Reflecting on Professor Kersh’s recommendation to bring anything related to feminism to class this week, I recognized that this would be a great opportunity to connect a Vanderbilt fetish to feminism. The best way to do this is through an analysis of the website Bar Stool U. The other week I wrote a post about Betches Love This and a similar site with a male audience is Bar Stool. This is a website that talks about an array of topics that are informative, yet many are degrading. This is also a perfect example because Vanderbilt has been recognized on this site before and this weekend was the last weekend of tailgates. Many guys I know view this site religiously and this is a popular news source for many about things going on in the college world. Essentially, it is a gossip site for men. The link is below.
So why is this website a perfect representation of the male ‘gaze’ and the ways women are objectified? Well, there is an area of the site called SmokeShow, where girls are submitted anonymously with pictures and full bios. Then, they are rated by the users of the website. The bracket linked above is a March Madness bracket, but not the March Madness that guys refer to in basketball. Instead, it is called the Smoke Show Bracket: a competition amongst girls where people can vote for who is the hotest and at the end there is one winner. Based on one or two potentially photoshopped photos of girls from around the country, people judge based on appearance. Honestly, it is the most repulsive thing I have ever heard of. It reminds me of the idea that women will lack respect in this world if we constantly judged based on appearance.
The Smoke Show bracket is taken from a game on the website called SmokeSmash where the website puts girls head to head and people choose based on the photos and schools of each girl. While many may argue that women are degrading themselves, this proves even more that women are constantly being observed by men. The way that a website geared towards men encourages them to judge someone based on appearance is degrading and objectifying. It encourages people to submit photos of random girls and it gives off a negative reputation of girls almost equivalent to being in “Girls Gone Wild,” or in Playboy. It’s sad that this website posts stories about our school and has included embarrassing stories about the people that attend this university. I hope that one day, this website will realize what a negative connotation they give to women, especially when they did not ask to be on this website in the first place.