COUNTERPOINT THE WELLESLEY COLLEGE JOURNAL OF CAMPUS LIFE March 2012 volume 34 issue 5
Staff Art / Lin Han
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EDITORIAL STAFF Editors in Chief
Madeline Furlong 14’ Holum Kwok ‘13
Constance Chien ‘14
Catherine Binder ‘15
COUNTERPOINT THE WELLESLEY COLLEGE JOURNAL OF CAMPUS LIFE MARCH 2012 Volume 34 / Issue 5
Michelle Sit ‘15
HERE & NOW
DESIGN STAFF Art Director
Lin M. Han ‘13
BUSINESS STAFF Treasurer
And Why It’s a Myth
Aishwarya Singh ‘14
ARTS & CULTURE
STAFF WRITERS Anthea Cheung ‘12, Anna Coll ‘12, Esther Kim ‘12, Holum Kwok ‘13, Melissa Evans ‘12, Madeline Furlong ‘14, Linnea Herzog ‘12, Rachel Salmanowitz ‘12 , Sharon Tai ‘13
THE MODEL MINORITY
IT DON’T MEAN A THING Swinging Around Boston
CONTRIBUTORS Michelle Sit ‘15, Jaya Stenquist ‘12, Constance Chien ‘14
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ART An Artist Attempts Nudity for the Sake of Art
TRUSTEES Matt Burns MIT ‘05, Kristina Costa ‘09, Brian Dunagan MIT ‘03, Kara Hadge WC ‘08, Edward Summers MIT ‘08
The People Watching You Watching YouTube
Photo / http://publishingtrendsetter.com
Counterpoint invites all members of the Wellesley community to submit articles, letters, and art. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Counterpoint encourages cooperation between writers and editors but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and clarity.
AT WHAT COST?
CAMPUS LIFE ESTHER KIM
WLSY 370 First Chapter: On a Hazardous Woman
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“I’M OFFENDED.” The Sob Story Behind OurTwo Favorite Words
CROSSWORD PUZZLE cou nter point / march 2012
am inflicted by a casual racism. It looms, like a specter, over the interactions I have, and affects every aspect of my living, however visible the effect. As an Asian American, it can be difficult to identify the cause of racism— from where it is derived, exactly. At first, I didn’t know racism against Asian Americans existed. I was simply not conditioned to know that it existed—perhaps the most insidious form of racism. In fact, many people I knew shared a similar sentiment—that Asian Americans have no problems. They are the “model minority,” a seemingly perpetual myth that categorizes Asian Americans as the minority that has “made it.” They are said to be a minority without problems, one that has succeeded in the United States and has perhaps even surpassed the majority in accomplishments and elusive “made it” capital.
counter poi nt / march 2012
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Asian Americans faced openly discriminatory laws for the past century, and were not allowed to vote until 1965. Asian American females of my age group (15-24) have the highest suicide rate of any race in that age bracket, and suicide is the second leading cause of death. 14% of Asian Americans live in poverty. In addition, there exists obvious discrimination in the job market, and Asian Americans represent less than 2% of Congress. The model minority myth both conceals these facts and projects a double-edged sword that becomes internalized among Asian Americans: if an Asian American doesn’t meet the standard, she fails. If she meets the standard, it’s only because of her race. I have memories of racism from virtually my entire conscious life. It began, of course, in elementary school. I grew up in Connecticut in a
Photo / http://www.cnngo.com
CHIEN CONSTANCE BY
And Why It’s a Myth
The Model Minority
HERE & NOW
town with few minorities. Despite having been born here and being able to trace my lineage in the U.S. back several generations, I was afforded “foreign” status. I cannot count the times when I would be working at the library and a white patron would come up to me, speaking in Chinese and asking me where I was from. You know, where I was really from. Or the times throughout elementary and middle school when insensitive classmates would speak random variations of “ching” and “chong” to me and ask me to interpret what they said. Never mind that throughout my entire K-12 academic life, I never really felt that I owned my accomplishments. A middle school substitute teacher, upon seeing my report card as he passed them out, remarked that it wasn’t surprising that I had received straight As due to my Asian-ness. “In my experience, Asians always receive As,” he said, shaking his
head. Just before this remark, he had praised a girl who always did well on her straight As and one B. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that much later, I embarked on a quasi selfdestructive path throughout high school. I did all my homework in the half-hour period before classes started, handed in all my lab reports late, and wrote inflammatory socialist articles for the school newspaper. I made friends with a circle of disaffected chain-smoking, Proustreading, Salinger-quoting students a year older than me. I felt the need to rebel against this idea of the studious Asian (never Asian American) because I felt that I never could own stereotypically Asian academic accomplishments; they would be discounted on the basis of my race. Even though I loved playing piano, I felt I could never really own it because it would automatically be discounted as another “Asian” attribute. Frankly, I was ashamed of it. I’ve largely lived through this period of my life, so I can examine it in retrospective. But perhaps what has most surprised me is that I sense the same type of sentiment on Wellesley’s campus. A large part of why I chose to come to Wellesley was the encouragement by my mother to reclaim my Asian identity. And I have largely reclaimed it, becoming along the way acutely aware of many of the societal issues Asian Americans face. However, what I find compelling about being Asian at Wellesley is the interesting status that Asian-ness is A sense of Asian American identity is fragmented. One hears generalizations about the large groups of Asians that congregate together on the Senate Bus, the massproduced international Asian, the economics majors, the pre-meds. I wonder just how many Asian-American students are discouraged from pursuing an eco-
