking pep talk.

Hell I even read a TFM post about a chapter giving one final “eff you” to their headquarters with a stupid rush video. At the end of the post the writer, this is on TFM, ended up suggesting that the Headquarters was probably glad to have gotten rid of the group based on that video alone. Most of the comments agreed or suggested that those men were “tools.”

They are posting actual fraternity moves, as many of us on the other side would describe them

I feel like these guys are on my side now, too!

The reality is, our students want an opportunity to bond and network, and they are slowly starting to realize that the professional side of fraternity and sorority is desperate to offer them anything but just that.

We are eager to address whatever social cause is most important on our bucket list under the assumption that our students will do whatever we say because we have the power to pull the rug from under them. It’s not quite as shady as that; we actually do care to improve our organizations, but no one has an effective approach that’s crossed the tipping point.

If there is anything to be feared from the sobriety of TFM’s recent posts, it is that they who pay the piper are finally calling the tunes. There are actual discussions happening on TFM as opposed to a bunch of sheep commenting, “Nationalz sux!” In fact, if we want a debate regarding the fate of Greek Life, Total Frat Move may be the only website (aside from this one) where that debate isn’t completely one-sided.

Then again. . . have you read most of what’s on TFM lately?