‘Hot list’ at one high school spurs ‘kindness campaign’ at another

ISSAQUAH — The way it works is simple — an anonymous committee of students at Issaquah High School creates a “May Madness” bracket of 64 girls and 64 guys pitted against each other based on looks alone. Each week, students vote on who is the most attractive. It’s a tradition at the school that has gone on for at least the last five years.

hot2“It’s pretty disgusting and immature for guys to put this together. Looks aren’t the only important thing,” said Issaquah High junior Tara Fussell.

Dr. Gregory Jantz is a mental health counselor and expert in eating disorders. He thinks this “hot list” idea is devastating for teens’ self-esteem.

“For a girl who didn’t get picked and she’s not on the ‘hot list,’ so to speak, she comes home and it teaches her that something is wrong with her. What we see is body shame — I’m not good enough, I’m not likeable,” Jantz said.

Jantz said that for boys, it teaches them to objectify women. For the girls who are picked, the outcome isn’t good either.

“They’re tying their self-esteem into other’s approval and I’ll tell you it has the same outcome — depression, eating disorders and body image issues,” Jantz said.

This year at Juanita High School in Kirkland there was also a May Madness bracket, but students are working to shut it down. Sophomore Tami Tritz knows two of the girls who were nominated.

“She was pitted against her sister and it didn’t bother them, but I know that in other situations it has torn everyone apart,” Tritz said.

In response to the “hot list,” a group of student leaders at Juanita High School are creating a “respect and kindness” campaign that nominates kids based on their character instead of their looks.

“I know a few people who do a lot of community service and I think they should be some of the people who should be nominated,” Anna Dejong said.

School officials in Issaquah are trying to figure out who is behind the “hot list” and say it was not created on a school computer.

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20 comments

  • Really?

    Next thing you know, they'll eliminate chair competitions in band and scoring in sports. After all, it's negative to your self esteem to be beaten out by others. Hell, I guess they should get rid of the grading system altogether since it's hard to have high self-esteem when you get an F…

  • Granny

    That young male being interviewed at the beginning is in the school bible club!

    He's the head of the club and encourages all male and females to worship Christ's wishes

    A fine gentleman he is! I'm lucky to call him my grandson :+)

    He's got his Grandma's smile :+)

    • mark

      that's not exactly an honor these days… nobody believes in anything these days without concrete evidence, and the bible is no exception…

      • Lyn87

        Plenty of people believe that the universe popped out of nothing and arranged itself into its current condition of unimaginable complexity randomly. The even teach that in "Science" classes at this school. The fact that none of the four known forces of the physical universe is even remotely capable of creating these conditions causes so-called "scientists" to postulate stuff like "dark matter" (which is "scientific" mumbo-jumbo for "stuff we cannot detect but that must exist or our theory is untenable"). I'm still waiting for some concrete evidence of that…

        For the life of me I don't see how belief in an organizing force that is undetectable by humans is "faith" when Christians do it and "science" when Secularists do it.

        • Lyn88

          Hey look, it's somebody who doesn't understand the first thing about thermodynamics trying to assert their own scientific ignorance as some sort of proof that an imaginary "god" created the universe, how novel…

  • Scott B.

    Anyone notice that the entire article slants against men? Both men and women are participating in the voting, yet it is men that appear solely responsible. Also, it is only men that apparently can objectify, and onky women that can be harmed by this practice. Yes the list is immature, but so is the attitude of those handling it and the person writing thus article.

    • steph

      came here to say that. heaven forbid men have feelings or allow things like this to have an impact on them, right?

    • End Hate

      Typical attitude toward "disposable" men and boys. The boys being voted on apparently have no feelings worth mentioning. It is not as though looks, or the acceptance of their peers, are important to them. What a terrible journalist. Not even pretending to be impartial.

  • Way West

    This article is unbelievable. Boys and girls BOTH vote on who is hot from the other sex. But, only girls can get hurt feelings if not at the top of the list? Only girls get objectified? This is the most anti-male garbage I've seen this week. Here is a newsflash to the author: boys are human beings with feelings. They are no less valuable than girls. I hope you don't have any sons. They will be messed up by your hateful attitudes.

  • Cody Richards

    I love how both girls and boys compete in this but the focus of the article is exclusively on the girls. Apparently only the girls might get self esteem issues and this contest only teaches boys to objectify. I'm sure the guys that don't get picked or lose will have no self esteem issues or be objectified or anything.

  • Iriar

    There is a list here where the girls rank boys after looks, why does this not matter? How does the boys low on the list feel? Why does male children not matter? This article seems to have failed at showing me both sides of this event.