nomics major simply because they might be pegged as an Asian economics major, or discouraged from being pre-med because of any stigma. These are all noble, societally-productive fields, and it is indescribably awful that anyone might be discouraged from pursuing them simply because of the fear of accommodating some stereotype. In addition to this stereotype, there is a flippant attitude towards “the Asian.” It is almost a joke in itself. I am frustrated that a group of Asians is automatically viewed as a source of bewilderment, and that to be Asian means to always be grouped into an infinitely mockable group known as mass-produced and uninteresting with tendencies towards being cold, or simply strange and alien. One even hears such socially charged diction in reference to one’s friends—”my Asian friends.” Especially when I hear statements like this from students of Asian descent, I am concerned with internal racism, and as to whether people do think these remarks are inherently racist. Perhaps sensitivity towards race issues with regard to Asian Americans simply hasn’t reached the right level. It’s OK to say “the Asian girl over there,” but it is charged diction to replace “Asian” with any other race group. Visibility is key, I think, and perhaps this level of sensitivity is not possible without knowledge of the tumultuous history of Asian-American immigration and status in the United States, or of the issues that Asian Americans face every day.
Constance Chien ‘14 (cchien@wellesley. edu) rest assured is not a chain smoker.
cou nter point / march 2012
ARTS & C
love dancing, but I have two left feet. So I was very skeptical when my sister dragged me to my first swing lesson over winter break. I listened to the dance instructors with the full intensity of a pre-med student at her first Chem 211 lecture, fervently repeating the basic step in my head: “Left, right, rock step. Left, right, rock step.” A lifelong love of swing dancing was born. Enter the MIT Student Center on a Wednesday night, and you’ll soon hear the swing music emanating from the second floor. I started attending the MIT Lindy Hop Society’s weekly dances this semester, and I am hooked. Judging by the fact that the dance floor is packed from 9:00pm until close, I’m not the only one! These dances are especially popular among young professionals and students because they are free of charge. Among the Wellesley contingent are Alex Hoisington ’13 and Caroline Dodge ’13. Alex has been dancing for five months, but you’d never know it from the way she dances circles around everyone in the room. Guys practically tackle each other to ask her to dance. “It’s like crack, Linnea,” she tells me during a rare break by the drinking fountain. “I can’t stop dancing.” Like me, Caroline Dodge started dancing this semester. “It’s life-changing,” she told me after going swing dancing for the first time. She hopes to attend the dance at MIT every week. Another added bonus: “[Swing dancing] has restored my faith in men.” Swing dancing has come a long way from its inception in the roaring ‘20s. The most common types of swing dancing you will see around Boston are East Coast
Swing, Lindy Hop (a more complicated form of swing) and Balboa (a faster dance, with partners standing very close to each other). Out of these, East Coast Swing is the easiest dance to learn. It is based on a repeating 6-count step from your right foot to your left foot, followed by a “rock step” backwards from your right to left foot. If you are new to swing, this basic rock step is likely the first thing that you will learn. Once you get comfortable with the basic step, you can add other moves to make the dance more interesting. These may include but are not limited to the underarm turn, jelly roll, cuddle step, tuck turn, and Charleston step. Traditionally, the guy leads in swing. You don’t have to show up with a partner to dance. In fact, most people don’t. Swing is very much a social dance. You may find yourself switching partners every song! Be prepared to meet dancers of all ages, from college students to retired folks. The swing community is in general friendly, approachable, and very welcoming to newcomers. If you stand along the side of the room, someone will ask you to dance. Dress code varies depending on the venue, although comfortable shoes are always a must. In general, weekend dances require more dressing up than weekday ones. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself breaking a sweat. Swing isn’t hot yoga, but it’s more of a work out than you might think. By now, you are probably thinking, wow! Swing dancing sounds great—how can I get in on the fun? It’s easier than you might think! Boston has a thriving (and awesome) swing community, with regular dances held at least three nights a week.
