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A group of girls discovered a 'hot or not' list going around their school. So they fought back.

When a group of teen girls discovered a sexist list created by their male classmates this month, they were, at first, aghast.

The list, compiled by male students at a high school in Maryland, US, ranked 18 of the senior female students, giving them each a number between 5.5 and 9.4. And yes, that ranking was based on their looks.

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School students told the Washington Post that they felt violated, objectified and worried about being judged by boys they thought were their friends.

But then, they got angry.

The group of girls decided that day to report the list to a school administrator, expecting their complaint to be met with justice.

Except the next day they were told that the school’s investigation resulted in the detention of just one boy, for just one day.

The girls – who didn’t think this was even close to good enough – decided to get more of their female classmates involved to go back to the school and demand further action be taken.

“It was the last straw, for us girls, of this ‘boys will be boys’ culture,” one of the students, Yasmin Behbehani said.

“We’re the generation that is going to make a change.”

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The following day, about 40 senior girls packed into the assistant principal’s office as the student who first learned of the list, Nicky Schmidt, read out a statement she’d written.

“We want to know what the school is doing to ensure our safety and security. We should be able to learn in an environment without the constant presence of objectification and misogyny.”

That meeting resulted in the school deciding to hold a large meeting with the male students on that Friday, which just happened to be International Women’s Day.

During the meeting – which went for two and a half hours – the girls told the group how the list had made them feel, and also shared their past experiences of sexual harassment and abuse.

And this is the great thing: the boys actually listened.

The teens heard what their female classmates were saying and it caused them to rethink their behaviours. In particular, the 18-year-old who wrote the list.

Though he told the Washington Post that he didn’t spread the list around and didn’t know how it started circulating among his male classmates, he took responsibility for the “stupid decision” to create it.

“When you have a culture where it’s just normal to talk about that, I guess making a list about it doesn’t seem like such a terrible thing to do, because you’re just used to discussing it,” he told the newspaper.

“I recognise that I’m in a position in this world generally where I have privilege. I’m a white guy at a very rich high school. It’s easy for me to lose sight of the consequences of my actions and kind of feel like I’m above something.”

…And we’re cheering. Because that is the best response we could hope for, a change of mind – and it happened because a bunch of 17-year-old and 18-year-old girls made it happen.

But they’re not done yet.

The male and female teens are now meeting almost weekly to discuss how to improve the culture of the school in all levels, curating an art exhibit about toxic aspects of teen culture and have plans to send a senior girl and boy to each of the younger grades to talk about toxic masculinity.

Which means that what the girls have done will help improve the lives of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School girls, and boys – hopefully for generations to come.

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