TODAY   |  May 11, 2013

Outrage over ‘hotness contest’ at Wash. school

A web-based beauty contest at a Seattle-area high school has some parents, students and school administrators outraged. It's called "May Madness," and advances teenage girls to the next round based solely on their looks. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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>>> this morning an online beauty contest at a seattle area high school has some parents, students, and school administrators outraged. it's called may madness and as miguel almaguer reports, teen girls advance to the next round based solely on their looks.

>> reporter: just outside seattle the school year will soon come to an end but not before what some call a dangerous tradition begins.

>> i did not want to be a part of it.

>> reporter: 16-year-old charlie nelson is one of 64 students in may madness, a facebook page presumably run by other students that pit female students against one another. a beauty face off allowing what's been dubbed the hottest girl to advance into the next round of voting until one girl is the winner.

>> people just feel like their privacy is being taken. they're being objectified. it just shouldn't be happening in today's world.

>> number one! yes!

>> reporter: with its tournament style elimination taken from the ncaa's march madness , may madness seems to have also taken a page from the social network . the movie depicting how facebook began.

>> we're ranking girls.

>> you think this is such a good idea?

>> reporter: school administrators in washington state say neither they nor police can shut down may madness. the site, they say, isn't illegal, just tacky.

>> it's a group of pretty sophisticated students, we're assuming students, who know what they're able to do off campus online to push their rights and it doesn't feel good.

>> reporter: this isn't the first year may madness has surfaced and this isn't the only local school where girls have been ranked on facebook . the school district says it's been dealing with this problem for years.

>> it's pretty disappointing to say the least.

>> reporter: a contest few like but one nobody can stop. for "today" miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles .