National / Social Issues

Colleges named in Japan tabloid's list of schools with 'easy girls' condemn article as misogynistic

by Satoshi Sugiyama

Staff Writer

The fallout over an article in a tabloid magazine ranking colleges according to the promiscuity of their female students after drinking intensified Wednesday, with all institutions named in the article accusing the publication of sexism.

The criticism from the universities follows growing anger and frustration over the Dec. 25 issue of the weekly magazine Spa!, which listed five colleges as having female students who were “sexually easy” at drinking parties. The article, based on an interview with a matching site organizer, gained widespread attention after prominent Japanese-British artist Sputniko! urged her Twitter followers to sign an online petition calling for the magazine to publicly apologize and recant the story. More than 40,000 people had signed the online petition as of Wednesday evening.

“We express our profound alarm over the article’s misogynistic content,” Chuo University said in a statement. “We demand the publisher take seriously the fact that the article impairs the dignity and threatens the safety of not only female students in our university but also young people in general.”

In a similar statement, Ferris University described the ranking as “contemptuous toward women” and “deplorable.”

A spokesperson from Jissen Women’s University confirmed that its president had issued a protest to the magazine’s publisher, Fusosha Publishing Inc., saying that the article slandered the university and its students.

Otsuma Women’s University, for its part, said it would send the publisher a protest letter on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the school, while Hosei University also saying it had formally objected to the article.

The magazine’s editorial department apologized Monday for “using sensational language” and for creating the ranking, which it said “came out in a way that may have offended readers.” Besides the list, the magazine has previously published similar articles including one that detailed “the characteristics of a woman who gets into bed easily” and “the types of alcohol to use to have sex with a woman.”

The article has attracted much public attention, with critics citing it as an example of Japan’s sluggish progress in advancing gender equality and a lackadaisical attitude in society toward the objectification of women.

“Imagine this; there might be people at those listed universities that have been sexually assaulted and continuously blame themselves,” tweeted photojournalist Natsuki Yasuda. “Even if that is not the case for others, the existence of such an article itself is an act of violence.”