Her Male Classmates Joked That She Has “Pretty Privilege” When She Did Well in Her Exams. Was She Wrong For Reporting Them?

A young woman received more than 31,100 reactions and over 4,700 comments on social media for her story about reporting her classmates for joking that she had ‘pretty privilege.’

The original poster (OP), who is 23 years old, is one of the few female students in a male-dominated course at a highly prestigious university. The other students are very competitive and do not take her seriously due to her gender, so she chooses to socialize with people outside of the course.

One day, the professor congratulated her in front of everyone in the class for performing well on the recent exams, having topped two out of four.

Following this, her interactions with a group of male classmates became increasingly hostile and rude. They were even crudely joking about the idea that pretty female students get overscored in assessments, which they revealed in a presentation about “Pretty Privilege.”

Around that time, OP started seeing a Ph.D. student from within her department and had been casually meeting for about a month when they ran into her coursemates together.

The next day in class, one of her male classmates asked if her “boyfriend” had helped with the exams. He said this intentionally loudly and in front of the professor, who knew the student they were talking about. OP clarified that they were only friends, which seemed to fuel their gossip.

The coursemates kept discussing the matter in two additional classes within earshot of the professors, saying she received help for the exams, even though OP wasn’t seeing the Ph.D. student then.

OP started to grow anxious and, not wanting everyone to know about her love life, mentioned the incident to her supervisor, who emailed the coursemates’ supervisors asking them to remind the students about proper conduct. The email described their treatment of an “unnamed female student.”

As a result, OP’s male peers figured out that she was the student in question and confronted her after class. Apparently their supervisors were “very cold” and less interested in helping them.

They accused her of taking things too far as it was just a “silly joke” and suggested that one of them could lose out on his financial aid due to her complaint.

Now, OP is feeling quite embarrassed and is unsure if she was right to report their behavior, especially since another friend of hers also said she took it too far.

OP wants to know AITA (Am I the A***ole)?

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Reactions From Social Media

OP’s case has sparked much debate on social media about whether or not she was right to report the behavior to the supervisor.

One user received more than 46,700 “upvotes” for their response: “Any retaliation should also be reported. They’re angling for some big problems if they keep this up.”

“They know what they’re doing because jokers like this have been doing it for years— undermine your accomplishments, question your abilities, and then act shocked when you stand up for yourself,” another person responded. “I’m happy and somewhat surprised that the faculty and administration are treating this as seriously as it deserves.”

“Tell them maybe people would be more motivated to help them if they smiled more,” one person joked.

“Also, if the guy loses any financial aid, he lost it himself with his actions,” said another. “He’s now trying to emotionally blackmail you into taking your accusation back. Don’t let them win.”

The commenters shared their honest opinions. “If their ‘pretty privilege joke’ made you lose out on a scholarship or caused you to be graded extra hard, they wouldn’t give it a crap,” one person stated. “They intentionally and repeatedly made this ‘silly joke’ out loud in front of professors.”

TPR Teaching produced and syndicated the article: She Reported Her Classmates For Joking That She Has “Pretty Privilege.” Reddit Source.

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I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.

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