Online “May Madness” Contest Ranks “Hottest Girls” at Seattle High School
Forget about “March Madness”; it’s all about “May Madness” at a Seattle high school, and it has nothing to do with basketball, or any other type of sports for that matter. Unless, of course, you consider rating who’s hot and who’s not a sport.
The competition, which has been an annual event for approximately the past five years, uses a bracket system to rank the school’s 64 “hottest girls.” Students view photos of the contenders and then they vote on them. During the voting period, girls are encouraged to "look their finest" at school.
Last year’s contest began with the message: “Sluts and Gentlemen, who's excited for the 2012 May Madness Tournament?!? Ladies, you have less than a month to make the final cut so make sure to work on that tan over spring break!! (Remember you can never look too slutty)”
Needless to say, many parents, school administrators and students (a girl’s name can be entered in or withheld from the contest without her permission) are not happy about May Madness.
“Almost every teenage girl has self-esteem issues,” student Tristan Robinson said. “And doing something like that is absolutely ridiculous.”
District spokeswoman Sarah Niegowski said the contest “doesn't feel good” to anyone.
So why hasn’t it been shut down? Because the creators are anonymous. Last year, the contest's Facebook page had a direct link to voting, but this year it does not. School administrators have been unable to determine who is behind it. Additionally, since the site is operated anonymously and independently off campus, school administrators don’t have much authority over it.
My first reaction when I heard about May Madness was disgust. And then I felt really disappointed. While there are plenty of female-empowerment messages and anti-bullying campaigns out there, our society is still placing a ton of emphasis on the importance of “being pretty and hot” on women. We have “most beautiful” lists and beauty pageants and advertising campaigns that sexualize young women. Until these cease to exist, degrading contests like May Madness will continue to exist.
What do you think about the competition? Is it harmless or is it harmful?