The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: February 2016 (Page 1 of 6)

Women’s swimming and diving finishes third at the NESCAC Championships

After last year’s program-best second-place showing at the NESCAC Championships and their 7-0 start to this season, Bates women’s swimming and diving entered last weekend’s NESCAC Championships at Middlebury as formidable competitors. On the strength of several school-record performances, the Bobcats placed third.

On day one, the “B” 400 medley relay team of backstroker Sara Daher ’17, breaststroke swimmer Melissa Paione ’16, butterfly swimmer Emma Lammers ’19, and freestyler Caroline Depew ’16 combined to set the team record in the event.

Junior Emma Jarczyk starred for Bates in the diving events, placing second in the one-meter competition on Friday and fourth in the three-meter on Sunday. Another Bates relay team broke a team record on Saturday, as the 200-medley relay squad of seniors Whitney Paine, Lindsey Prelgovisk, Paoine, and sophomore Logan McGill cut over a second off the previous record the Bates women had set just last year. Paoine was involved in one other record-breaking performance, shattering her own team-best mark in the 100 breaststroke and finishing third overall.

With 1,317.5 points over the grueling three-day competition, the Bobcats were just 25.5 behind second-place Amherst and a comfortable margin of 127 points ahead of fourth-place Middlebury. The men will compete in this NESCAC Championships this weekend at Williams, before both the women and the men head to Wellesley College for the NCAA Division III Regional Championships the following weekend.

Bates dancers make history at regional dance conference

Bates dancers get ready to perform at ACDA. SOFI ELBADAWI/COURTESY PHOTO

As only a sophomore, I’ve been lucky enough to experience a plethora of opportunities the Bates Theater and Dance Department has thrown my way. Every student at this school is guaranteed to get on stage if they so desire, and anyone can sign up for theater and dance classes. People like me have unlimited artistic freedom when it comes to making dance pieces, just to name a few highlights of the department. One of the most beneficial opportunities, and one of my personal favorite events, is the annual ACDA (American College Dance Association) conference held every winter. This year, fourteen of us traveled to Springfield College from February 11 to 14 to represent Bates.

ACDA is a national organization that emphasizes the importance of dance performance and creation in higher education. During these three day-long sessions, students from colleges all over the country bring pieces to be performed, adjudicated and critiqued in hopes of acquiring new skills and ideas through the feedback process. As Stefon from SNL would say, “this place has everything.” Classes in contemporary and modern technique, tap, Afro-modern, choreography and many more are available to take at all hours of the day.

The organization divides into twelve regional conferences throughout the months of February and March. Bates dancers participated in the New England conference where almost 40 other schools were represented, including five other NESCACs.

For a lot of us, this was the first time performing in the adjudicated concert. We presented a piece choreographed by Carol Dilley, Chair of Theater and Dance, which was originally put together in October during the Dance Repertory class and performed in the Fall Dance Concert. Titled “They Repeat the First Part but with More Urgency,” this piece follows the progression of multiple duets on stage. The duets were inspired by a set of instructions involving the arbitrary characters Qui and Qua. The adjudicators found the individuality and solitude of the duets as they intermingled within each other’s worlds to be engaging, purposeful, and well-performed, and they considered it to be just the right amount of effort and expression.

Mary Anne Bodnar ’16 also performed her senior Dance thesis solo, “Sparkle,” where she manipulates stand up comedy bits by Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari and Marina Franklin to reveal the underlying sadness and desperation in their words. She matches her movement to their rhythmic verses, accenting certain words she wants the audience to recognize and absorb. As audience members, it was clear to us Batesies who are already familiar with her piece that it won the popular vote by a landslide. The crowd was roaring in laughter and it got the loudest applause of the entire show.

As five of us were traveling home Saturday night to return to campus for 90’s Dance, we got surprising news…

Dilley’s piece was chosen for the Gala performance, a compilation of the adjudicator’s favorite pieces from the entire conference. They chose 10 pieces to be performed in this extra performance out of the total 40 pieces that performed over the course of the session. This is the first time Bates has been chosen for Gala in decades. While having the opportunity to represent Bates in this performance was an undeniable opportunity, it meant driving back to Springfield Sunday morning. But no matter, performing this piece again totally beat driving 15 hours in three days.

