It’s not the first time that someone decided to put together a traffic-generating list for the Internet identifying colleges with the most attractive females on campus. But when BusinessWeek published the results of a survey on Nov. 9 naming the business schools with the most attractive females, it seemed totally out of character and in poor taste.
The magazine apparently agreed after it faced a backlash from readers who complained about the feature. As reader Rachel Sklar made clear in a comment left on the article:
“Nothing says ‘We don’t take women in business seriously’ like ranking women based on their looks. This demeans every woman who works at your magazine, every woman you’ve ever covered, and pretty much every woman ever. And it is meant to. Know that this is intentional sexism. Whomever was responsible for publishing this knew exactly what kind of message it sent. That it got sent from BUSINESSWEEK makes it all the more stunning. Fix. This. Fast.”
BusinessWeek published the story, apparently based on a flimsy online poll, less than a week before its influential business school rankings which are due to be released Nov. 15. The magazine claimed that the winners of its online contest were the University of Virginia’s Darden School, Boston University’s business school, and Michigan State’s Broad School of Business–all tied at 25% of the total vote.
Two other schools were named in the contest. The University of Wisconsin’s business school at Madison and Loyola University’s business school apparently received 12.5% of the online votes.
It was part of a new feature on the website called BusinessWeek Face/Off which the magazine describes as a “new social voting game where we channel your opinions about the biggest news stories of the day. Each day, we’ll post a series of simple choices: which is more likely? Which is better? Who’s up, Who’s down, and Who won the day? We’ll ask you, our readers, to cast your vote and tell us which stories matter and which don’t.”
The poll on the most attractive females on a business school campus followed earlier polls last week on “which business schools best for work-life balance” and “which business school has the best location.”
Respondents to the work-life balance question rated Indiana University’s Kelley School as best with 34.2% of the vote, while respondents to the best location question had Georgetown University’s McDonough School in first place with 57.2% of the vote. BusinessWeek did not disclose how many people actually voted in this feature—and it is possible, if not highly likely, that very few people participated in the feature which was clearly an effort to drive more traffic to the BusinessWeek website.
The magazine pulled the feature from the web on Saturday and then deleted a tweet promoting the story a day later. The magazine also issued a statement on Monday.
“We regret issuing two online polls last week that asked our readers to comment on which business schools had the most attractive male and female students. The Face/Off polls have been taken down from businessweek.com. They were in poor taste and undermine the tremendous value our Business Schools vertical provides.”