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e M n’t
o D It
a n a e
g n i Th
oston B d n u ro G O nging a Z ER H EA N N I by L
Want to learn how to swing dance for free without straying very far from the Exchange Bus? The MIT Lindy Hop Society hosts the aforementioned free dance every Wednesday. These dances are conveniently located on the second floor of the MIT Student Center, so just hop on the Peter Pan, walk up one flight of stairs, and follow the music! Want to learn some steps before taking the plunge? They hold a lesson before every dance at 7:30pm. The dance itself runs from 9:00 pm to 11:30 pm and is highly attended. If you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, take the T out to Boston Swing Central’s Main Dance, held every Friday. These dances take place at the Crosby Whistle Stop, near the Sullivan Square T station on the Orange Line. It costs $13 to get in with a student ID, but unlike MIT’s free dances, Boston Swing Central features a live band. The price of admission includes a lesson at 8:00 pm, then dancing from 9:00 until midnight. Boston Swing Central also offers lessons, workshops, and Lindy Hop dances every Tuesday from 9:00-10:30 pm. Want to go dancing on a Saturday night? Look no further than the SuperShag Dance Party at Ryles Jazz Club in Inman Square. Walk or take the 69 bus from Harvard Square. Then get ready to dance! You’ll dance both swing and salsa at SuperShag. Don’t worry, most people find the salsa basic step easier to learn than the swing basic step. You can learn on the fly or attend the lesson at 9:45 pm. Dancing goes from 10:15 pm to 2:00 am. Take note that there is a $15 cover. There are also several monthly dances in the Boston area. The first Saturday of
every month, Swingtime Boston hosts swing dancing geared towards the LGBT community and allies. These dances are held at the Brookline Academy of Dance, which is accessible from the Washington Street stop on the Cleveland Circle or Boston College Green Line. It costs $12 to dance, or $15 when a live band is playing. Admission includes a lesson from 8:009:00 pm and dancing until 11:00 pm. Want to dress up? Bust out your vintage digs at the Blues Café in Medford. Blues Café dances take place at the Springstep Building, which you can get to by taking the 96 bus from Harvard Square. Show up at 8:00 pm for the lesson, followed by dancing from 9:00 pm to 12:30 am. It costs $12 for students, which includes nojitos (that’s non-alcoholic mojitos), nachos and homemade baked goods. Don’t wait until your senior year to try out swing—it’s a great, stress-free way of meeting people. Especially guy-people, if the party scene isn’t your thing. Or even if it is! Then again, if you’re like me and didn’t know about swing until the second semester of your senior year, don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new. It’s never too late! Warning: excessive swing dancing is highly addictive, and may result in frequent visits to the MIT student center, a predilection for the cuddle step, and automatic toe tappin’ whenever a jazz tune comes on. So, what are you waiting for? Hop on the Exchange Bus this Wednesday– I’ll be there! Linnea Herzog ‘12 (firstname.lastname@example.org) has got that swing.
