I feel some righteous indignation coming along.

Earworm: Precious Jerusalem by Blind Guardian. Hardcore song about Jesus’ love for Jerusalem despite their unbelief.The Soulforged, from the same album (A Night at the Opera) is about Raistlin Majere, the archmage of the Dragonlance setting.

This blog was brought to my attention by a female student. This blog hosts a “survey” that took a random sample of male students and asked them to rate the girls in their batch according to attractiveness.

Of course, not everyone rates “high” (we don’t even know how the results were tabulated and computed), and only the 20 “highest-rated” girls were put in that ranking. Even worse, another blog said this:

Also known as Class Funds Awards.

We reconized the top 20 females in the batch according to beauty.

Other random boys in the batch rated the girls from 1 – 5

1 – lowest

5 – highest

The average = total score/x (no. of raters)

The top 20 is shown

The other 54…. scrap

scrap.

S. C. R. A. P.

Should I enumerate the synonyms of scrap? Garbage? Waste? Refuse? Offal? Do these people have any idea how offensive this is?

They have the gall to say “Oh, don’t take it seriously.” You just called 54/74 girls in the batch worm food. You apparently took this appalling display of insensitive, misogynistic barbarism seriously enough to put up a “scientific study” for it. And now, for some reason, the blog redirects the viewer to the “Community Forestry Awards” site of the Nebraska Forest Service. (You can stop this, just press Esc really quickly)

I wish I could stop stupidity and insensitivity as easily as pressing Esc, though. But here’s something that will hopefully work:

The Internet is a public place. The blog was bad enough to mention the whole names of minors on the Internet without their knowledge or consent. This IS a serious security risk. You have no idea what kind of sick bastards prowl the Internet, and I’m uncensoring my language to prove that point.  This is a gross display of negligence that could compromise the security of the girls that “won.”

To add insult to injury, there are “beauty ratings” on it.  I don’t think I need to say how bad it is. Oh, I think I’ll say it anyway. It is INSENSITIVE. It is MISOGYNISTIC. It’s insulting not only to the girls who “lost,” it’s also insulting for those who won. So WHAT if they placed in your top 20? Does this mean the girls up there have more guys who fantasize about them? Does that mean they should carry pepper spray and tasers to defend themselves from unwanted attention? Why did you do this anyway? What are you trying to prove?

You’re treating these girls like commodities. Society commodifies people enough by assigning them ID numbers and titles. Assigning them “ratings” is even worse and shows that you don’t really treat them like people. And let it be known that treating people as things, NON-HUMANS, to be rated is the first step in that everyone who has committed a hate crime has taken.  It was the first step monsters like Hitler took.

When you consider someone else as less than a human being, you treat yourself as superior. And everything goes downhill from there. Emmanuel Levinas would like to have a word with you.

Whatever your reasons, I sure hope you don’t do something so phenomenally, mind-bendingly obscene like this. And if you plan on continuing this reprehensible behavior, you better not do it in my country. Heck, don’t do it on this planet.

PS: Oh, and in case you’re saying “oh the girl who brought this up was just bitter because she didn’t place in the top ten.” BZZZZZT. WRONG. She IS in the top 20. So yes, girls who did place in the top 20 got offended too.

~ by J. R. R. Flores on November 11, 2008.

14 Responses to “I feel some righteous indignation coming along.”

  1. Amen, sir. I agree with everything that you wrote.

  2. sir, you raised an excellent point regarding internet safety. i hope THAT makes them realize the error of their ways.

  3. Just to make things perfectly clear, we were not the ones who said scrap. This may not make things easier but you REALLY should not take this seriously. They are just ratings and nothing more. At least it was Top20 and not Bottom20 that was posted.

    People can rate a lot of things. Like, let’s say, a computer. “Pretty good hardware but it lags at certain games. I’ll give it a 4.” Just that simple. Ratings are not insults. They are just honest opinions.

    Actually, the girls in the top 20 are supposed to be happy that they got there. We did not want it to turn out this way.

  4. Oh yeah. Your post IS your honest opinion too so I respect that.

  5. With people, it is NEVER that simple.

    “People can rate a lot of things. Like, let’s say, a computer.”

    This proves that you don’t get how serious this is. You are OBJECTIFYING THEM. You are reducing them to RATINGS.
    Grades rate your academic performance. Conduct grades rate your behavior. Your Points-Per-Game rates your sporting skill. I could rate you in terms of likeliness to get heart disease or your blood pressure or your eyesight. These are peripheral things that do not impinge on anyone’s opinion of you as a human being.