All in all, the classes we took were educational (especially tap, the only time of the year some of us get to dust off our tap shoes and struggle to do a shuffle step) and the performances of other schools gave us some new perspectives on composition.

What’s the deal about “Formation”?

For the first time in the past year, Beyoncé released a new single and a new video. Though she was featured in one of Coldplay’s tracks and a video from its new album, this is Beyoncé’s first solo track since 2014. She also appeared during the Super Bowl with a half-time appearance during headliner Coldplay’s set. Both the performance and her video highlight a specific social issue in the United States: race-based violence.

Beyoncé addresses the social issues that black Americans are facing at this time with her new single, “Formation.” The music video accompanying this track highlights specific circumstances of racial violence including life under Jim Crow law, Hurricane Katrina, and police brutality. Beyoncé herself stars in the video as a black Southern woman through the ages. The video flashes to images of parades and bounce dancers, as these images are meant to characterize her perception of Southern blacks and their experiences.

One particular recurring image is Beyoncé on top of a New Orleans police car as flood waters rise, which points to rising social issues and their need to be addressed. The video finishes with Beyoncé fully submerged underwater laying upon the car, implying that addressing issues of violence is not happening and that certain voices are “drowned out” by other concerns.

Another poignant group of images from this video is a young black boy dancing in front of a police barricade and a wall spray-painted to say, “Stop shooting us.” With these two references, Beyoncé is condemning the United States’ history of police violence against black Americans. It is difficult to watch the “Formation” music video without conjuring up images of the black South and all its history. Beyoncé uses her popular clout to bring this history and all its current unresolved issues to light.

In Beyoncé’s Super Bowl appearance, she championed the racial issues previously mentioned and alluded to marriage equality towards the end of Coldplay’s set. To set the scene, Beyoncé and about thirty dancers marched on to the field to the staccato sound of snare drums and the beginning of “Formation” in the middle of Bruno Mars’ hit, “Uptown Funk.” At first glance, this image of carefully choreographed precision appeared to be a strong group of women challenging Bruno’s dominance, but it was much more than that. Each one of these dancers donned a black beret, much like members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP), and they were all choreographed to clench their fists in unison.

The February 8 Rolling Stone article, “Beyoncé’s Black Southern ‘Formation,’” confirms that both of these symbols are widely recognized images of black empowerment. It is also the BPP’s 50th anniversary this year. Beyoncé’s costume choice and musical references to the South reaffirm her intentional use of this imagery.

Beyoncé makes a powerful statement by confirming her support for black empowerment movements through such a pervasive popular culture medium as the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Popular media sources have both praised and decried her choice to push her opinions onto the public. In The New York Times article from February 6, “Beyoncé in Formation: Entertainer, Activist, Both?,” Jenna Wortham admires Beyoncé’s use of her cultural influence to bring light to the idea of Blackness from a few generations ago. Wortham believes Beyoncé used her influence to create a product that is “phenomenally delicious.” Michelle Jesse from Allen B. West’s website, however, claims that Beyoncé shouldn’t have introduced race into the Super Bowl Halftime Show at all. She suggests that, if a white performer had brought race into their performance, “there would have been all-out outrage.”

Regardless of where each individual stands on issues of racial justice, it is easy to appreciate the intention with which Beyoncé conveys her values and stands her ground despite her critics.

Behind the times: Bates Housing Lottery

Your chest is filled with panic as you’re struggling to hear each other over the deafening voices. You and your roommate look around in desperation as number after number is called before you and your worst-case scenario options disappear before your eyes. The megaphone blares with diminishing hope and you watch blueprint after blueprint get crossed off with a red Sharpie. If you have never been to the Bates housing lottery, especially with a low lottery number, this is akin to what it feels like.

