Sunday, March 11, 2007

Online Beauty Contests in the Legal World

Dan Markel makes a very perceptive point regarding the controversial practice of certain posters on a law student message board: If linking to pictures of law students and commenting on their looks (or even holding beauty contests in which people are enrolled without their consent) is outside the bounds of decent society, why haven't we seen more ire directed at Above the Law? ATL regularly solicits nominations for its "hotties" contests from the ranks of librarians, attorneys, and other persons who are, like law students, not public figures in the conventional sense. Photos are linked for all to see. The comment threads on the contests regularly contain cutting personal remarks about the subjects' looks, although they are not as dirty as the threads at AutoAdmit that I have seen. And ATL has refused to remove nominees from a contest if the nominees so request.

I enjoy reading ATL, and I don't mean this as an attack. But isn't the difference more about the different modes of expression (childish profanity and insults versus more restrained discussion) than it is about objectification or what have you? Why is talking about 2Ls terrible if ERISA associates are fair game?
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