The satirical tabloid the Yale Rumpus on Tuesday will publish its 50 Most Beautiful edition, a list of the 50 most attractive students on Yale’s campus, as judged by the publication.
The edition, which includes interviews with and photos of the students who make the list, is a tradition of more than two decades. But the 50 Most edition has undergone many changes over the years. Previous print issues of Rumpus featured nudity and made no attempt to conceal the names of students who were the butt of their jokes, according to Zach Kreiser ’19, one of the publications three editors in chief.
Comparatively, Rumpus today is more socially conscious, Kreiser said, and standards have changed.
The three editors in chief of the publication would not disclose their criteria for picking the 50 students, instead joking that they used an “algorithm bought on the dark web, developed by David Swenson of the Yale Investments Office.”
The editors agreed that the evolution of technology over the past decade has contributed to the toning-down of the 50 Most issue. Historically, Rumpus was published only in print, largely restricting the circulation of information to campus. But after the publication went online in the mid-2010s, the dissemination of information via the internet led the editors to become more cautious.
The shifting standards and content of the Rumpus 50 Most list can also be traced to shifting social culture and its reflection within the Yale community, according to Chase Ammon ’18, one of the three editors in chief of Rumpus.
“I think society has become a little more politically correct, and Yale has trended in that direction,” he said.
When asked about public backlash, Ammon admitted that “we’ve had our few shares of maybe publishing things we probably shouldn’t have and [gotten] reactions from the community that weren’t positive.”
“[These incidents] police us in a way that helps us grow into what they want the magazine to be,” he added.
While physical beauty still serves as a general threshold for eligibility into the 50 Most, personality does count, said Nick Adeyi ’19, one of Rumpus’ editors in chief. Kreiser said that the Rumpus staff interviews all members of the 50 Most list and makes it clear that if someone is physically attractive but has an unappealing personality, “it definitely comes out in the interview, and they also get roasted for it.”
Some on campus question whether rating students on physical standards of attractiveness is tasteful or even ethical.
“Any time you’re focusing so much on surface-level beauty on a campus that’s supposed to be encouraging the evaluation of different aspects of people, that could be a negative influence on campus,” said Benjamin Martin ’18.
Still, some students have a more optimistic outlook on the list. Jennifer Cha ’18 called it “a good opportunity to learn about 50 other people on campus and just a little bit about what they do.”
A 2015 member of the 50 Most, Paul Lee ’18, reminisced on his experience being interviewed by Rumpus and being dubbed the “YSO Heartthrob” in his personal blurb.
“They tried to make me tell funny stories and details about myself that would be funny because that’s what the Rumpus tries to do,” he explained.
If someone asks to be on the list, that person is immediately blacklisted, the editors in chief of Rumpus said.
Despite regular accusations that the list is unethical and the risk of potential backlash, the 50 Most list has been and will stay an integral facet of Rumpus’ annual publications, Ammon said.
“There’s that twinkle of hope in everyone that some day they might be on the 50 Most, too,” he said. “So I think that alone is enough to keep it going.”
Adeyi said the 50 Most list is satirical and all in good fun — or, in his words, “it’s not that deep.”
Rumpus will hold its 50 Most launch party on Wednesday, April 4, at Partners Cafe at 10 p.m.
Allison Park | firstname.lastname@example.org