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Facemashed response

February 24th, 2011

esty International, and more than 20,000 other charities have used the Facebook Causes app to raise over $10 million. The Egyptian people were able overthrow 30 years of autocratic rule in part by using Facebook.

A first year student who made the ‘Juan’ Carroll ‘Dan Loster’ Facebook profile used Facebook to reduce 64 female John Carroll students to 2 x 1.5 inches; eyeing, comparing, and throwing them aside in the same way a perspective home owner picks out tiles for a floor.

There was no thought that went into the reproduction of this knockoff of “Facemashed,” nor any good -humored intention. What the creator did was not clever, creative or original. He blindly mimicked something he saw on TV that made him laugh in the same way three-year-olds watching “Sesame Street” babble their ABCs after Big Bird.

And why was this wrong, demeaning and shameful? Why should we not objectify women, or any persons? It is not solely because the women whose pictures were featured on the page did not agree to such. Nor is it strictly because the feelings of the young women who will not make it to the ‘final four’ might be hurt. Nor is it because John Carroll students are expected to be treated and act more highly than this. Rather, women ought not be objectified because women are people, not objects.

The Loster profile creator was wrong to have created this profile. This was small of him. It was small of his friends to support him in letting him do this. It was a small thing to further legitimize the webpage by responding to it with more Facemashed, i.e. Danielle Loster. The maker of the Loster profile perpetuated negative stereotypes of his class, his athletic team, his academic, Greek, social and other organizations, and perhaps also John Carroll. But like each of us, this profile’s creator is a young and continuously growing person. This is his time to be wrong, to be mistaken, to be corrected, and to learn from his errors.

And it is the duty of the larger John Carroll community to correct and to teach this person as it has taught young women and men since 1886. The messages of learning, leadership and service as exemplified by John Carroll alumni have not been undone by this small act. So short after their departure, the success of Julie Myers, Andy Trares, Theresa Prabucki and countless others in moving John Carroll towards being more aware, in mind and practice, of the equality of women and men as persons has not been undone by this small action. That success has not been dented.

Let us then value women, men and all persons because persons are valuable. Let us not reduce each other. Let us recognize the value in having all genders fill our administrative and department chair positions, professorships, faculty, staff, and all such positions at John Carroll University. Let us celebrate the accomplishment that is having women as the majority of students,

the president of our student body and the majority of the undergraduates on our Dean’s List! And, may the creator of the ‘Loster’ profile, the friends that supported him, and each of those who participate in the web page come to leave that page; recognizing and expressing through action the value of all persons, as persons.