The other day at a certain user-submitted news website, a new Northwestern student was asking for advice about “the party scene” at our school. He also inquires about the attractiveness of the “females” at our school (I think he means “women”), and several dudebros inform him not to get his hopes up. One writes, “No offense to the girls, but Northwestern is just not an attractive campus overall; guys and girls complain about it all the time.”
Lest you think this is just Reddit stupidity, it’s not. The alleged unattractiveness of Northwestern students is something that I’ve heard referenced many times. There’s even a related term: “Northwestern Goggles.” Urban Dictionary says that “Northwestern Goggles” is “when a female student from Northwestern University is considered “hot” only because most of her fellow students are ugly.” Dictionary db has a lengthy explanation of it too, except it references men rather than women. (Northwestern Goggles is, apparently, an equal-opportunity phenomenon.)
A student review of Northwestern at Vault.com states, “And if you’re looking for attractive male students, look elsewhere. Students develop “Northwestern Goggles” where people who, outside of NU, wouldn’t be considered dating material quickly become eligible and desirable bachelors or bachelorettes.” Campus media references the term, too. A few years back one of Daily’s sex columnists pondered this issue. And, of course, there’s a GIF.
I don’t believe the Myth of the Ugly NU Student. First of all, it just doesn’t jive with my experience at Northwestern and that of the friends that I’ve talked to. I know that’s circumstantial, but I think it’s still worthwhile to point out that some of us disagree. Some of us think that there are plenty of people at NU who look like they could be models. I can think of a number of qualities that are lacking on this campus–for instance, compassion–but attractiveness is not one of them.
Second, I’m somewhat disinclined to even consider the validity of this myth until someone designs a reliable, scientific measure of human attractiveness, applies it to representative populations of a number of universities, and shows me that Northwestern’s Attractiveness Quotient is lower than average.
And “I visited my friend at a state school once and the girls/guys there were so much hotter” does not count. That’s circumstantial evidence, and it’s also confirmation bias: we’ve all heard the Myth of the Ugly NU Student since we got here, so as soon as we get off campus we’re probably eager to try to find attractive specimens to validate our expectations.
Third, I’m not exactly sure what people hope to accomplish by constantly restating the Myth of the Ugly NU Student. While I’m not a huge believer in karma, I’m still pretty sure that it doesn’t exactly do wonders for your love life if you go around moaning about how ugly everyone at Northwestern is. And since most people do realize that beauty is subjective, “There are no hot girls/guys here” is really more a statement of “Look how Cool and Picky I am” than of any actual lack of beautiful people at Northwestern. Congratulations, you’re really Cool and Picky.
Ultimately, whether or not you find attractive members of your preferred gender(s) at Northwestern is entirely up to you. I think it’s pretty judgmental and shallow to dismiss our school with terms like “Northwestern Goggles.” If anything on this campus is ugly, it’s that.
I totally agree. Also, I’ve always wondered if the obsession with state school hotties (especially girls) has to do with some you-can’t-be-hott-and-intelligent complex…which is just offensive.
YEAH I definitely think there’s an element of that to it. If intelligence is unattractive to you, you’re probably not going to find any suitable partners at NU. Just sayin’.
There are SUBJECTIVE ways to measure attractiveness, but I feel like the existence of the “Northwestern goggles” meme would bias the results.
But, if my anecdotal evidence is anything to go on I’ve seen both the hottest girl I’ve ever seen AND the hottest guy I’ve ever seen around this area. ‘Course, I don’t actually know if that guy went here because I only saw him while I was coming back from Evanston, but still, the idea that there aren’t any attractive people here of either gender is just demonstrably false.
You are absolutely right! Whenever people start saying ““There are no hot ( cool, intelligent, nice, worthy) girls/guys here””, this has nothing to do with the place they are describing and everything to do with their own issues.
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Funny, I visit NU regularly and never got that impression. There is people of all sorts, just like in other universities. It also seems hard to believe that a place would self-select for ugliness.
The logic only really works if, as one of the other commenters pointed out, you also believe that intelligent people cannot be attractive.
What do you visit NU for? I’m guessing not the lovely weather. 🙂
I do some work with a prof there and as it is only a short hop away, I drop by every time I have a chance.
p.s. The weather in the summer is not half bad, and the location of the campus by the lake is lovely.
That’s true! I’m still here for the summer and I like it. During the winter it’s pretty horrid though.