Spotted: Has Loughborough Library�۪s ���Gossip Girl�۝ Gone Too Far?

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When the Spotted: Loughborough Library page appeared on Facebook, the majority of comments were just a bit of harmless banter about pretty girls and odd library behaviour. However, now some of the comments seemed to have a more sinister tone.

One particular comment that springs to mind is the suggestion that one girl should ‘get the bus home tonight’ and to not walk, for ‘her own safety’. Personally I found this comment quite alarming when considering the implications of it. Maybe my feminist dissertation is taking over my mind a little more than I’d like to admit, but to me, that comment suggests misogyny, violence and – at worst – rape. When many girls today are indeed afraid of walking home alone at night, comments such as this one only serve to perpetuate the patriarchal, and often misogynistic, culture we live in, where laughing at rape is deemed acceptable.

As well as the distinctly sexist feel to many of the posts, some anonymous submitters also verge on racism. A comment that caught my eye – and not for its complete absence of apostrophes – stated that the ‘White girls hot but the asians not’. Users of the Spotted page certainly do not shy away from using race as a signifier of identity. Race is, undoubtedly, a big part of identity but I cannot help but feel that this comment in particular, and the many others like it, can be seen as offensive. Another post that shocked me was the comment to the ‘black girl’ whose ’laughing wouldn’t be out of place on a wildlife program #gibbon’.

It is almost as if when people are offered a chance of anonymity, they completely forget any sense of responsibility for their own words and actions. An outlet such as this, that offers anonymous submissions, seems to uncover a more sinister side to people that most would not normally reveal. When people don’t have to face consequences for their words and they get a chance to say what they want without having to deal with the repercussions, many tend to ignore the expectations they would normally abide by.

I am all for freedom of speech and fighting society’s ingrained rules, but I will never understand how the anonymity that the internet can provide lets people forget basic respect for others. I, like everyone else, had a good laugh at many of the comments on the page, but I wish that anonymity didn’t also seem to bring out the worst in people.

Do you agree with Kirsty or just see Spotted Loughborough as harmless fun? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting @labelonline ]

Read about Spotted: Loughborough's warnings from campus in issue seven

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