Dear ‘Spotted: Loughborough Library’,
Firstly, I’d like to point out that a couple of weeks ago when you reappeared on my screen during exam time as you inevitably always do, I was pleased. Brilliant, I thought. Yet another way to shamelessly procrastinate and enjoy a window into the bizarre world that is a student library where we have nothing better to do than pass a degree.
Then, things started to change. I started to wonder why you were posting some of the things that were being sent in. I didn’t understand why you weren’t screening things which to me didn’t seem funny at all… but it’s ok, don’t worry. I understand now.
I can see that you are heroically providing a useful place for us students to be able to discuss the important things online, in a “freedom of speech” style public forum (as I think you described it) without censorship.
First of all I would like to thank you for this.
Thank you so much for creating an online forum currently reaching 8,000 people that is publicly linked to the University I go to and the Library I attend every day as I try to make my way through my education.
Thank you for making me feel nervous every time I visit the Page. Nervous that me or someone I know may have been singled out under the guise of a witty joke that is actually alerting me to the fact that the guy next to me has a boner watching me work, or letting me know that the way my friend is “fiddling with her iPad” is making her male neighbour think that she wants him to “fiddle with her”.
Thank you for making me annoyed on behalf of the girl studying on Level 3 who someone has pointed out is wearing gym lycra shorts and a tight top, considering your page encourages guys to “go find her”.
Thank you for making me feel increasingly uneasy when I read hilarious post after post addressed to the female Physics student whose “Uranus” is threatened to be destroyed; to the “hot Black girl” told to “Come and de-stress daddy”; to the girl eating lunch told to “use her munching skills” on a male student in the silent area; to the female Asian student who is told an anonymous guy in the library wants to “touch her in ways her father wouldn’t approve of”, to the girl alerted to the fact that she is now alone with someone in the library who wants her.
Thank you for making me feel sad for the girl who the page has pointed out is crying due to a breakup with her boyfriend, who has then been summoned via the page to go and “entertain” some boys who want her to go home with them “because he’s probably cheated on you”.
Thank you for making me feel incredibly anxious for a good half an hour after reading a post instructing someone to tell his girlfriend that he spent his money on “porn and a bag for her fucking head”, knowing that I needed to get over my nerves and build up the confidence to write on the post, despite feeling awkward and being scared about the response I would receive if I decided to.
Thank you for making me feel momentarily threatened; when your forum meant that my comment calling for tighter screening was greeted with several anonymous (of course) comments telling me I was a “dick-hating feminist” and to place a bag on my own head as he was “going in dry”.
Thank you for providing me with the stress of the next half an hour I watched these comments you did not delete accumulate likes from other students.
Thank you for making me feel frustrated, that for every person I’ve seen publicly summon the courage to challenge the anonymous creepy, violent or harassing comments to female students provided by your forum, there is someone ready to quickly shut them down with a hilarious and easy put down which subsequently accumulates 20 reinforcing ‘likes’ within seconds and continuing silent (or verbal) consent from yourself.
Thank you for making me feel embarrassed when friends and siblings at other universities around the country look at the Loughborough Spotted page and let me know how “backwards” my university is and how much less would be tolerated or encouraged at their own universities.
Thank you for making me feel lonely for a moment.
Thank you for letting me know that it is probably me that needs a better sense of humour or needs to accept freedom of speech because, if “if I can take a dick; I can take a joke”.
And finally, thank you for letting me know in a personal message on Facebook - “By getting rid of (the misogynistic comment) and not dealing with the issue publicly then you are complying. If you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem.”
Thank you admin of Loughborough Library Spotted page. I understand now. I am the problem.