31/05/2013 09:05 BST | Updated 28/07/2013 06:12 BST

'Rate Your Shag' Appears and Then Disappears From Facebook


I was pretty horrified when I began to see pages like 'Rate your shag' and 'Tell Him/Her' show up on my newsfeed.

There's been a trend recently of University-specific pages showing up for me. With pages like 'Spotted' blowing up so much that there are multiple ones for my university alone (one for the bus, one for campus, one for halls, one for the student areas etc), it was only a matter of time after I spotted one 'Rate Your Shag' page for a friend's university, before one for my university appeared shortly.

Except this time, the pages have taken a more serious turn. Where before, although they were often borderline, the pages were on most counts relatively harmless, pages like 'Rate Your Shag' are just another example of the prevalent 'lad culture' which is plaguing the students of my generation. Disguised as a bit of fun, lad culture is used to make offensive and often sexist jokes. I would have thought, given it's public slating by a large proportion of the media, that by now someone would have got the message.

So why is this still happening? Did the people who created the 'rate your shag' pages realise it's dangerous and sexist undertones? Did they realise that they were adding to the prevalent culture of slut-shaming? Did these so-called intelligent people even think about the implications of their actions?

The thing is, I think that's giving them an easy way out. Making a page to name and shame previous sexual partners must have malicious intentions at heart, and suggesting that these people just didn't think is giving them an easy option on the levels of "It's just a bit of banter".

So when I then saw this statement from Facebook, I was pretty relieved.

Reacting mainly to the work of everyday sexism, Facebook have finally changed their policy to stop pages like this happening. Pretty soon after, the pages began to disappear, as quickly as they'd appeared in the first place. It looks like Facebook has finally got something right.

I truly hope the actions taken by Facebook today help to nip lad culture in the bud. If a big corporation like Facebook, so important to many students' lives says "Hey, this is not okay", like the rest of us have been screaming for months and years, maybe they'll soon realise when their pages get deleted what the harms are. Even so, I can feel relieved that Facebook is finally on our side, so if another wave of similar pages pops up, I know that clicking the report button will finally make a difference.