Stall Wars

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Bathroom vandalism targets private lives of female studentsSt

The carving of a “Thot List” on the door of the last stall of the girls’ fifth floor bathroom has caused an uproar amongst the student body, particularly the sophomores, for its profane branding of the girls featured.

Recently the word “thot” (That Hoe Over There), has found itself alongside “slut” in the adolescent vernacular with some arguing that words such as these aid in diminishing a woman’s moral regard. Calling a girl a thot will inevitably lead to debates surrounding girls and their “dating habits.” This isn’t something new to THHS; two years ago, an op-ed by Ross Cimalga on the frustrations a boy faces with unreciprocated feelings paired with the dress code controversy and the mass shooting by Elliot Rodgers came together to form an unprecedented blowout. The list has again opened the topic to discussion.

Sophomore Andrea Mirauti explained, “No girl has a right to examine other girls’ social and private lives and they cannot judge one another…both boys and girls feel the need to make others feel bad about themselves in any way possible even if what they are accusing them of isn’t true.”

She continued, “People’s opinions are subjective and purely based on jealousy or the dislike of another person.”

As soon as the list’s existence was made apparent, people started lining up to take pictures. Within a few hours, the photos made their rounds on Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. There was a range of reactions from girls who were on the list. Some found it petty and others found it outright disturbing.

A sophomore who was targeted dismissed the list saying, “It was kind of irrelevant to me. It didn’t affect me because a lot of girls are used to this. It was funny that someone took time out of their day to do this and carve it into a bathroom stall because they had nothing better to do with their lives.”

“I do think this is slut-shaming…it’s a bad thing and I think this was meant to be a joke [but] this is something that should have consequences. People shouldn’t take this to heart because this is just somebody trying to shame others for virtually nothing,” she added.

Another student whose name was carved into the door found the list and the use of the word to be “very disrespectful, demeaning, and offensive.”

She commented, “Girls let jealousy go too far and don’t know how to deal with it. Now everyone who knows of the list…will think of those girls by what they were labeled in a bathroom stall.”

On the dating lives of girls at THHS, sophomore Nicholas Skaliotis commented that girls tend to face more scrutiny when it comes to their romantic relationships, saying, “Guys usually don’t have a lot of hatred towards [each other] but some girls tend to….hold things against each other. I know it’s not always true… maybe here it is.”

When asked his opinion on the list and the effects it had, he added, “I don’t really think it’s anyone’s business, it’s really messed up to call someone a ‘thot’…[The list] made [the girls] self-conscious.You could write whatever you want but there’s so many ways to say things without hurting others.”

French and Spanish teacher Paola Sierra was the first authority figure to whom the list was made known. She asserted, “[Thot] is a pejorative term and what made me more upset was that the girls who informed [me] were also upset.” On the topic of what to do in a situation where one may find herself targeted, she urged, “Always tell an adult first so that we’re able to then take care of it.”

Senior Branco Gamarra questioned the validity of the list calling it “not that big of a deal… Especially if you don’t meet the standards behind the meaning of the word, it really should not bother you that much.”

Junior Hemma Kilawan disagrees and insists, “I believe this list and the word shows the rising misogyny and the obvious objectification of women. This list should be treated no differently than a case of bullying.”

One of the aforementioned girls on the list agrees, adding, “Girls should respect each other more…at the end of the day we all have the same emotions and feelings that were hurt by this list.”

The Thot List was removed to the best of the custodial staff’s ability a day after Dean Robin Figelman was notified of its presence. Though remnants of the carvings remain, for the most part, the stall door has been sandpapered to erase the list. Ms. Figelman confirmed, “I went up and looked at it, took a picture of it so that I could have a copy of it…and [I got] the custodians to clean it off the bathroom door.”

Dean Figelman is actively investigating the situation and added that she doesn’t know “much as of now” except that the perpetrator is a sophomore. As for the potential consequences, she disclosed, “I don’t have [consequences] in mind right now, for that I’ll have to talk to the principal, but if I find the person, demerits will be given and we’ll see what else.”

In regards to the nature of the list and the use of the word ‘thot’ she said, “I was kind of appalled and I couldn’t understand why somebody at Townsend Harris would make a list of ‘hoes’…[and people they] know nothing about.”

She finished, “The list was probably created by a sick student who needs a lot of help. I can’t really say that it’s [jealousy or hatred] for sure because anything’s possible.”

Ms. Sierra concluded, “We should always be more concerned about ourselves instead of…others…and make sure that our own behavior and actions transmit positivity and everything else will fall into place.”