A viral Facebook message, purportedly from a fraternity pledge to his female friend, is shining a spotlight on the creepy frat practice of “rush boobs.”
University of California San Diego Sophomore Rachel Friedman posted the message on Facebook last week. Friedman says the text is from a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity asking her to send him “topless pics” with his frat letters written on their chests.
She claims her original post of the message was deleted by Facebook, but a friend shared this screenshot which was still visible as of Monday afternoon.
We’ve reached out to Friedman and Facebook and will update if we hear back.
Friedman had previously met the man who asked her for the pictures at a “Free the Nipple” demonstration to promote gender equality, the Independent Journal reports.
“I am utterly disgusted with the fact that this fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, is trying to use the degradation of (womxn) to promote rush, and I am personally offended that I was even asked to do such a thing,” Friedman captioned her post, which has since been shared over 200 times.
The fraternity has since posted an apology on their Facebook page.
“Besides these few individuals, our chapter as a whole was not aware and did not have a part in this degrading action,” the fraternity writes. “Our chapter and Sigma Alpha Epsilon as an organisation does not condone objectifying women or the degradation of others for that matter.”
Here’s the whole apology.
However, this practice isn’t limited to just one frat.
“Since the dawn of the internet, fraternity members have been convincing girls to write ‘Rush (Insert Fraternity Here)’ on their boobs for promotional purposes,” Greek life website Total Frat Move writes of the practice.
Total Frat Move even keeps a running list of rush boobs on their site, dating back three years and including dozens of fraternities. In most of the photos, the women’s faces aren’t visible and they’re covering their nipples with their hands.
Tech Insider talked to another woman who was also asked for rush boob pictures during her first fall as a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2006. For the purposes of this article, she’s asked that we just refer to her as Brit.
From Brit via email:
He was rushing Theta Chi at UMass when I got the text message [asking for rush boobs]. I wish I had the actual text messages, but they didn’t transfer from my hot pink RAZR phone to the year 2015. He texted to ask me if I would be willing to send him a picture of my boobs – you know, because we’re ‘friends.’ I was shocked when I got the message. Initially, I had no idea how to respond because I couldn’t believe the question had even been posed.
When Brit told the friend “no,” his response was to ask if she had any other friends who might send him pictures instead.
“That was the last time I ever talked to him,” Brit told TI. “He’s now engaged and from what I can tell a contributing member of society, but I’ve never been able to look at him the same.”
That incident was almost ten years ago, so it doesn’t seem like rush boobs are going anywhere. A quick Twitter search for “rush boobs” will yield a mix of pro- and anti-rush boobs tweets.
We’ve reached out to the UCSD SAE chapter and will update if we hear back.
For now, here’s the latest from the SAE fraternity Facebook page. Looks like the brothers have been up to some more wholesome breast-related activities, sporting pink and raising money for breast cancer awareness.
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