Tuesday, November 30, 2010


So I thought that there was a lot of progress when it came to how people were treated in the world.

I know - I'm naive.  I admit this freely.  I guess mostly I just WANT things to be better.  I WANT people to have more respect for one another.  I want men and women to treat one another as equal in intelligence and conversation and worth.  I want us all to show respect to one another as human beings.

But this week has proven to me time and time again that we are a far cry from respecting one another. 

I have been wanting to write for a few days, but haven't been able to bring myself to face the topic.

It's kind of stupid, I suppose, to make a big deal out of something that could easily be brushed off as nothing.  I would rather do that, pretend it didn't happen and wasn't happening, than write a blog about it and think about it for ten to thirty minutes while I compose this piece.  I've also pondered long and hard the fact that this sort of blog my be precisely the thing to fuel the fire behind what's been going on, so I won't be mentioning names or websites or anything else, just talking about the issue.  I'm sure that the one I've been witness to isn't the only thing like this out there.  In fact, I've done things like this myself - with boys - and I might as well just come out and say it.

There is this Facebook page from a high school that is posting pictures of yearbook pages and then posting rankings of all of the girls on a scale of 1 - 10 based on "hotness". 

This might be relatively harmless when you're sitting at home with your own yearbook with a few of your friends talking about who's hot and who's not.  I know these conversations go on.  I did my share of drawing hearts around boys faces and giving them numbers and drawing mustaches and devil's horns on girls I didn't like - but, honestly, I did that in sixth grade, and this is about the class of 2012.  Which means that most likely, whoever has decided to post this little gag is someone who is in high school. 

I know that high school is a hard place - but this is so juvenile I wasn't even sure what to make of it.  Literally, my sixth grade year book is the one with all the markings.  After that - really - what's he point?  Especially in the confines of your own home.

To put that yearbook onto a public forum?   To exploit the girls in your school for all the world to see with your opinions of their "hotness" blazened there mockingly - this is childish.  This is mean.  This is bullying.  This is wrong.  And on top of that - to do it anonymously?  Now on top of this childish meanness there is also cowardice. 

I understand the anonymousness, frankly.  There are girls who wouldn't lay down and take this kind of BS - who would find the culprit who thoughtlessly marked them as 1's and 2's and have no issue with knocking them to the ground with a bloody face.  It's not really those girls I worry about.

Does it still sting to a girl with self-confidence to see that she has a low number on this random ranking system and that everyone and their brother has seen this ranking system and that tons of people in the school have commented about how funny it is?  Of course it does.  Those are the girls who might knock you out if you ever reveal your identity.  Those are also the girls who nurse their wounds privately - shake off the sting - and post that it's a funny site. 

But there are other girls out there. 

There are the girls who can't recover.

Does it sound dumb?  That they take it so seriously?  Sure it does.  But is it true?  Yes.  It is.

Girls have been in tears over this site.  People have mocked them about their numbers, commenting on their rankings.  Taken the site seriously from all angles.  These are the girls about whom I most worry.  They might even laugh on the surface, but inside...  and alone with the mirror, they wonder - why am I a 2?  Why not a 4?  Why not something more?  Is this what people truly think of me?  And why is it worth it to get up in the morning?

From this perspective - the one where the years beyond high school seem a lifetime away and this seems the only world you will ever know...  there is great danger in tangling with a young woman's self-esteem.

To anyone reading this who attends the school of which I am speaking, anyone who might be male and reading this - I urge you to seek out those girls and let them know they are beautiful.  And mean it.

The hero to all of them would be the young man or group of men who passed out stickers with "Perfect 10"'s on them to all the girls in the class, because he could see beyond the surface.

If you've got the guts to be a hero to the girls in the class of 2012 - kudos and blessings.  I hope that you are reading this now, or that you have already thought of something equally special on your own.

You cannot counteract hate with hate, but you can counteract it with LOVE.  Love will win in the end. 

And if you're one of those girls - make some stickers yourself - you don't have to wait for a guy on a white horse.  Pass 'em out to the girls around you - let those jerks know who's boss.  You can't put a number on a person.  You can't "rank" a living creature.  You can't judge beauty.  You can't objectify intellect and character and have a meaningful existence. 

And to those who did this thing.  I get it.  I totally do.  Things are funny and fun and you don't think about the people you might hurt.  And you can rank your friends however and you can't make your own system and you can laugh about your secret as you walk through the hallways - and maybe you're not the most popular kid/s and maybe you are but either way, you've got to think about what you've done now.  You've got to look at it through the eyes of the people you hurt and you need to do something about it.  You screwed up.  It was a joke - and maybe you still think it's funny - but people got hurt - so the joke went sour.  It's a bad joke.  Own up and buck up and say you're sorry.  The fun ended when the first person took this seriously.  When the first girl felt the first sting and thought - people really think this about me.  This doesn't label you for life.  High school ends.  But if you keep on with something after others feel like it's hateful - life just keeps getting darker. 

I think the reason it was hard for me to write this post is because the entire premise goes against everything this blog stands for.  It was hard because it was so easy for me to put myself in the girls' shoes who were ranked...  and in the shoes of the person or persons who did the ranking.  Both shoes fit me at one time.  This blog has been about shaking off old chains.  As I perused the ranking page...  I felt...  guilt.  And pain.  Old guilt and old pain that compounded into shame and there I was - a ninth grade girl as my books were pushed from my hands.  A tenth grade girl who wouldn't date that boy because he "wasn't popular enough".  I shudder to remember the person I was.  The person I made myself into.  I am thankful that I was able to move past those years and hopeful that everyone has recovered who I hurt in the process.  There is life after bullying - for the bullied, and for the bully.  We don't have to live out our scars.  Here's hoping we can open our eyes.


Caitlin said...

"We don't have to live out our scars."

Amen <3

Summer said...

There are these things called ants... remind me to show this theory. I just learned about it- however it makes so much sense.

Missy said...

Is there a link you can share?

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