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Professor forced RateMyProfessor to lower rating of “hotness” — why it’s important

Alexander Alexeenko - 29.04.20

The RateMyProfessor site, which in its functionality allows students to evaluate professors, received complaints from teachers. RateMyProfessor removed its “chili pepper” category, which allowed students to rate teachers' physical attractiveness, rating them as “hot” or “no.” The dissatisfaction of the teachers was formulated by Bann Ann McLaughlin, professor of neurology at Vanderbilt University. She complained via Twitter that women teachers have a hard time. That the ability to evaluate the attractiveness of teachers has nothing to do with quality teaching.

1. RateMyProfessor hot or not

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McLaughlin's tweet appeared in response to a RateMyProfessor rating requesting suggestions from its followers. Her request became viral: almost 3,000 reposts and more than 15,000 likes, as professors and teachers across the country talked about the discriminatory nature of this function. She certainly has a sexist connotation. The resource had to make excuses that they did not mean physical attractiveness, but only reflect a dynamic and exciting learning style.

2. RateMyProfessor about teaching ethics

But McLaughlin said it was discouraging and dishonest, that RateMyProfessor called the chili pepper rating an indicator of the professor’s teaching style, especially based on his past actions: every year RateMyProfessor publishes lists based on user ratings, including one for the “hottest” professors. And as a joke in honor of April Fool's Day, in 2014 it was announced the creation of the site “DateMyProforesource”.

“It's a chili pepper,” said McLaughlin, who is in her forties. “I think we all know what that means.” RateMyProfessor when it was reached by Moneyish, declined to comment further than the original tweet.

“I know many colleagues who teach in high school, and these teachers should be judged by their nature and ability to teach,” she told Manish. “This type of feedback that they receive does not help them become better teachers or tell them if they communicate their messages to students correctly. You should be judged by what you do and how well you do it, and how you look should not reflect that.”

Much of McLaughlin's job as a laboratory researcher is centered around a one-on-one meeting with graduate students or in small groups, and it has never been listed on the site; professors who do not teach large classes or engage in only individual student meetings are usually not included. But for her 10 years at Vanderbilt University, the effects of chili function bothered her.

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