cou nter point / march 2012
When We Talk About Art An Artist Attempts Nudity for the Sake of Art
BY JAYA STENQUIST
counter poi nt / march 2012
ARTS & CULTURE
never liked the word naked—even now, it seems too stark and unsettling, always hiding some spite or embarrassment. A queer choice then, given my aversion, to work as an artist’s model. I suppose the appeal was partly the money (though it wasn’t much), and partly the idea of being undressed yet wholly un-erotic; just another set of breasts, another human thigh. As an art student, I had been on the other side of the scene—admired, abstractly, the way light hit rolls of uncontained fat, the way an arm hair stood straight against the coolness of a studio. For once, I wanted to be the one undressed, the one sitting there challenging the painter to see everything, represent everything. Most artists hold one of two philosophies when dealing with their models. In one, the model is a prop, a bowl of fruit easily arranged and manipulated. In the other, the artist attempts to give the model what her study will inevitably take away—an air of dignity, or, more accurately, self-possession. As an artist I tended toward the latter, as a model I prefer to be spoken to with the honesty of that first modus operandi. Art is by nature transgressive. A painter seizes on the visible world and manipulates it. To deny this, I’ve come to realize, simply makes everyone—artist, model, viewer—uncomfortable. I once worked in a studio with a
model who came around during his breaks to admire the artwork—in the nude. I recall his breath on my neck as he assessed my work, the way his speech lifted and rearranged my hair, fallen loose from its clip. “Nice.” He told me. “I like the way you did my nose.” Uncomfortable. And perhaps, as I was sixteen then, inappropriate. Another time, I worked on a charcoal study of a middle aged woman. As I worked, I noticed, to my horror, the reddening thread of a tampon creeping from between her thighs. Not only did I notice, I drew it in. I still wonder if the slip was an accident or some sort of purposeful action, a kind of sticking it to all of us artists who dared to stare at her for hours and hours. And how can you not be resentful? Sitting still minute by minute as your image is made painstakingly not your own. As I held myself still, felt the stiffness in my limbs, the growing pain in my neck, I too, despised art. I felt myself become that un-erotic subject. My body, which I knew in such intimate detail, was suddenly no longer mine, its image locked in the gaze of some painter. But art never presented itself as ethical. The studio is a world apart, there are different standards of decency and decorum there. Working as a model allowed me to realize the unspoken na-
kedness we all have around art. As a teenager, I spent countless hours repossessing the world around me. The visual arts gave me a space to communicate in a way I simply couldn’t without a paint brush or a broken piece of charcoal. It was a freedom to make my internal world external. In a way, it was a place in which I had always been naked, even (maybe especially) as an art student. A nude study is as much a strip tease through the artist’s mind as a revelation of the model’s body. Perhaps, too, it was this freedom, this limitlessness to one’s personal vision, that ultimately drove me away from the visual arts. Art calls for nakedness of every variety. When we talk about art we talk about a threefold nudity: first and foremost the artist and her spectacular eye; second, the figure depicted; and finally, the mere viewer, gazing at all of this on some museum or gallery wall, and feeling, if only for a second, wholly transparent, utterly seen through.
Jaya Stenquist ‘13 (email@example.com) will not be living in a nudist colony.
cou nter point / march 2012
ARTS & CULTURE
page after I had just finished looking at snow boots. Google makes money from selling your search information to advertisement companies so that they can show you ads that you are more likely to click on – something I had forgotten after installing Adblock on my computer, a program that removes these ads. To appease worried Internet users of these new changes, Google has ensured that its users can delete their previous history, ask that Google stop tracking your web searches, or simply stop using their services — an impractical option considering that the quality and popularity of Google’s websites outmatches many of its competitors.