Bates College often feels ahead of its time in many ways, but the housing process is not one of them. While the process at most other colleges is a civil, online procedure, Bates has not caught up with the times on this aspect. Each student in the entire school that is planning to live on campus at Bates is assigned a housing lottery number. The lottery numbers are randomly assigned by class, ranging from sophomores to seniors; incoming freshman are exempt from the process. Depending on your class year, you must report to Chase Hall at a specific time. The walls of Chase are filled with blueprints of every available campus house, and there are red slashes through the rooms that have already been taken.

Most juniors and seniors are granted a room that is close to what they would have ideally wanted, but sophomores arguably get the short straw. To be a sophomore and get the number one lottery number, you are actually closer to number 1001 in the whole school, as all the juniors and seniors pick before you. After about halfway through the sophomore numbers, roughly 275 out of 500, there is no more on campus housing available. These unlucky sophomores must wait all summer in the Summer Housing process before discovering their living situation. I was number 265. My roommate and I got the last possible on campus double before the cutoff for summer housing.

While the lottery numbers may seem like a reasonable way of sorting out housing, the process of picking the room is not. There is little civility in Chase Hall on the evening of room picking, and anxiety certainly reigns. The biggest problem with the Bates housing lottery is that there is no way to have a plan before going into the event. You may have a list of your top twenty rooms that you want, and when they all disappear, what are you supposed to do next? Suddenly you’re blind in finding a room, not being familiar with the house or the room size or the closet space. Students are not given a chance to see the room in person as they are forced to make a decision on the spot. Friend groups are often split up as plans are thrown to the wind in the process.

One way that Bates has circumvented friends getting split up during this chaotic procedure is through suite lottery, themed houses, and block housing. These options allow friend groups to pick out whole chunks of Bates housing together, excusing them from the entire room-picking process. However, this is the only way to ensure that you will live in the same building as a friend. Every year students leave the housing lottery frustrated and disconcerted, voicing concerns of their distaste of the process. One wonders when Bates will switch to a more civil, electronic means of picking rooms or whether they will even switch at all.

Kanye, what are you doing?

Kanye is really something else. He does deserve credit for doing literally whatever he wants. He sold out Madison Square Garden simply to play his new album (which ended up not even being the final version) while his “models” stood almost lifeless wearing his new fashion line. After he finished playing his unfinished album, The Life of Pablo, he previewed his new video game, “Only One,” in which the players guided his deceased mother on her way to heaven. Then Kanye and his friends basically passed around the aux-cord and played their own new songs and some old favorites. You can’t make this stuff up. According to the trustworthy TIDAL, 20 million people watched the livestream of the event either to hear the album or just to witness the spectacle.

Kanye West is certainly no stranger to controversy. This is the man who said on live television that George W. Bush does not care about black people and he interrupted Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech to say she did not deserve the award she won (a feud that was seemingly squashed but then possibly restarted during the Madison Square Garden event).

Kanye the spectacle, however, is much different than Kanye the musician. Kanye is a brilliant musician, and his albums are almost certainly a lock for critical and commercial acclaim. Even his least commercially successful album, 808s and Heartbreak, has become one of the most influential albums for today’s rap and R&B music scene.

Understandably, the hype for Kanye’s seventh album has been very high. After all the release dates that came and went with no album, the date of February 11 seemed firm, especially with the Madison Square Gardening listening party set to launch the album on that day. And yet, the album formerly known as WAVES, formerly known as SWISH, and formerly known as So Help Me God only just made it into our hands at 2 a.m. last Sunday morning. Unfortunately for all of us, the album is exclusive to TIDAL, the streaming service that no one subscribes to and the service that has no right getting exclusives to Kanye, Rihanna, and Beyoncé. We are a long way away from the days when an artist would release a single and give an album release date, and then the album would actually be in stores that day. Beyoncé, this is on you.

The Life of Pablo is removed from the aggressive and certainly not easy-listening Yeezus, providing fans with what Kanye describes as “gospel with a lot of cursing.” This is a pretty apt description of The Life of Pablo. Just as in the great My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye is the orchestrator of a chorus of famous artists. Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, The Weeknd, Kid Cudi, Ty Dolla $ign, and other Kanye disciples all show up to lend their talents for the cause.

Provocative Kanye is also back. We can always count on Kanye to start a conversation, no matter how off his comments seem. On “Famous,” Kanye raps with use of vulgar language about how he made Taylor Swift famous. The line is questionable given Taylor Swift had already won MTV video of the year before Kanye interrupted her, so it is safe to say that Taylor was already famous.

To add to the surreal nature of the whole album and its release, a war may be brewing. Did Kanye actually get Taylor’s approval like he says he did? Did Taylor come up with the lyric herself like Kanye said she did? According to Taylor herself, neither is true, and thus the feud has returned.

Musically, Kanye’s relationship with his family and God is the centerpiece of the album. No longer referring to himself as a God, Kanye discusses his unwavering faith in God in “Ultra Light Beams.” In “Father Stretch My Hands,” Kanye opens up about being abandoned by his father and not wanting to make the same mistakes with his wife and two kids. The previously released “Real Friends” and “No More Parties in LA,” in addition to new songs such as “Famous” and “Freestyle 4,” all discuss the ups and downs of fame and how it affects his relationship with his family.

In the end, it’s Kanye who wins. In “I Miss the Old Kanye,” he spins the “Kanye loves Kanye” meme into a self-aware song about how there may be many faces to Kanye: the provocative Kanye, the musician Kanye, the spectacle Kanye. In the end, he loves Kanye “like Kanye loves Kanye.”

Women’s basketball upsets Williams

The women’s basketball team capped off their home regular season run in exhilarating fashion, as they upset 17-6 Williams College, putting the icing on the cake on a regular season that has seen vast improvement. In the last three weeks alone, the team secured a spot in the NESCAC Championships and posted a 4-3 record.

Against Williams, sophomore Nina Davenport did what she has done all season; core and provide the deciding factor. For the game, Davenport notched a double-double with a season-high 26 points and 13 rebounds. She earned the honor of NESCAC Player of the Week for her efforts.

The lone senior on the team, Chelsea Nason, provided much needed leadership and tenacity to take down Williams and give the squad momentum heading into postseason play. Nason scored 10 points and led a post-game celebration in the locker room as the team celebrated the upset.

The Bobcats did not trail the whole game, leading at each quarter break en route to a 59-49 victory. Although the Bobcats only shot 33 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc, they forced 19 Williams turnovers that led to 12 points. The ’Cats also rebounded their opponent, 44-42.

With the victory, the Bobcats recorded their fourth NESCAC victory, the most since the 2012-2013 season. It was also their first win against Williams in Alumni Gym in nearly eight years.

The team will travel to Amherst on Saturday, February 20 for a 2 pm afternoon matchup.

Skiing excels at Dartmouth Carnival

The fourth Alpine Skiing Carnival of the season for Bates skiing featured some of the best competition in the world. Members of the United and Swiss national teams joined powerhouses Dartmouth, New Hampshire, Vermont, and 10 other colleges at the historic Winter Carnival race in Hanover, New Hampshire. The Bobcats held their own in the face of elite competition, and showed why they are considered one of the best programs in the country.

A ski carnival features two days of competition; racers compete in the giant slalom on Friday, and in the slalom on Saturday. The day began early on Friday, as most racers were up before 6 AM.  Freshmen Matt Glasgow described the conditions as very icy, which combined with the flat hill made life hard for the racers. On this particular course, the pitch was a crucial section, because it provided the necessary speed for the flat zones.

Freshmen Max Slash, Peter Fordyce, and Glasgow, and senior Tanner Dirstine all struggled with the pitch in one of their two runs. Freshmen Michael Cooper and senior Chris Bradbury were the standouts for the Bobcats. Cooper, coming off of the best weekend of his career at Burke Mountain, kept his strong season going by coming in 49th place among all racers. Bradbury finished right behind him in 50th place.

The women’s team also had a good day. Junior Kelsey Chenoweth, who competed in the NCAA Championship last season, finished in 13th place. Chenoweth beat several members of the United and Swiss National teams, finishing just 2.44 seconds behind the winner. Sophomores Sierra Ryder and Hannah Johnson finished in 23rd and 25th respectively.

