Growing up, I never thought that I’d chose to attend an all women's school. The idea seemed strange and not particularly useful. That's what I thought. I hadn’t heard of any of the Seven Sisters schools, and I still carried the nasty stereotype that all women who go to single-sex schools are gross and hairy. Not for me, I decided. Yet, the times have changed. Here I am all these months later, wearing my single-sex school like a badge of pride. I talk about the sisterhood, the activities and the intimacy of the campus to anyone who will listen. However, more often than not, the response is a furrowed brow and the refrain: “Why did you choose an all women's school? I don’t think I could handle that.”
I chose to attend an all women's school for a variety of reasons: small class sizes, women’s empowerment, etc. The fact is, I shouldn’t have to justify my choices to anyone, but making a slightly unorthodox college choice does lead to some frequent and annoying encounters. Fellow alumnae of women’s colleges, you know the following all too well.
1. What about the men?
Sorry, did you say something? After two months of living in my Amazonian paradise, I automatically block out mentions of men. I’ve almost forgotten that they even exist.
Seriously, though: you know we aren’t sequestered, right? We’re free to leave anytime we want to work off-campus jobs, go to museums and plays and meet up with friends for coffee. And as most college towns have, roughly guessing, at least one eligible single man, it’s not like we won’t run into men at all. We have friends from home, male co-workers, relatives and friends from campus.
2. [A blank stare]. I’ve never heard of that school.
Uh...okay? I didn’t choose my college for you to brag about to your friends, Aunt Karen.
Besides, most of us who chose women’s colleges aren’t looking for name brand recognition; we’re looking for a top-notch education. Sure, it’d be nice to have our great schools recognized, but that’s not really a priority. Next!
3. I don’t think I could handle that.
Yeah, I know, it takes some serious willpower to handle not being mansplained to by your classmates and feeling completely safe in your dorms. We can’t all be superheroes.
I’m not really interested in your opinion of whether you could “handle it.” You’re not going to an all women’s college so, with all due respect, I don’t really care. This isn’t about you. Next!
4. All girls' schools are so catty.
I know! That atmosphere of sisterhood and empowerment...man, it’s just so toxic.
Claiming that a place of all women will be drama-filled and gossipy without the "men" to calm those "crazy hormonal ladies" down is sexist, plain and simple. Women aren’t these emotional b*tches who go absolutely hog-wild with tearing each other down. We’re strong, motivated and passionate. And, if we chose to go to an all women's school, the odds are strong that we’re feminist as well.
5. What if you want to get a science degree?
Uh...I get a science degree. From my top-notch school. That, statistically, contributes to more science PhD's than coed schools.
I don’t see your point.
6. Are you guys, like, taught by nuns?
That’s a solid no. We’re taught by professors, just like you. Many of whom are men. Shocker!
7. How will you date?
This isn’t the 1970's. We have the internet and dating apps. I’ll date just like anyone else does. Besides, I’m going to college for my degree, not to find a partner. So, frankly, dating isn’t really my first priority.
8. Isn’t everyone who goes to an all girls' school a lesbian?
Uh-what? Just like every other school, some girls are and some aren’t. Because all women’s schools make it a priority to empower women, there are a decent amount of out lesbians and bisexual women, but there’s also an equally high number of straight women on campus. Also, making it out to seem like being a lesbian is an insult is a gross thing to do.
Hopefully, you now see how insane some of these questions and comments are. Neither a magical paradise nor a catty prison, an all women’s school is a school just like any other. We have lives, friends and jobs just like anyone else.
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