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July 15, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Study Break Put to Good Use

A recent slew of Facebook pages associating themselves with Victoria University have attracted thousands of fans, but not without controversy.

Pages such as ‘VUW Babe of the Day’, ‘VUW Minga of the Day’, ‘VUW Leaked Snapchats’, and ‘VUW Jew of the Day’ have all sprung up over the past month, with ‘VUW Babe of the Day’ proving most popular, garnering around 5000 likes before stagnating in popularity after exams finished and holidays began.

However, some of the pages have been criticised as being exploitative and objectifying. VUWSA Equity Officer Matt Ellison was unimpressed by the pages, saying they were “not in the best interest of students or society”. ‘VUW Minga of the Day’ and ‘VUW Jew of the Day’ have been removed.

“The [Babe of the Day] pages have near universally been objectifying women without their consent, attempting (and failing) to legitimise their actions by putting up the occasional photo of a man (significantly more clothed). I would suggest the excellent ‘NZ Misogynist of the Day’ page as an alternative,” said Ellison.

New Zealand Union of Students’ Association Women’s Rights Officer Arena Williams called ‘Babe of the Day’ pages a “tribute to gender expectations of beauty”.

“Users clearly view the women and men differently even if the page pretends to present them similarly. The comments on the women are generally about looks, dress sense, etc. The comments about the men are about their virility and other skills,” said Williams.

Such pages have sprung up nationwide with their administrators, and many of the featured ‘babes’, having defended the pages. Bruce Bayliss, creator of ‘Dunners Babe of the Day’, has said that the page was “purely to raise awareness of the overflowing babe population in Dunedin”, while an administrator for the Auckland page, Andre Kong, said that he was running the page “for a good cause”. The administrator of the Victoria page did not respond to Salient’s questions.

The University of Auckland page has been removed, and the administrators declined Salient’s request for comment by saying that they had “learnt [their] lesson not to affiliate with media/news” after being interviewed on TV3. Bayliss declined to answer Salient’s questions, stating “all our answers are already out there”. None of the ‘babes’ contacted by Salient for comment chose to respond.

It was widely noted that the rise of the ‘Babe of the Day’ pages coincided with study break prior to mid-year exams. The last ‘Victoria Babe of the
Day’ was posted on June 23.

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