Could the Bobcats keep this momentum going in the second day of competition? The men’s team struggled a little. as Glasgow, Bradbury, and Dirstine all were unable to finish their first run. However, Cooper once again paced Bates with 53rd-place finish. Lash and Fordyce brought their names back to the leaderboard, finishing in 56th and 62nd respectively. Sandro Simonet of Sweden finished first out of all racers with a 0.98 second gap. 0.98 seconds may not seem like very much, but in the skiing world it’s an eternity.

Chenoweth again led the women in the slalom, finishing in tenth-place. Ryder and Johnson also repeated their Friday showings with a pair of top 25 finishes. University of Vermont superstar Lauren Germain dominated the field, racing three seconds faster than any other competitor. Germain is ranked in top 20 in the world. Bates ended up finishing fourth out of 13th teams in the slalom.

The Bobcats will have little time to recover, because they will be participating in the Williams Carnival this weekend.

Theme Houses 2016-2017

With the school year half over and the housing lottery only a little more than a month away, next year’s Theme Houses are now accepting applications. Students lucky enough to get a spot will live with a group of like-minded students in Bates owned house on either Frye Street or Wood Street. Each theme house must have a variety of class years and genders. Additionally, each house will provide several events both for students living in the house and for the Bates Community as a whole. Themes this year include the Last Homely Theme House, the Arts House, and the Writing House.

First up is the Last Homely Theme House, organized by Katie Van Patten ’17 and Sidney Parham ’17. Overseen by Katie Vale, Vice President of Information and Library Services, the house aims to provide a Chem-free environment with a geeky twist.

BATES STUDENT: Who should live in the Last Homely Theme House?

Katie Van Patten and Sidney Parham: We hope to attract students who enjoy having fun but don’t want partying to be the center of their social lives.

BS: What are some of the activities your house will host?

KVP and SP: Expect board game nights, Laser Tag in Ladd Library, home-cooked dinners, Dungeons & Dragons games, craft nights, and more!

BS: Why have a theme house? What are your goals for it?

KVP and SP: Our goals are to provide a quiet, friendly place for students to live and to strengthen the substance-free community at Bates. We have seen that a lot of students aren’t interested in going to parties or drinking on weekends, but still want to be part of a community of friends. The Last Homely Theme House hopes to provide that community.

BS: What about students who aren’t living in the Last Homely House? How does this affect them?

KPV and SP: We plan to offer events open to everyone on campus. In addition, we hope that the house will help bring together students that are less interested in drinking or partying on weekends.

The Arts House is coordinated by Leah Sturman ’17 and Tristan Brossy de Dios ’17, and Professor Hiroya Miura of the Music Department is its supervisor. The house aims to provide a creative environment for those who both create and appreciate art.

BS: Who should live in Arts House?

Leah Sturman and Tristan Brossy de Dios: Really anybody, whether they are artists themselves or simply appreciate it in any of its forms. Not everyone majors in art or music; we even have some math people living here.

BS: What are some activities that Arts House will host?

LS and TBD: We’re hoping to run a few workshops with various mediums (taught by some of our residents) in addition to the occasional jam session and open house art show.

BS: What are the goals for the Arts House?

LS and TBD: We want to give Bates artists the opportunity and space to work together across different fields of the arts, draw in the larger Bates community both to view the work of our residents and to work with and learn from the talented people who have applied to live here, and provide a forum for experimentation with art forms not widely appreciated. It’s a space for dialogue on important sociopolitical issues often avoided in classes or other official contexts.

BS: Why are you renewing the Arts House? What’s new and different?

LS and TBD: The Arts House has been around for years now, but we’re trying to take it in a slightly new direction this year with more emphasis on the artists themselves and the work they produce. We definitely want to preserve the open and exploratory vibe the Arts House has had in the past, but we’ll also be striving to provide a forum and teaching space that connects Bates artists with each other and with their campus audience.

BS: What about everyone who doesn’t live in the Arts House? Why should they care?