    But to rate someone in terms of something as subjective as the very vague concept of beauty, to have their self-image depend on WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY OF THEM, is foolish, insensitive, and objectifying.

    “This girl is pretty because a lot of people said so. This girl is ugly because a lot of people said so.”

    That is the sum total of what your “scientific” “study” (using separate quotes for a reason) is saying. Do you think even the girls who “won” would be happy? “HI THERE, MISS X. YOU’RE HOT BECAUSE WE SAID SO.”

    Learn to realize the implications of your actions, because horror of horrors! You’re actually responsible and accountable for the things you do and say on the Internet.

  6. I’m sorry, it’s not merely MY opinion. It’s an observation of how these girls were treated, interpreted using philosophical concepts of how to treat other human beings that I learned in college. This survey is still gathering up a bunch of boys and going to a girl on the playground during recess and each one of them saying “You’re ugly,” hidden under the veneer of “opinion” and quantified (and abstracted with the use of numbers.

    Now it would have been much better if you had something constructive like “I think this girl is attractive because she has that Chinita look that I find adorable, and she has a pretty voice” or “I find her eyes captivating, and her dark complexion gives off this feeling of strength that I respect in a woman” and actually had the names of the participants. That would be much more flattering than “the average rating of this girl is 3.1577.”

  7. linking to this entry because obviously, you rationalize your thoughts better than I do.😀 Thanks sir

  8. Spread the love! Make peace not war!

  9. I see your point and I do agree at some. but

    “I’m sorry, it’s not merely MY opinion.”<-ookay

    “Whatever your reasons, I sure hope you don’t do something so phenomenally, mind-bendingly obscene like this. And if you plan on continuing this reprehensible behavior, you better not do it in my country. Heck, don’t do it on this planet.”<– so what d’you call this?

    you’re playing God now? A big boss? Now that’s funny. God himself gave us mind to think. Thinking is limitless, it has no boundaries. God gave us the ability to share thoughts. We can write, tell stories, publish WHATEVER we want. But God himself doesn’t give a shit on whatever that’s happening on the very planet he made. Now tell me, who are you to scare these people and threaten them as if you were somebody greater than GOD or a big boss? Are you even someone from authority? I don’t know.Whatever this CFawards is, I’m 99% sure that the makers WANT NOBODY TO GET HURT or whatever. And from the previous comment by ‘ , the SCRAP thing didn’t come from the makers. Who in the hell cares about the person that stated the SCRAP thing. Now that’s weird. What you were implying in your ‘observation’ was a direct blow to the makers, you were saying they were so insensitive, do you even know them?

    “And if you plan on continuing this reprehensible behavior, you better not do it in my country. Heck, don’t do it on this planet.”

    oh and those two lines. ROFL. Whatyou gonna do? Eat those people?

    I don’t really wanna mess up with you or join this thing. Just felt bad for the boys. And I want you to realize. You were over reacting. For some piece of survey/random sampling which aims to give idea on what the guys from the batch think of the girls. whatever you guys call it. DUDE it’s perfectly normal.

    Don’t you look at the appearance of people? Please tell me you do. I don’t wanna be talking to some ‘NON-HUMAN’. And stop interfering with other people’s stuff coz seriously, it’s funny when you do.

  10. I don’t understand how you’re bringing God into the picture. You’re saying He gave us a mind to think then you say He doesn’t care what we do. You’re saying He gave us the responsibility to use something THEN you deny that it must be used responsibly.

    Even the most atheistic person in the world will tell you that even if you could do anything, you do have to deal with the natural consequences of your actions. I knew I’d get angry replies to this eventually, and I deal with that. These people did not anticipate the consequences of what they did. They may have not wanted people to get hurt, but people DID get hurt. It’s like playing with a grenade and not wanting to hurt people, but you end up detonating the thing and hurting them.

    Even if the “scrap” comment did not come from the makers of the survey, the survey itself was insensitive and at the very least a gross security risk. Posting the full names of minors on the Internet without their consent is just asking for trouble.

    And yes, I know who they are, which is why I was sensitive enough not to post their names here. The other people who are blogging about that have posted the names of the people involved, and I did not subscribe to that.

    You feel bad for the boys? What about the girls?

    I also anticipated that someone would say I’m overreacting. Apparently they don’t understand just how offensive this is. If it had been perfectly normal the girls wouldn’t have been offended. They were.

    Oh, I do look at the appearances of people all the time. I’m not saying everyone should wear a mask and just get by on their personality. I’m saying that beauty is NOT quantifiable. You cannot put a number to it and expect it to be accurate. A survey is a scientific attempt to measure opinion on something that is quantifiable, say, “Do you support Barack Obama or John McCain?” because the answer is “yes” or “no.” It could be as complex as “What is the most important issue in the campaign?” This is still quantifiable since people give specific answers.

