A Facebook group page entitled "Westchester SMUT List" has quickly gained notoriety as well as over 7,000 fans in 24 hours. The local news has covered the story of a group page on Facebook that lists, under the heading "SMUT", the names of approximately 100 girls from Westchester, NY and other nearby towns. In the segment the reporter speculates that this may be a case of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying occurs when a teen is threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another teen using the Internet or other digital device. There is no question this was designed to embarrass or target the girls on the list. Furthermore, it highlights the sexual nature in which girls are often bullied. Sexual slurs are used as weapons by bullies, because of their power to humiliate and shame the recipient. By using the word "slut" (or "smut" because of Facebook regulations), a bully insults a girl's actual or perceived sexual behavior in order to shame, degrade and quickly dehumanize her. It is also extremely sexist, and in this case the misogyny is highlighted by the mass amount of girls targeted.

The list is certainly not the first instance of online slut-bashing, but it is receiving media attention because of how quickly it became popular. While horrible, this case does have a silver lining. "Get the Westchester SMUT List Deleted" Facebook groups have already emerged and meaningful conversations about this form of bullying and sexism have taken place on the very same medium initially used to spread the mean-spirited list.

About the Author

Kathryn Stamoulis Ph.D.

Kathryn Stamoulis, Ph.D., teaches at psychology at Hunter College, and specializes in adolescent and sexual development.

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