LS and TBD: I like to think the Arts House has always been a welcoming space on campus, and we’ll certainly be continuing that legacy. Next year we’ll be expanding upon that and inviting people not just to make art with us, but to engage themselves and learn something new.

And finally, the Arts House would like the Bates Community to know, “we like to pet squirrels.”

The Writing House did not respond before deadline, but is another option for Batesies to live in a community of people with shared interests.

On the death of Antonin Scalia and political decency

During the early hours of February 13th, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, marking the death of both the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court as well as the most conservative. Given that the bench of justices is now at an even 4-4 split between those who are “fairly liberal” and “fairly conservative,” the nomination of the next justice is believed to be the determining factor on upcoming cases on immigration, abortion, birth control, unions, redistricting, affirmative action, climate change and more.

The unexpected death of Justice Scalia only adds fuel to the ongoing fire of the current presidential race, with candidates already having anticipated that they would likely be appointing if not one, but a few justices to the Court; however, none of them could have anticipated it happening this fast. But it’s very possible that the Court will not see a full bench for a while.

Moments after the death of Justice Scalia, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had already promised to block anyone President Obama tries to nominate. Every single GOP candidate has backed McConnell’s decision, defying their otherwise sacred regard for the Constitution, which explicitly states that the President will nominate Justices of the Supreme Court by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Overtly refusing to consider anyone the President nominates seems to be an act of premature and hypocritical defiance of their Constitutional duties. Both Democratic candidates have expressed support for President Obama and disdain for the GOP’s attempt to dismiss any nominee.

The hypocrisy doesn’t only extend to the entire political party, but seems to exist even on a personal level for some of these individuals, who seem to change their views whenever it is most politically expedient. Senator Mitch McConnell said in 2005, “The President, and the President alone, nominates judges,” and Cruz calling for a “referendum on the Supreme Court.”

The rhetoric being used is that the American people ought to have a say in who they decide to be their next Supreme Court Justice by electing a president that represents their values. This is all fine and good, except for one small caveat: we already elected one. Twice. And it would seem that his Constitutional responsibilities in his job description include appointing Supreme Court Justices, even if it does happen in the rare case of an election year cycle, which has happened already 17 times in the past. This is not unprecedented. This is obtuse stubbornness.

Despite the inevitable roadblock known as Congress, President Obama has pledged to try to appoint a justice; many believe as of now that the President will name Sri Srinivasan. Yet instead of the president appointing a new justice, one party has chosen to take whatever measures apparently possible to delay the process and frighten the general public into thinking that politicians know what’s best for them.

One needn’t go any further than Ted Cruz’s recent remarks regarding the implications of a new Supreme Court Justice. “We are one justice away from the Supreme Court concluding that nobody in this room and no American has an individual right to keep and bear arms. We are one justice away from the Supreme Court striking down every restriction on abortion, and mandating unlimited abortion on demand, up until the time of birth, partial birth, with taxpayer funding, and no parental notification whatsoever. We are one justice away from the Supreme Court ordering veterans memorials torn down all over this country if they contain any acknowledgement of God Almighty.”

Scalia’s untimely death in the midst of one of the ugliest and most unusual presidential races in recent memory leaves a lot in the air and only further reveals the gaps in American democracy. And it is entirely possible that this cumbersome process of successfully appointing a successor will only leave Americans even more upset and disillusioned with their government, and will thereby potentially prevoke even more anti-establishment sentiment in this upcoming election.

I’m a woman and I’ll swear if I want to

In an article posted on FoxNews.com on February 12, 2016, news anchor Martha MacCallum wrote a reaction to a list originally published in British magazine Country Life, (which MacCallum mistakenly referred to as “Country Living”) which detailed the many things that should be expected of a woman in this day and age. Even MacCallum admits some aspects of the list are outdated (#15: Can paunch a rabbit, pluck a pheasant and gut a fish, but allows men the privilege) but offers up a list and explanation of her own. However, as sexist as Country Life’s list is, MacCallum’s takes it one step further.

