Hotness ranking is blatant objectification

Illustrated by Emma Stessman

When choosing a university, a student may take into consideration a school’s population, location or class sizes, but the “hotness” of the women should not be a factor.

Niche, a company that gives data, reviews and rankings for neighborhoods and schools, has deemed Chapman the No. 1 school for having the “hottest girls” on campus for the second year in a row. At first glance, such a ranking may seem flattering to some, but this is an issue because it is irrelevant to education, it’s offensive and it encourages the objectification of women.

Niche’s system of ranking is made up of volunteers who answer a range of questions about their college. One such statement on the survey is “I would rate girls on campus as attractive” and the options range from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.”

Not only is it troubling that 93 people at Chapman dignified this survey by actually responding to it, it is problematic that it exists at all.

Ranking the women on any college campus is the equivalent of high school boys holding signs numbered on a scale of one to 10 as girls walk by. Higher education should be above this blatant objectification of women by now. But clearly, it is not.

The odds are already stacked against women in many fields due to wage gaps, sexism and sexual harassment.

A study by psychologist Tamur Saguy found that women talked less and were more nervous to share their opinions when they thought that they were being objectified. Being vocal is critical in situations like job interviews, class discussions and especially when so many Chapman classes grade students on participation.

By encouraging the objectification of women on campus, it is actively discouraging men from taking women seriously in these settings. In The Panther’s “I am Chapwoman” special issue March 13, we looked at some of these issues closely, and found that many women on this campus are not always taken seriously because of their gender.

Objectification has been found to be dangerous in other areas as well. One study by the Psychology of Women journal found that the objectification of women is linked to sexual pressure and coercion in relationships.

Niche marketing outreach coordinator Jessica Hair told The Panther that Niche tries “to reflect the entirety of the college experience” with “fun rankings” like these, but we don’t think that the hotness of the women on campus is all that necessary to an “entire” college experience. The school’s “hottest girls” is in no way relevant to where students should decide to pursue higher education.

The women on this campus have so much more to offer than their looks. Many are tackling male-dominated fields and taking leadership positions. Women of Chapman are constantly having to prove themselves, and by objectifying them, they will never be on an equal playing field.

The opinion of students about the way women look on campus is not only entirely subjective, but is irrelevant to the education or quality of life a student may have on this campus. Women on this campus deserve to be treated with dignity and respect while they’re in the process of getting their diplomas.


    • I don’t understand why you’re saying this is only “now” a problem. Women have been facing objectification for thousands of years, and constantly struggle to be taken serious because of their gender every single day. Believing in gender equality isn’t a “liberal” thing — it’s basic human respect. I understand that Niche also ranks men, but men aren’t the ones who struggle DAILY with objectification holding them back from success.

  • Heck, it’s one of the reasons I came here! And, boy, was that rank a lie. Should’ve gone to New York; at least the women there respect their bodies a little more.

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