Just last week we wrote about college women who unwittingly had their photos included in online "hotness" competitions. But there are plenty of college women who are doing their own self-promotion -- sending in risqué photos of themselves in hopes of winning some cash to lighten burdensome student debt. And we're not talking a couple of hundred dollars: The eternal 12-year-olds over at CollegeHumor.com offer a $10,000 payout for the winner of America's Hottest College Girl 2007 competition.
It's safe to say these competitions have been rendered much more approachable by the impressive amount of bandwidth dedicated to hosting suggestive bathroom mirror photo shoots and the like on sites like MySpace and Facebook. Plenty of college students are already broadcasting this stuff to the world for free, why not do it for money, right? (Of course, that's to eschew the question of why you're putting it out there to begin with.)
Today the San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at these online "beauty" competitions and asks whether choosing to pose online in nothing more than an oversize football jersey might haunt some of these women post-college. Lauren Gelman, associate director of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University Law School, told the Chronicle: "Young people have always had their experimental side and their conformist side, and they've never been as concerned about the consequences of their experimental side as older adults are. The difference is, because of the advances in technology, those experimentations are more permanent. Are people going to regret that in the future? We'll see, but I think their expectations of privacy are different."
I hate to sound like a grumpy Luddite -- in fact, I'm a bona fide baby of the computer boom -- but those expectations haven't been tested out. Sure, times are a-changin' -- potential employers may eventually show an ability to separate an applicant's personal online presence from his or her professional record. But it doesn't hurt to consider that students at some of the country's most prestigious law schools claim they've been denied jobs because other students have posted their photos in online forums and chatted about their breasts or the STDs they carry. Outrageous as that is, how might employees respond when the applicant's the one welcoming the attention?