    But you cannot quantify how “attractive” a person is by popular opinion. I certainly disagree with some of the results. I think others should have been higher up, because what I find physically attractive is different from other people’s standards. This tells us that taking these results and averaging them is likely one of the worst ways to tell a girl she’s pretty or ugly. Again, it boils down to “You’re hot because we said so” and “You’re ugly because we said so.” Since there is no universal standard of beauty apart from symmetry, it makes this survey pointless. Popular opinion does not make an opinion fact.

    Oh, and it’s my job to interfere with other people’s “stuff.” I’m a teacher. In the school that this happened.

  11. yes, it is your job to interfere when it comes to these matters. but i have a question: have you talked to those responsible for its conception before you made this post? by the looks of it, i don’t think so. as much as they did commit a mistake, you also committed one by immediately ranting (or rationalizing, as another commenter would put it) without consulting or at least heard the story from the boys themselves. you (and probably many more) don’t even know how they tabulated it. as a teacher, you could at least research or just simply ask for it so at least your opinions have more basis.

    and just in case you haven’t noticed, there are a few blogs that also talked about the matter. the good part: it’s from the boys pov (http://borgeesblahg.blogspot.com/2008/11/hold-on-bitches.html) and even a creators pov (http://youalttab.blogspot.com/2008/11/late-reflections-but-still-i-need-to.html). if you haven’t read them, i suggest you do.

    i think both sides have their faults, but you should have known better, for you are a teacher. you have better experiences with these types of things. you should have done what you do best: educate. teach them the right thing in a more professional way. what you did there is more of a rant than education.

  12. You are correct, and I do agree that what I wrote is a knee-jerk response to the matter. I feel strongly about this, which is why I responded the way I did.

    I’ve read the borgeesblahg entry, and I agree with his reactions anyway–his response was more about the blog entry he was quoting than the actual poll itself.

    I will grant that the people involved in the survey did not intend for this to happen. However, as I’ve said earlier, they themselves failed to understand the possible impact that their actions may have—this has led to countless deaths. Just browse the Darwin Awards website.

    I just read the creator’s blog entry.

    I never called anyone a caveman, I called them insensitive. The caveman nomenclature came from someone else, not me. Now if the creator of this poll wants a valid scientific opinion poll, he could answer his own question by asking how many girls were offended by it. Yes? No? Don’t care? Didn’t know about it? Even then it would not matter. If one were to make racist comments against a racial minority and nobody cared, that doesn’t make it any less wrong.

    In any case, the creator’s blog entry is a good and honest self-assessment of the matter. If this is a result of my entry, then I think my entry worked.

    Frankly, however, if I’d used uncertain terms and did not word my post strongly, it wouldn’t have worked. I often have to fight a losing battle against cynicism, and many times I have to strongly word what I am saying for people to even care.

  13. “I’m a teacher. In the school that this happened.”

    My bad. Coz you didn’t sound one. Now it makes sense. But again, re-reading your post doesn’t change what I feel. You’re a teacher and you shouldn’t have ranted like a student.

    And btw, identitynotneeded is right. Instead of insulting the makers and being one sided. You should have taught both sides and at least, try to understand em. Coz as a teacher, that’s what you’re expected to do.

    And yeah, if i were you. I shouldn’t really have interfered. Coz this kind of events, it lets the batch you are holding to communicate. It may make em feel broken for a short while but I know it will make their bond stronger eventually. I’ve been there and I know. You’re a teacher and you should know.

  14. If I offended your common idea of a teacher, then I apologize for that. Again this was a knee-jerk response, and I was completely outraged at the time. Nevertheless, many other reactions to this incident were much more violent than mine. I’d rather not post those here.

    Nevertheless, I don’t see how I insulted anyone. I just said their actions were insensitive. I did not call anyone a caveman. I did try to understand it—this is why I viewed the blogs involved first.

    Stupid people do stupid things. Smart people can do stupid things too, but smart people learn from their mistakes and don’t repeat them. From the looks of it, the creators have learned their lesson, and I applaud them for that.

    I could have easily called for an investigation into this matter, but we are instructed to attempt to resolve things at our own level before we elevate them to the discipline committee, which opens a whole new can of worms.

    I probably wouldn’t have intervened had the issue not been public in the first place. If it was just gossip, I’d let that slide. However, the issue was published on the blogosphere, and the security risk of publicly posting names of minors is too great for me to just wait for them to resolve this by themselves. They needed to be told something they were not aware of, and I told them.

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