Monday, August 16, 2010


Leaving a women's college-that reminds you every single day that women are changing the world, women need to fight for their fair share, women should be strong and confident, women need to help women-and then entering the "real world" is severely overrated. So much so that I needed to write about it. So much so that nobody bothers to voice the difference between that environment and the kind we are in back home. Although I am too tired of defending the choice to attend a women's college, I am going to expound on my favourite misunderstandings about the experience.

No, we are not all lesbians. And even if we are, it's really none of your business. In fact, if you are male and enjoy the idea of girl-on-girl action, please take a moment to relish the irony that women who like women are most likely not interested in you. Moreover, those women who do opt to be with other women do not make this choice out of "frustration", as delightfully egotistical men love to believe. On the contrary, finding men at a women's college is much easier than you would think; they turn up at the slightest hint of a party.

This brings me to the second myth: it is not like being in a nunnery. Though at times being locked up and forced to pray may have done wonders for our GPAs,it never actually happened, nor will it ever happen in any institution that prides itself on women's ability to make intelligent decisions. We did not have "house mothers" or nurses or wardens or whatever you may call them monitoring our every move. In fact, we had nobody but one another for wonderful, dependable company.

Wonderful, dependable company. Delightfully female company which did not end its sentences in question marks? You know, like we're not sure what we mean? Or we don't really mean what we say? Or we just think that being feminine requires a certain amount of uncertainty? That didn't happen very often, either. In fact, there were professors devoted to the cause of making sure that when you say something, you sound like you really mean it, because you have nothing to apologize for. Professors who were capable, accomplished women-not bra-burning feminists (coming to that one in just a minute)-or wonderful, enlightened men.

People should really get over the bra-burning image already. Honestly, why that should ever have been an issue in women's history is beyond my limited understanding. Bras are uncomfortable, maybe one woman and her friends did burn theirs. Why exactly should this symbolize an ideal which states, and very simply so, that women deserve equality? I'm not too sure either. I doubt anyone will ever figure out why braless-ness is such an enormous threat to the fabric of society, but my point is (and as a History major I feel the need to be specific) that bra-burning was never a popular activity amongst feminists, and even if it had been, an objection to it would have been completely irrelevant.

Lastly, and this is one I feel the need to constantly explain: receiving an education geared towards female empowerment does not mean we all nourish hopes of sterilising ourselves, abandoning the possibility of marriage and motherhood and shooting on sight every male CEO that gets paid 25 percent more than a woman in the same position. Nor does it mean that we all believe in or uphold the same ideals of feminism or femininity. What we do share, however, is the experience of having known what it is like, for a few years at least, for everything to be about us. We shared the education of learning from others how many ways there are to be successful, how many definitions we can give to equal rights, and how many ways there are to deny that being at a women's college was ever anything to regret.