It’s not as if it’s not hard enough being a teenage girl and potentially worrying about how you look compared to supermodels, actresses and your own classmates.
But at Issaquah High School in Washington, girls there know exactly what their peers think of their looks thanks to an online tournament called May Madness in which boys “pit their female classmates against each other and vote on who is the sexiest,” according to King5.com. The contest has been a tradition for the past five years.
Girl are urged to “look their finest” during the length of the tournament, which was inspired by a local sports-radio station that rates the attractiveness of models and actresses.
“This kind of thing is sexualizing us girls like we’re some sort of trophy,” said Devon Keller, a sophomore at the school, told King 5.
Because it’s not happening on school grounds, though, Issaquah High officials can’t put a stop to it. Last year parents went to the police and succeeded in getting the website shut down, saying it contained “vulgar and profane comments” under other people’s names, which is a crime in Washington, but the shutdown was only temporary.
Police continue to monitor the site, although the people behind it have made accessing it more difficult.
But while school officials and police can only do so much — where are the parents of the boys instrumental in running the site? Why are these kids allowed unfettered access to the Internet? And even if their moms and dads can’t monitor everything their sons are doing online, how are they not talking to these boys about the treatment of their female classmates and girls in general?
The parents of these kids are just as responsible. And is the school doing what they can do instead of worrying about what they can’t do? Are the boys being pulled together as a group and individually during school hours for deep and serious conversations about respecting girls?
These kids are not living in a vacuum. They are living with parents. They are attending school with adult supervision. This kind of a website ranking the sexiness of girls is harmful and until it shuts down, all boys at the school should be talked to as often and sternly as possible.
Photo credit: iStock
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