Cyberbullying Targets Female Students’ Bodies on Facebook

Published on The Daily Femme – Friday, Jan. 21, 2011

Contributed by Annamarya

Earlier this week, WGNTV reported that a student from Oak Park River Forest High School in Illinois will face disciplinary action for allegedly creating and circulating a racially-suggestive list of 50 female students that ranked their body parts on Facebook and throughout his school. According to the article, school officials posted to the OPRHS’ website that the student they identified in the case will not be allowed on campus at this time, and that  instances of bullying and/or cyberbullying can result in “a range of consequences up to and including expulsion.” Additionally, reported WGN, a recent update to the school’s website indicated that the girls listed were reached out to by officials for support, and that the school will also provide continuing support and additional information to families and students in need of such.

Apparently, this isn’t the first incident at this school. In February 2009, a similar list involving a freshman student – “Class of 2012: Top 45″ – circulated and included details and commentary on body parts and sexual experiences.  According to WGNTV piece, Oak Park River Forest High School’s student paper, The Trapeze, reported that this 2009 list also included anti-Semitic and racist remarks. It wasn’t the first of its kind either, as lists on sexually-active girls (”slut” lists) and the most “desirable” girsl (”hit” lists) have circulated in past years, wrote the paper in an editorial. School officials did not say if the student allegedly behind the 2011 list was involved in the 2009 issue.

In the same editorial, The Trapeze wrote the following about the 2009 list:

To subject young women to such distasteful physical and personal criticism, and to impose the hurtful views of one minuscule group of people upon the entirety of the student populace is to inflict a most extreme form of bullying and harassment. It is irrelevant whether these claims were made out of malice or fun. What matters is that such statements were made and that they infringed upon an individual’s most personal sphere: her body. This incident fuels the objectification of female students and reduces the worth of individuals to a single physical attribute. Those who are behind the list should be ashamed of themselves, but those who enabled its percolation throughout OPRF should be similarly ashamed.

The relevancy to an incident two years later is frightening but it still holds meaning, and sums up my thoughts on this list better than I can myself.


One thought on “Cyberbullying Targets Female Students’ Bodies on Facebook

  1. I agree, they should be ashamed, but I doubt they are. We can only hope they mature enough to realize what they did was incredibly wrong, but there is not a way to know. I think they should attend some sort of sensitivity training and perform community service at womens’ shelters. Things like this used to be called slam books or little black books, but as you know, now with the Internet, this stuff goes online for all to see. Deleting it will not necessarily fix it, either, because someone may save it. It makes me glad I graduated when the Internet was still in its beginning stages. Cyberbullying is horrific.

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