DEAR AMY: I am part of an international MBA program at a well-known European university. I just found out that the men in the program have put together a list, ranking all the women in the program by their looks. I’m furious and disappointed that the men who are supposed to be my peers, business partners, coworkers and friends have subjected the women in the program to this. I have been told who started the list, and it has been talked about by a few people, but I haven’t personally seen this list (I’m working on it). I’m not really sure what to do. I’m thinking about writing a letter to the faculty. Others have suggested asking for the expulsion of the men who have contributed to the list, and to suggest that perhaps if they have time to come up with these rankings, maybe they are not taking this MBA program seriously. I feel as though this list is a slap in the face after everything that women have been going through, and I really don’t want this sort of treatment or behavior to be normalized ever again. But I don’t really know what to do or how to go about it.
DEAR DISGUSTED: You have every right to be angry. (And . . . isn’t this how Facebook got started — as a juvenile “hot or not” ranking of on-campus women at a prestigious university?)
The MeToo movement is demonstrating that normalizing harassment creates toxic environments and havens for predatory behavior (which this list absolutely is).
This needs to stop.
Do not count on the university faculty or administration to handle it to your satisfaction.
Think of this challenge a bit like going into battle: you need to arm yourself with knowledge — and begin building an army. Connect with your fellow female candidates. Deploy some MBA-level networking to quickly form a coalition.
If you can obtain hard evidence that this list exists, you should publicize it, share it widely and use the list itself to expose the people behind it. When you do so, mask the identity of the women named, but display the identities of those who created and shared it.
If you aren’t able to receive hard proof of the list, make an appointment with a faculty member and the dean. Insist that they investigate your allegation. Also consider sending an “open letter” to the university community.
Most importantly, save (and screenshot) everything; the list itself, any communication regarding the list or any references to it on social media.
Don’t get discouraged: Speak up, be fearless and don’t let anyone convince you that this isn’t a big deal. This is a very big deal, and it should be taken seriously.
DEAR AMY: I’m very indecisive about everything — especially relationships. I tend to run away when issues arise. I’m having doubts about my partner. For over two years he has had problems keeping a job, and this causes me a lot of stress about money. We can’t plan for our future. We also rarely have sex, mainly because I just don’t feel like it. I find him attractive, but I’m not sexually attracted to him. This might be because of the job issue. He doesn’t seem motivated. I don’t know what to do.
DEAR UNSURE: If running from relationships is your problem, then take a stab at repairing this before you flee. Your partner sounds depressed. Your own aversions could be contributing to your problems as a couple — in fact, it sounds as if you have already actually left the relationship, even if you’re physically present.
If he communicates well with you about his challenges, this might unite you as a couple. If not, you’ll have to do the personal algebra to decide if you should (or want to) invest part of your own future in trying to shore up this relationship. Running isn’t called for, but you might need to walk away.
Counseling would definitely help.
DEAR AMY: I’d like to add my own voice in complaining about “vocal fry.” But don’t look to England for answers. So many actors there are retaining their regional accents and not even bothering to speak properly. It is an assault on the ears.
DEAR DISTRESSED: Vocal fry is not an accent, per se, but a style of speaking.
But I’d like to put a good word in for regional accents — in every country. I think they’re fascinating and important markers of culture and identity, and I would hate to see them disappear.