one day. How would we be able to survive after being so dependent on it for so long? How would I be able to find information for my research paper if I didn’t have Google? As a result of our dependence, Google has immense bargaining power to do whatever they want with our information. Google wears the pants in this relationship. It’s astounding to me how much of my personal life is documented on the Internet in the form of blogs, Facebook posts, and email messages. However, I’ve been preparing myself for the possibility of losing the Internet by refusing to use technology when I can. Although these
At What Cost? The People Watching You Watching YouTube
Gmail to make your Internet experience more personal. The idea is that if you spend all your time on YouTube watching music video’s for the Korean boy band Big Bang, then when you Google the term “Big Bang,” you won’t have to sift through explanations of how the universe came into being. As a result of the new information collected from your clicks and views, Google will be able to link its websites together so your Google searches will most likely be relevant to your interests and past experiences. However, Google will also be using this information to give you more personal advertisements by selling information about Internet use to advertisement companies. I’m sure I’m not the only one creeped out by the fact that ads selling boots would magically emerge on the side of a Google page 10
However, the administrators for all of the Wellesley Gmail accounts have already set the privacy options so that Google does not track your email messages for your Wellesley email. While some people might be open to having a more personalized Internet experience at the cost of losing their privacy, I am more hesitant. I have been paranoid about protecting my Internet privacy after watching the Terminator and iRobot. I cannot deny the fact that part of my private life has become a part of the Internet, a highly public space. It’s inevitable. How else am I going to keep in contact with my friends from high school or remember that I have to go to Pendleton tomorrow at 7 PM for that lecture? However, I find myself constantly wondering what would happen if the Internet failed
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habits — such as using a physical planner and desk calendar — are more time consuming and cumbersome, it lets me rest a little easier knowing that I could survive without it and keeps a part of my life from the web. So it seems fitting in a twisted sense that my laptop’s hard drive decided to conveniently malfunction and my Gmail video chats break up after I decided to write this article. Although I have had difficulties coping with the malfunction, some part of me enjoys the fact that I can survive without it. At least until Spring Break when it will get fixed.
Michelle Sit 15’ (firstname.lastname@example.org) is preparing for the Internet apocalypse.
Photo / http://www.futureofthebook.org
BY MICHELLE SIT
WLSY 370 First Chapter: On a HazardousWoman
BY ESTHER KIM
Photo /The Wellesley Alumnae Magazine
he horse and carriage stopped at the stone lodge of the East gate, the entrance to Wellesley College off of Washington Street. A porter came out to greet them, and let them through. Peering out at the avenue planted with young elms and copper beeches, Caroline Hazard sat inside the carriage dressed in furs. In a few weeks’ time, she was to be inaugurated on October 3, 1899 as the fifth president of Wellesley. Only after much persuasion from former President Alice Freeman and the Trustees of the college, who sought and elected her to the position, did she, at the age of 43, consent. She was hesitant because she “felt she could not assume the position of president of Wellesley College.” But knowing her family wealth, social connections, and cultivated background, the trustees were determined to win her. Caroline Hazard assumed presidency over the college for eleven years, but she herself never received a formal college education. Not to say she was uneducated—she was a highly cultured lady. She attended Miss Mary A. Shaw’s School in Providence, was tutored privately by Brown University professor Lewis Diman
for ten years, and then received private lessons as she traveled through Europe. She was regarded as an authority on the history of Rhode Island, having extensively researched her family’s historical influence on the state. In fact, she imprinted some of her family history, the scallop shell (the Hazard family and their Native American neighbors shared a great liking for scallops, then plentiful on the shores of Rhode Island) onto the buildings of the quad. She was also deeply interested in social reform, evident in her many philanthropic donations to historically black colleges in the South and also universities in China. Her passion for history and social reform made her a good match for the college, and through her tireless zeal and executive ability as college president of Wellesley, she saved the college from serious fiscal problems. She had a wide range of acquaintances, including Madame Chaing Kai-shek, Pearl S. Buck, Katherine Lee Bates, and John D. Rockefeller. By the end of her eleven-year tenure, she had doubled enrollment, created four new academic departments, improved salaries, and fundraised enough money
to build five new academic buildings, including the Whitin Observatory, and the four dormitories of the quad (1904-9). She also hired noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., who also designed New York’s beloved Central Park, to create those many artificial hills on our campus—“so our asses look good,” as a friend once crudely put it. Meet Cute I first came across Caroline Hazard in Clapp library while hunting through PS 3500s for more books for my thesis on Hemingway. One of the student library workers was rearranging some books further down to my right. After gathering all my books, I asked her where I could find the recently relocated Reserve books. She told me and then asked, “Want to see something cool?” She reached for a thin navy blue hardcover on the topmost shelf. The cover’s gold lettering embossing read, “Songs in the Sun by Caroline Hazard.” She flipped it open, and the book stamp read, “Library of Wellesley College… Presented By The Author.” I looked at the cover. “Caroline Hazard? Who’s she?” “One of the former presidents of the college. You know, Hazard quad?” No, I didn’t know.
