Easy as College ACB

Brenna McNamara

I don’t know. Maybe I wore flannel shirts to class too often. Maybe I shouldn’t have been in a fake Facebook relationship with a friend. Maybe it’s because I like Ani DiFranco? Whatever the reason, someone wondered if I was “gay or just a hippie” and placed his or her reliance in the fingertips of the all-knowing JuicyCampus visitors to answer the question of my supposedly questionable sexuality.

Luckily, I had friends who, to my disapproval, stoop to that Juicy level to inform me. “Brenna. I have something to tell you. You’re on JuicyCampus. It says your full name.” This was mere hours after I told someone I’d never be cool enough to be on that site.

I’m not gay or a hippie, but at least it didn’t say I had a “stank vagina,” I thought. Or that I eat my own fill. Whew.

When the gossip Web site JuicyCampus.com shut down, my confidence and integrity was back. I held in a smug smile as gossipers mourned the loss of their beloved cowardly pastime. I spoke too soon. A clone Web site, CollegeACB.com, appeared in its place not even three days later.

College is an environment in which young adults grow through unique and life-altering experiences. But still, we are judging others through sites like CollegeACB when each one of us is developing in our own right. This new media microcosm makes it easy and normal. Really, the only thing easy about this, though, is the ease in which we destroy our community and peers.

It’s rare now to meet someone in class and get to know him or her through a conversation. It’s easier to find out about the person by glancing at his or her interests, photos or music. The networking Facebook brings is progress and unique to our generation, but too often people use profiles as a way to sum up a stranger, disregarding that face-to-face contact is the only way to know a person’s essence.

Perhaps this sounds idealistic, and I realize that. Facebook does have good elements (which is why I use it). The problem lies in the fact that people create judgments, or at least supplement their judgments, based on a profile that is supposed to summarize a person. What’s worse is that these assumptions of people have an even worse outlet, Facebook’s dirty companion – CollegeACB.

Not only does the site reek of misconceptions, it also perpetuates labels and societal problems that as adults, we should be progressing beyond. Pinning a girl as a slut is all the rage on this site. Making a post about someone’s sexuality before that person comes out to his or her parents is wrong. People’s buying into this trash talk is reversing our society in the exact opposite direction that feminism, the LGBT community and knowledge in general is moving toward.

My “you don’t know me so don’t judge me” mentality is almost impossible to hold in an era in which we have been conditioned to find the easiest ways of connecting. Instant messenger condensed a person’s emotions into away messages, Facebook condensed a person’s interests into a profile, and now CollegeACB is condensing a person’s reputation into one post on a sloppily designed Web site.

If this were a JuicyCampus post, I’d ask: “Where is the love y’all? Discuss.”

Brenna McNamara is a junior philosophy major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].