When students opened Instagram April 3, they expected to see @marylandchicks’ newest upload: a nine-video post of students making out in public spaces near the University of Maryland campus.
Instead, they were met with a photo of a gravestone reading: RIP MAKEOUT MONDAY 2022-2023.
The account, which is affiliated with the brand Barstool Sports, started posting the series in October 2022. Followers would submit footage of other people making out, often without consent.
According to freshman elementary education major Rachel Wolkoff, the content was funny when it first started, but escalated very quickly.
“People started putting on a show, and then it just became this crazy thing that I don’t think needed attention,” Wolkoff said.
Other students, including sophomore criminology and criminal justice major Marissa Jarrett, echoed this sentiment. Jarrett was featured in one of the Makeout Monday videos, but not as a subject — she was a bystander to a couple making out at a frat party in January.
Jarrett knew she was being filmed and thought it was fun to participate and be on the @marylandchicks Instagram account. While she doesn’t regret it, Jarrett said it turned into beating a dead horse.
“I thought it was funny when it first popped up, like for the meme, and then it kind of got overplayed … I’m not too upset that it’s gone,” Jarrett said.
Lo Willingham, a junior psychology major and the historian for Preventing Sexual Assault at the University of Maryland, said Makeout Monday really has no redeeming qualities. PSA promotes and educates students at this university about consent, and members of the organization weren’t happy with the traction Makeout Monday posts were getting.
If students are going to bars and parties with the expectation and knowledge that they will be photographed, it’s a different story, Willingham said, but that was not the case.
“We felt like it just encouraged people to go out with the purpose of videotaping other people, which is just a little bit of a privacy violation, especially when you’re doing something intimate with a stranger,” Willingham said. “If you knew there were gonna be photographers in there, you might have acted differently.”
College students who are out at bars or parties should have the freedom to make consensual, although sometimes regrettable, decisions without being put on blast for the whole internet to see, Wolkoff said.
Willingham expressed a similar sentiment, saying college students should be able to “test the waters,” without being shamed or having strangers running their hands through their hair.
Makeout Monday also turned into a form of fear-mongering, Willingham said. Students could be going out and meeting people but end up feeling too anxious to make a real connection.
“It puts a little bit of a damper on it knowing that someone could be filming you,” Willingham said.
Jarrett said the posts made her start to feel more anxious about going out.
“When I would go out I’d be so paranoid of talking to people, and then maybe we shared a kiss and someone recorded it,” she said.
Wolkoff said while people are making the decision to make out in a public space, these posts have to be seen through the eyes of the people who are posted without their consent.
Some students featured in the Makeout Monday posts and @marylandchicks declined to comment.
Everyone is entitled to their privacy and people should think before they decide to hit the record button, Wolkoff said.