Although it has been up and running for two months, the Mills College Confessions page garnered overnight attention from the student body this week, and its arsenal of anonymous confessions has been steadily growing ever since.
The page has become its own community within the Mills community and, in a way, it functions as a release valve for students to openly speak their minds, uncensored and anonymous, without fear of being penalized or shot down by other students. Students are able to state their fears and have the kinds of conversations surrounding race, sexuality, and political correctness that are not happening on campus. Students have a space to share their innermost thoughts and secrets without feeling like they have to talk about them with anyone when the anonymous mask comes off and there is face-to-face contact.
There is also an entertainment factor present on the page that has students ROFL [rolling on the floor laughing] behind their computers. The reality is that although a good amount of the confessions at first register as shocking, many students are thinking similar thoughts and either do not know how to say them or don’t feel comfortable doing so. The content of the page is humorous for readers because students finally do not have to filter themselves, and there is not currently a space for something like that
Despite the good that comes out of the page for students, it also has the potential to produce negative consequences. Students targeting one another’s posts and arguing amongst one another can cause feelings of invalidation that could be magnified by the fact that everything is anonymous. In some respects, the page sets the groundwork for more cyberbullying than what is already happening on the page; it’s becoming the digital form of the Mean Girls “Burn Book.” In addition, some of the confessions are serious accusations, and could potentially be harmful for other people’s livelihoods.
Overall, we at The Campanil believe that the page has most positive and negative aspects to it. It can be an untapped source of community for students on campus who otherwise feel unsafe when trying to express their thoughts, feelings, or secrets. It is entertaining and fun for students to read and discuss with one another on a normally quiet campus. At the same time, it is important to note that the page can also have potentially destructive effects to students’ mindsets about their fellow members of the community. It can create negative friction between students because it creates an opportunity for anonymous cyberbullying.
Read The Campanil‘s headline story on the student reactions to the Mills College Confessions Facebook page and also one Mills student’s Letter to the Editor about how the page paints the College in a negative light.