Feminism | Posted by Julie Z on 05/15/2014

What Young Women Really Need to Know About College

I went off to college my freshman year under the impression that I was headed towards the greatest experience of my life. Hastily-constructed college movies full of crappy dialogue and 30-year-old actors with perfect faces and bodies cast as 18-year-old freshmen had completely swayed my idea of what to expect, leading me to believe that instead of a liberal arts school in Manhattan, I was actually bound for some version of an orgy interspersed with classes like “The Sociological Impact of Mercantilism in Western Europe: 1600-1750″ (you know, practical, useful information that would directly impact and inform a later career). But it soon became clear that despite such unilaterally manic depictions of the college experience, it was in fact a far more complex transition, and one that was deceptively challenging …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Darializa Avila-Chevalier on 04/24/2014

Choosing Not to Support Marginalization of Minority Groups Through Illustration

Illustration by Darializa Avila-Chevalier

As an artist for my college’s newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, I sometimes have to illustrate pieces laced with unrecognized privilege. I’ve drawn for articles that fetishize poverty in Spanish Harlem and pieces that depict the “Columbia experience” as entirely universal to its student body. I’ve also illustrated for authors who have complained that “their privilege excludes them from conversation.” As a result, I, a low-income, Afro-Latina, first-generation American woman, feel alienated in my own community. This is not to say that Spec’s contributors aim to drown out the voices of the marginalized—I believe most have good intentions and hope to create a forum of expression safe for all identities. But intention is irrelevant when people of marginalized identities feel the ever-present divide reinforced.

I love …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Paulina P on 04/2/2014

Body Shaming In College Health Services Needs to Stop

“So it says on your record that you have a history with an eating disorder.”

“Yes,” I sputtered. I know it’s true, but no matter how many times the nurse practitioners read it to me at Barnard College Student Health Services, it still feels uncomfortable.

“All right, well, we have a new policy where we have to weigh you once a year. I know we weighed you in the fall, but let’s just do it again.”

For years, these numbers ruled my world. Every day I would step on the scale, and that determined my worth—which is why in my second year of recovery, I refuse to weigh myself. In the fall, a nurse read the same medical history to me. She told me the same policy, and I stepped …

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Feminism | Posted by Maya B on 03/3/2014

10 Reasons I Love Lady College

As I look back at my first semester of college, I’ve come to realize that I made the perfect decision for me. It’s comforting that after a year of college application hell that I got into and actually really love the school I’m at. I love it for a lot of reasons, but one of these is definitely that I’m at an all women’s college (for lack of a better, all identity inclusive term). I’m not going to pretend that Lady College is for everyone, or that all women’s colleges are the same, but here are 10 things that I found that I love about being at my Lady College:

1. Gender doesn’t decide who talks in class. In high school, I used to feel like either teachers would …

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Awareness, Feminism | Posted by Ty S on 02/10/2014

Help the Obama Administration Fight Sexual Assault On College Campuses

Universities have a responsibility to protect students from violence, discrimination, harassment, and assault. When something violent happens to students on or off campus, universities have a responsibility to handle these cases in an appropriate way that keeps the campus community and the victim safe. Given this extremely basic responsibility that schools owe to their tuition-paying students, it’s incredible how frequently students’ rights are violated after reporting sexual assault. It’s incredible how incapable universities have been at protecting students who have been assaulted. It’s incredible how often victims of sexual assault also become victims of illegal institutionalized rape apologism.

In response to these universities’ failures to protect victims, there’s been a wave of students bringing their cases to the federal level. Victims across the country have been reporting their universities’ illegal …

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Feminism | Posted by Alice W on 11/11/2013

Rape Culture Shock

I thought the toughest adjustment when it came to starting college would be the workload, or self discipline, or missing my friends and family. I was prepared for those challenges. What I didn’t expect was the anxiety that comes with wedging my fingernail into the groove of my pocket knife while walking home alone late at night.

Or looking over my shoulder on dark streets, to make sure that the guy who was just behind me isn’t following too closely.

Or getting my things and moving to another floor of the library after a guy sitting in a corner with a blank computer screen, is staring at me every time I glance over.

Or that sense of vulnerability when I’m in a study room at one a.m and I’m the …

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Feminism | Posted by Sara Wong on 07/24/2013

On Being ‘Friends With Benefits’

Not quite.

The tricky thing about friends with benefits is that the lines you painstakingly set up get blurred so quickly; before you know it, there are no longer any lines discerning black from white — it is all just a pale shade of grey. You question all your emotions and when you start doing that, nothing is simple anymore. You constantly have to stop and think — the spontaneity that was once so attractive disappears. As the feelings increase, so does the hesitancy. And for me, the only time I felt truly comfortable was during sex, because we did not need to say a word. Too bad sex can’t last forever.

He knew he was hurting me — or rather, that our arrangement was detrimental to me. I hated …

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Feminism | Posted by Talia on 06/7/2013

In Defense of “Freshperson”

Next Fall, I’ll be enrolling in my first year of college. I’ll be a freshman – a concept that’s giving me pause not just because I’m questioning the existentialist quality of being a freshman, but because of the word itself. Why must I be a freshman?

According to dictionary.com, the word “freshman” comes from the words fresh (as in new) and man (as in not woman), and has been used to refer to first year university students since the 1590s. This term is clearly a relic of ye olden dayes (or, for some schools, a few decades ago) when higher education was a realm solely accessibly to (usually rich, upper class, white, able-bodied) men. Although we have abolished or significantly limited the usage of numerous gender-insensitive …

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