A Washington high school’s “hotness tournament"
that ranks female students' attractiveness has sparked massive outrage, especially among local students and administrators.
Teenage boys at Issaquah High School set up an online competition called “May Madness,” in which they rank their female classmates based on perceived attractiveness, according to local news outlet King 5. Some students have even encouraged the young women to “look their finest” while voting takes place.
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But many locals are disgusted that such a spectacle exists, claiming it objectifies women and sexualizes minors.
“This kind of thing is sexualizing us girls like we're some sort of trophy,” Devon Keller, a sophomore at Issaquah High School, told King 5.
At a time when young women are arguably most self-conscious about their looks and body image, the tournament can only harm a teen's self-esteem, others said.
“Almost every teenage girl has self-esteem issues,” student Tristan Robinson told King 5. “And doing something like that is absolutely ridiculous.”
King 5 reported that the tournament is similar to a contest a local radio station holds, which ranks female models and celebrities.
This is the fifth consecutive year teens have taken part in the competition, despite that school administrators have condemned it. The issue is because the contest is not organized on school grounds officials have little power and cannot ban it.
“It's hard,” district spokesperson Sarah Niegowski told King 5. “It doesn't feel good to anybody.”
Parents were able to halt the tournament last year, albeit temporarily, when they filed a police report claiming girls were being cyberbullied on the controversial website. At the time, police threatened to arrest anyone making vulgar or profane comments under other people's names, which is a crime in Washington.
This year, however, "hotness tournament" organizers have made accessibility to the website harder
, according to local station KTNV.
Police are reportedly still monitoring the website and pursued anyone suspected of being involved in the competition.
“These are pretty smart folks behind this. They know their first amendment rights. They're very quiet about who it is and the group behind it,” Niegowski said.
Regardless if the perpetrators get caught, locals feel the damage to students' feelings has already been done.
“People who might already have depression might take it further and there's no way to know what's going on,” student David Mahoney told King 5.
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