Spotted: Glasgow Uni Library – Tackling the Issue?

During exam time, the library is a, for lack of a better word, zoo. And, like so many others I know, I spend my fair share of time on the internet: trawling Facebook and twitter, taking countless BuzzFeed quizzes, watching videos on YouTube, stumbling upon ridiculous websites. The emergence of the ‘Spotted’ pages has been yet another source of entertainment and procrastination for those in the depths of revision hell. Recently, though, there have been numerous complaints about the content of the posts on the Spotted: Glasgow Uni Library page. These complaints have been made to the page’s moderators and also to the SRC, with various people calling for the page to be taken down.

I have now read through many, many arguments on the page between those claiming it creates an unsafe atmosphere in the library, and those who argue that it’s “a light hearted page that brightens up the stone dead misery that is the library” (to quote an anonymous friend). And I have to say, I can understand both points of view. On the one hand, I do not believe that any of the posts on the page have been made with malicious intent. But, at the same time, there does seem to be a higher frequency of female objectification. Though, due to the anonymous nature of the page itself, how is anybody to know whether the posts are made by a male or female? I think there are presumptuous accusations of misogyny and sexism when it is not stated by whom the posts are made. I do not condone sexism, but are these accusations possibly a little misguided? Of course, if someone were feeling genuinely threatened or at risk due to a post, obviously complaints should be made to the page, and to library security.

Moreover, people judge each other. It is a human trait and is not going to go away just because a page is taken down. Whether this page exists or not, these posts would occur as thoughts or, possibly, as messages between friends, flatmates, course mates, etc… The real issue here is the environment of inherent sexism that does still exist, not some silly posts that people make instead of actually talking to another human being. Taking this page down will not make any of the thoughts or comments on it disappear. And if it is taken down, I don’t doubt another will be made soon enough.

So, it really wouldn’t bother me if the page is taken down or continues to exist. I find some of the posts amusing, others are downright cringe-worthy. And the posts about desk hogs? Move their stuff and stop bitching about it on a social media platform that they are quite unlikely to actually see.

Ailsa Pender


The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Glasgow University Union.

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