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Who’s Hotter?
That question has been answered more than 3.3 million times on the site sweeping Boston University at the moment, RateBU.com.
If you’ve seen the film, The Social Network, you get the gist. RateBU is almost a carbon copy of the site that the founder of Facebook created before Facebook itself. After logging in, BU students are given the chance to anonymously rank the photos of their classmates against one another. Who’s hotter, that girl from your spin class or the chick in the low-cut top? In the blink of an eye, you choose the one who is more attractive, who reels you in, purely at face value.
What’s the big deal? It all seems harmless enough, right?

Sure, RateBU, or a site like it, may be the perfect way to put off that nearing term paper and may even be genuinely entertaining to some, but what the site representsis the major issue for me. Judging these photos (which are put up without the knowledge or individual action of the students inthe photos, mind you) furthers the superficial, hypercritical, and frivolous overtones of our generation, one that is steeped in more reality TV shows than I can count and more self-posted YouTube videos than I care to stomach.
The site’s existence and usage by students taints the integrity and image of not only BU as a school and a community, but of our generation. RateBU has been critiqued by big names like the Washington Post and the Huffington Post and has even served as the butt of Conan O’Brien’s late night standup. By objectifying our peers, rating them without even knowing them, we represent ourselves as a group that cares more about how people can apply their makeup than carry a compelling conversation.
And what’s been done to alleviate this mess? Founder Justin Doody thought he would be able to stem the flow of complaints by starting up a voting section devoted to male students as well. Since when does doubling the rate of objectification make the situation fair? No matter the target, objectification is simply objectification. 
Ultimately, although it garnered countless views in the first weekend that it went live, this site likely won’t hold the public’s attention long, I’m sure of it. If that that were the case, someone would have held on to the coattails of Mark Zuckerberg long ago. Still, whether or not the site stays up for years to come or is taken down in the next week, the fact that college students, who are supposed to be the best and brightest, are subjecting their classmates to such shallow judgment brings us back to the days of…
Fine, I won’t get into it—I hate to bring back your high school American history class.
But, in all seriousness, college women come to college to do much, much more than woo a future husband and gain their MRS degree. As we asked our BU readers just a few weeks back, if you think someone’s cute, keep it to yourself and your late night gossip sessions—don’t make it into a contest and plaster it on the Internet for all to see. Frankly, most of us could care less who’s the current flavor-of-the-week. 

Allison Milam is a sophomore at Boston University double majoring in Communications/Advertising and Sociology. After living in sunny Sarasota, Florida for her first eighteen years, Allison shipped up to Boston for a new climate and a new start. She spends most her time working with the Community Service Center, writing for the Buzz Magazine at Boston University, and participating on BU's National Student Advertising Competition's team. She has a passion for cooking, eating, and talking about food, and hopes to attend culinary school after she graduates from BU. Allison spent the summer of 2010 as the resident food writer for SRQ Magazine back home in Sarasota, and continues to do freelance. Whenever she can squeeze it in, Allison loves watching Weeds and Mad Men. Her goal is to attend as many concerts and meet as many famous people as possible while living in Boston! Allison loves living the city lifestyle and hopes to one day write for Bon Appetit magazine or work for a cutting-edge advertising agency!
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