High School ‘Hotness Tournament’ Sparks Controversy
And you thought your high school experience was tough. In an online tournament called “May Madness” that puts March Madness to shame, a high school in Issaquah, Washington, takes competition to a new level — or maybe a new low — by asking male students to rate female classmates on a “hotness” scale.
On the website run by unidentified individuals, male students get to pit their female classmates against each other by voting on which girl is the sexiest. In order to be competition-ready, girls are instructed to “look their finest.”
Despite complaints from parents and students, this competition, based on a similar contest put on by a local radio station featuring celebrities, has been going on for at least five years. School officials would love to shut it down, but can’t, since it takes place away from school grounds.
Sophomore student Devon Keller told King 5 News, “This kind of thing is sexualizing us girls like we're some sort of trophy.”
District spokeswoman Sarah Niegowski commented that the tournament “doesn't feel good” to anyone.
Parents did successfully shut the contest down briefly last year when some parents went to authorities. Police were able threaten the organizers with arrest due to vulgar and profane comments about people’s identities, which is a crime in Washington state.
School officials say police are currently monitoring the site. The organizers have apparently made the site much more difficult to access this year.
According to Niegowski, “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.”