“Why is she higher than me?
A student activist speaking out against the purported sexism of a list that ranked and rated teen girls by their appearance expressed her disappointment at landing in the hundredth place, according to a Thursday CBS News report.
The list operated on a sliding scale of 5-10 and appended a number next to the name of each girl based on their sexual attractiveness.
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Some of the girls on the so-called “hot or not” list, which was created by their male peers at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, are fighting back against the issue of “male toxicity.” Speaking to ABC News’ Erielle Reshef for a report broadcast on “Good Morning America” Thursday, the activists said they felt objectified by the list.
“Mine was down to the hundredth place,” 17-year-old student Jane Corcoran said in reference to her ranking. “Seeing that was seeing all of your insecurities put together and put into a number.”
“Why is she higher than me? Why is she lower than me?” Corcoran added. “And you know these are all beautiful girls and why should you even have to feel like you have to compare yourself to each other?”
The disappointment the teens felt in reaction to school administrators’ decision to only punish one male student spurred them to take action, holding weekly co-ed meetings and lecturing underclassmen on the dangers of toxic masculinity. “We initially spoke with administration and began working with the creators of the list in order to design a kind of a school-wide approach to this issue of male toxicity in general,” student Lee Schwartz said.
The girls were particularly concerned with awakening their male classmates to a more progressive mindset, saying that patriarchal “culture has kind of raised them to not know.”
“I think our goal is not to approach this issue as victims versus victimizers, but more as we are leaders of this school,” Bethesda-Chevy Chase student Gabriella Capizzi said. “We’re seniors with two months left, and we can really make a positive change on the culture at this school, and not only this school but this society.”
18-year-old Yasmine Behbehani was proud of the group’s willingness to speak out. “I can guarantee this is happening in other high schools, but what makes us different, what makes this different, is that we took the initiative to stand up and say this is not right,” Behbehani said. “Because we need to make a change, and this boys will be boys culture isn’t a culture that needs to exist anymore.”
“We’ve had enough of being harassed, objectified, and viewed as less than,” student Virginia Brown said.
The girls’ initiatives reflect society’s increasing awareness towards issues of women’s rights, especially in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which shone a spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace. Feminist and progressive movements in particular have made pushes to beat back the purported injustices of a patriarchal culture.
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