cou nter point / march 2012
CAMPUS LIFE It was called Hazard quad? (When I told my friend about this story, she started laughing: “I thought the quad was named that because it was hazardous!”) Since one slim hardcover wouldn’t add much weight to my already huge stack of Hemingway books, I took it with me. The poems in Songs in the Sun (1927) turned out to be mediocre yet pleasant, like a bowl of oatmeal—but they did introduce me to the inner life of an energetic and impressive president in Wellesley’s history. The slim volume of verses revealed Caroline Hazard’s love of nature, her bicoastal loyalties, and her strong Christian faith. The volume is divided into two sections, the first depicting the natural scenery of Southern Rhode Island and the second of Southern California. The titles of the poems—“Violets,” “Iris,” “Lilies,” “Pippsissewa,” “Sweat Peas,” “The Matilija Poppy,” and “Eucalyptus Citrodora”— demonstrate her love for plants. Among the many poems about flowers and natural elements, there is one about the daffodil, a plant of deep significance for her, which appears in a neat row on the cover of the volume and which she also planted all over Wellesley’s campus. The first stanza of “Daffodils,” a title that immediately recalls Wordsworth’s famous poem, goes: The golden sun looks gladly down On golden rows of daffodils; He crowns them with his golden crown, With golden rays each blossom fills, And every blighting breeze he stills. Aside from the subject matter and repetition of “golden,” Hazard’s poem shares little with Wordsworth’s, which steers away from Christian analogies and indulges in romantic meditations on unkempt nature. In the following three stanzas, Hazard likens daffodils to trumpets, evidence of the end of “Winter’s dreaded
power,” and urges them to “Praise Him, ye trumpeters of Spring.” The verses relate a deeper Christian message about life after death, the spring following winter, and God, the “Him” that the daffodils must praise. After a cold and dreary Boston winter, daffodils were bright shocks of life and reminders of resurrection. In addition to poems about daffodils, Caroline Hazard wrote many poems to her family and close friends on letters and Christmas cards. These poems provide glimpses into her sensitivity to nature, beauty, and history. The Wellesley College that Caroline Hazard entered at the turn-of-the-century was considered by outsiders to be a somewhat radical social experiment and by its faculty a peaceful “Adamless Eden.” Scholar Patricia Palmieri writes extensively on Wellesley’s extraordinary female faculty, claiming that Hazard allowed them to run the college’s internal administration while she focused on raising funds. As Palmieri emphasized, the faculty ensured that Wellesley remained a hotbed of radicalism and reform. They kept the Durants’ spirit alive through dedication to the principle of education of women by women scholars. From 1880 to 1920, sixty-five single women composed nearly all of the senior and associate teaching staff. There were only two to three male faculty members. According to Palmieri, alone of all the other women’s colleges, Wellesley was unique in its commitment to a predominantly female professoriate and president. “When Hazard retired in 1910, rumors spread that she was to be replaced by a man. Alumnae and faculty cried out, ‘What, and spoil our ‘Adamless Eden?’” In an introduction to Wellesley, The College Beautiful, poet Katherine Lee Bates writes idealistic prose about this Eden—describing both the all-women’s
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environment and the beautiful landscape. “The scene has its solitudes, its oratories of grove and brookside, but the remembered picture is more often astir with girlish life: girls a-tiptoe in the evergreen thicket, straining for a glimpse of goldcrowned kinglets or of purple finches; girls wandering hand in hand down the beloved path to Tupelo… happy girls in full possession of their fair Wellesley heritage.” While males are a less common sight on campus today, they were an extremely rare sight at the turn-of-the-century. “A story is told about the early years at Wellesley: a male instructor was walking across campus with his little boy. Suddenly, in much excitement, the child called out: ‘Look Father, there’s another.’ And sure enough, a man was approaching… As a New York Times correspondent noted in 1880, ‘On this campus, it is the men who feel lonely.’” No longer was the learned woman studying in lonely solitude, noted Hazard in her inaugural address, but at Wellesley, she could, like her brother or her father, now surround herself with like-minded peers. Caroline Hazard adopted this radical dedication to all-women’s education and balanced it with traditional rhetoric. “This nineteenth century, these last fifty years, have brought to women, to large numbers of women, opportunities before accessible to only the gifted few,” she said. Wellesley women benefited from this historically new development. But while an all-women’s college was considered quite radical for its time, female education was not radical at all. In her 1908 address, she traced Wellesley’s academic pedigree: “Wellesley was endowed by a graduate of Harvard, Harvard by a graduate of Emmanuel [College in Cambridge], Emmanuel by a graduate of Christ’s [College in Cambridge], which in 1505 was founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort. So that this
CAMPUS LIFE woman’s [sic] college traces its descent directly to the foundation of a woman.” If anything, she pointed out that female scholarship and education existed previously, and Wellesley College simply brought that forgotten thread of history to the forefront of the cultural collective memory. Yet she saw that the role of the “Adamless Eden” was to promote Edens elsewhere. Trained as a historian, Caroline Hazard knew that Wellesley was simply “one link in the chain of events.” Even now, her words written in 1901 still seem apt (especially in light of
Obama’s State of the Union address), “We are a little in danger in this country of exalting our own history, which is after all local, of forgetting that we are part of the whole.” She reminded Wellesley students of their part in the larger whole in several of her presidential addresses. By integrating Wellesley into the broader historical narrative, Caroline Hazard taught students then and today not to be complacent. Students held responsibility to study and to contribute to the world outside their Adamless Eden because that world affected their Eden. Analogous to the world into which Adam and Eve were exiled, there is a
world outside of Wellesley’s gates that students inevitably graduate into—a world that is not as some say, an “Adamless Eden.”
Esther Kim‘12 (email@example.com) thinks the sun also rises over the Hazard Quad
cou nter point / march 2012
am not a bubbly person: I would never try to hug you, I look like I am pissed off all the time, and I always have my panties in a bunch. I can blame it on the stress from work or anxiety from the possibility of becoming one of the Real Housewives and having to be disowned by the Wellesley Alumnae Association. But to be honest, Wellesley is a pressure cooker even without the academic stress. The real problem? There is always a reason to feel offended. Normally, I love a good reason to act like a bitch—it alleviates the guilt of being one. But to those who think my gloominess knows no bounds, I draw the line somewhere between bad dining hall food and a bad episode of How I Met Your Mother. Life is a marathon, and if I were to achieve my goal of dying a bitter old maid, I must channel my anger wisely while I am still young. I was checking on isawyouwellesley some time ago when I saw a post titled, “on racial consciousness”. One minute, my life was carefree. The next minute, my eyes were back in their typical position—rolled back. The post reads, “I noticed that there’s been a surge of posts referring to persons of colour on the front page lately, and it came to my mind that of the estimate 200 posts that have been made on this site, the ones with explicit references to race almost always refer to persons of colour.” She interpreted the fact that labels such as “Asian” and “La-
tina” were mentioned more frequently than “white”, as evidence that Wellesley students only feel the need to point out the person’s race if she is not Caucasian— the “white-as-default” mentality. I took it as a statement about the entire student body rather than only those who post on isawyouwellesley, because there have been no reasons—until now—that those who post on the site are more racial conscious than others. I could have reacted in several ways: a) moved on, b) balked at the “racial consciousness” I see because it sucks being the most favored group on isawyouwellesley, c) feel offended by her implications. I chose d) anger. I was mad because she wasted two minutes of my time—I read it twice just to make sure there was no encrypted message relevant to the purpose of the site. I was mad because I started to wonder how much free time she must have had to have the motivation to count the number of times these “explicit references” were used. I was mad because she ruined a perfect, brain-numbing moment I shared with isawyouwellesley. Imagine watching an episode of the Jersey Shore, expecting reckless behaviors from a bunch of numbnuts, but end up seeing a 30-minute footage of Snooki detailing the ways in which society objectifies women. The author rained on my parade toward a thoughtless world. “Just a thought”, the author wrote with regard to her comment. To her, that is. Not only did she ruin my moment, she made me question
