Culture

Students Are Trying To Shut Down A ‘Hotties Of Melbourne Uni’ Facebook Group

And it turns out, almost every university in Victoria has one.

UPDATE: The ‘Hotties of Melbourne University’ page seems to have been taken down. Laura Blandthorn’s petition — which ended up receiving over 23,000 signatures — today confirmed that the page had been removed, adding: “This is a fantastic achievement. It has sent a clear message that predatory, sexist and disrespectful behaviour has no place in a University, especially within The University of Melbourne”.

Yesterday, students at UNSW protested the pervasive sexism on university campuses after the leak of a video of Philip Baxter College boys allegedly “objectifying women”. Today, students at The University of Melbourne are petitioning for a Facebook page that promotes “predatory behaviour towards women” to be shut down.

Student Laura Blandthorn has started an online petition calling for end to a group called ‘Hotties of Melbourne University’, which anonymously posts photos of women (there are a few pictures of men in there, but they are mainly novelty pictures and there’s not nearly as many) lists their name and degree, and allows members of the group to evaluate their appearance.

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Screenshot from the ‘Hotties of Melbourne University’ Facebook group.

Blandthorn is calling for the page to be shut down on the grounds that it posts pictures of students without their permission and it treats: “women as property; a commodity to be bought and sold through the promotion of comments such as ‘Sold: I’ll trade you 6 goats and 100 gold pieces'”.

“The continued presence of the page allows rape culture to trickle into the lives of the students of The University of Melbourne,” the petition reads. “It will no longer be tolerated for it condones  sexism, predatory behaviour and disrespect. We are not fooled by the hollow gloss of false humour.” So far, over 15,000 people have signed the petition.

Apparently The University of Melbourne isn’t the only Victorian uni copping this sort of thing. Fairfax mentioned that RMIT and Monash University have similar Facebook groups (Monash we discovered actually has two: ‘Hotties of Monash University’ and ‘Monash University Stalker Space’) but through talking to current and past uni students, we’ve found that Swinburne, Australian Catholic University and Deakin Uni also have their own variation on the ‘Hotties’ groups. They often involve photos uploaded without women’s permission, ‘stalker snaps’ of them on campus or even profile pictures taken from their Facebook. Some of them even detail which university events the ‘hottie’ will be at next.

Some of these groups are private, but the ‘Hotties of Melbourne University’ group is public, saying in their About section: “Message us photos of hotties or if you want a photo of you removed”. It’s still not clear who is uploading these photos.

It will be interesting to see if The University of Melbourne responds to this petition, or if students from other universities start protesting their respective Facebook groups.

Related: UNSW students protest sexism on campus.