counter poi nt / march 2012
The Sob Story Beh
hind Our Two Favorite Words BY HOLUM KWOK
whether I was racist for not being offended—others seemed to agree with her, so what does it mean that I don’t? What about the people who used labels such as “Asian” and “Latina” in their posts? Must not feel good to be implicated in condoning racism. There are a few possible explanations for the writer’s behavior. First, she just learned the idea of “white-as-default” from class, and she was eager to use it the way toddlers like to use a recently mastered word in every other, most often grammatically incorrect and nonsensical sentence. Second, she felt obligated to constantly police Wellesley’s culture of political correctness. I am feeling particularly benevolent and thus will assume that the second reason motivated her post—to which I say, thank you but no thank you. Apparently, it is not enough that we are offended by Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Larry Summers and countless others who have openly communicated sexist views; we must also stop to chastise anyone who says or writes anything remotely suggestive of influences from racial and gender stereotypes. Surprise, surprise, we live in a prejudiced world. As long as we are born and raised as part of society, we are bound to find in our behaviors, speech, and thought traces of these backward norms—even if we as Wellesley students are aware of their corrosiveness and are careful not to perpetuate these values. The
only solution I see is to live in exile and become feral children. Still it is not a permanent solution since eventually Stephanie Meyers will write a book on us, whom she mistakes as “werewolves” and we would be caught up with the same norms again. I love being part of a politically correct community. I enjoy the constructive conversations that result from our culture. I admire students who stand up against those who promote discriminatory views. However, when people’s words are twisted to make them look like the culprits in facilitating prejudiced norms, what begins as mindfulness turns into a witch-hunt. I have learned, probably against better judgment, to fight fire with fire. In her post on isawyouwellesley regarding “whiteas-default” mentality, the author ignored the most obvious explanation by assuming that “racial distribution approximately mirrors the school demographic”. What if those who post on isawyouwellesley are also those who prefer Asians? By assuming away this explanation, she hinted at the belief that it is not likely people could find Asians more attractive than people of other races. I am offended. I know plenty of attractive Asians, myself excluded. You see, I can play this game too. Anyone can. The question is, must we be offended every minute of every day? It is exhausting. HoLum Kwok ‘13 (firstname.lastname@example.org) needs anger management therapy.
cou nter point / march 2012
Counterpoint crossword 1
by Linnea Herzog 8
50. Princess ___ (Star Wars charac ter) 51. Spanish version of “bravo!” 52. Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld 53. Slovakian security company 54. Brand of jeans
1. Well-suited 4. Smoke + fog 8. Paul ___ (Little Miss Sunshine actor) 12. Opposite of post 13. ___ 11 (news channel) 14. Actor Rickman 15. ___ de plume 16. Unmoving 18. Removal, erasure 20. Silent letter in the Hebrew alphabet 21. “___ Over Feet” (Alanis Morissette song) 22. For the win 25. Tie-___
27. eg. 2x + 1 29. The ___ (city in the Netherlands) 32. Requiring emotional support 33. Strife, discord 35. “Let’s Talk About ___” (TLC song) 36. Week when a football team doesn’t have to play 37. Beef fat 39. Do ___ others as you would have them do ___ you. 43. Disinterest, detachment 45. Converge 48. Opposite of trans 49. “One ___ Time” (Daft Punk song)
D 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Sleep ___ (breathing disorder) Stand-in, backup Speeds of music “Celebrity ___” (Hole song) Sleeve in French Make a speech Friendly, agreeable “___ it, Janet” (song from Rocky Horror) 9. __ __ mode (with ice cream) 10. ___ King Cole 11. ___ Tree Hill (TV show) 19. Excessive, unnecessary 22. Surcharge 23. Little bit 24. Tongue-in-cheek 26. Expression of assent 28. Galaxy ___ (type of phone) 29. Center 30. “Is It ___ Wonder?” (Keane song) 31. Standardized test for grad school 34. Dispute, wrestling match 35. Barbie’s sister