To quote MacCallum, “Being a ‘Lady’ used to be something to which all young women aspired. In a society that praises academic and athletic and career accomplishment, is there still value placed on being a ‘Lady?’” Since when are success outside of being a demure fixture that who exists only for a man’s pleasure and being a ‘Lady’ mutually exclusive? On top of that, the term ‘lady’ is extremely racist, sexist, and classist in and of itself. ‘Lady’ has historically been used to denote higher-class white women and ‘ladylike’ to mean those that adopt the behavior of a higher-class white woman. This means maintaining the household, watching the children, and looking attractive for your husband—all while probably not talking too much. Because, according to Country Life, a lady “can silence a man with a stare and make a dog lie down with a hand signal—and vice versa.”

‘Lady’ is not synonymous with the more gender neutral, ‘polite’—it’s an extremely gendered term for a set of behaviors. “Did feminism make ladylike behavior anachronistic, or disdainful?” MacCallum asks. No, it didn’t. It just began the process of deconstructing such sexist vocabulary. Many elements of “ladylike behavior” should be practiced by all genders and fall under the umbrella term ‘polite.’ It goes without saying one should say ‘thank you’ when it’s necessary and hold the door for the person behind you if you’re able, but striving to be ‘ladylike’ also means adhering to certain oppressive gender norms.

MacCallum’s own list does include many items that I would simply consider polite without having to assign them to a gendered label. Other items, however, are not only sexist, but are nearly impossible to maintain and remain sane. The list has 21 points, but I will only respond to a choice few:

#2: Never squabbles over the bill.

I take this to mean that MacCallum thinks that if a man offers to pay, you shouldn’t argue. However, I adamantly disagree. If a woman, or anyone, feels uncomfortable having someone else pay for them, absolutely argue. When one person pays, it easily creates a power dynamic by which you can feel manipulated into or obligated to behave in a certain way in order to “pay them back.” If you feel unsafe, argue. Your safety is more important than being a “lady.” Actually, literally everything is more important than being a “lady.”

#5: Reads actual books and newspapers and limits the use of Oprah or Ellen as sources.

I really love how she chose two extremely gendered media sources to call out women for reading. Obviously women are fully capable of reading things other than Oprah. And lighthearted news sources aren’t exclusive to women, nor are they something to be ashamed of for reading. Go read OK! Magazine if it makes you happy. By the statement MacCallum has presented, it’s like she’s idealizing men as these hyper-intelligent beings that think Time Magazine is plebeian. Give me a break—let’s stop shaming women for the very things society has told them they should enjoy.

#7: Is not a “hook up” girl. * (Minor transgressions permitted, everyone needs at least 1 good story, even Lady Mary.)

It should go without saying that slut shaming is extremely harmful. Can we stop policing women’s bodies? The fact that MacCallum uses the term “‘hook up’ girl,” indicates that this is a belief upheld only for women. “‘Hook up’ boy” has probably never entered her (or anyone’s) vocabulary because we as a society refuse to infantilize grown men in the same way we do women.

#16: Makes her husband/boyfriend feel like a Hero, and knows it does not diminish her in any way.

Besides being ridiculously heteronormative, the semantics of this point are so strange. As a woman, it’s not really your job to go out of your way to make your partner feel more masculine. Actually, that’s not anyone’s job in any relationship, but that’s beside the point. This could be reworded so easily: “A considerate person helps build their partner’s confidence.”

#21: Owns a cocktail dress, heels and something to go underneath.

Not owning a dress doesn’t make you less of a woman just like owning a dress if you identify as a man doesn’t make you less of a man. Her statement is transphobic and classist. Not being able to afford fancy clothes doesn’t preclude you from being able to call yourself a “lady” (if you so choose that term). And not all women feel safe wearing dresses, or even compelled to wear them—again, that doesn’t make you less of a woman.

I just don’t see the point in having a list specific to the behaviors of women. In fact, it’s extremely harmful. If we define gender by behavior, we create a system that excludes the majority of people. MacCallum’s article is filled to the brim with statements that somehow both perpetuate female stereotypes while also shaming women for those same behaviors. Why don’t we, as humans, just work on being better, more considerate people? MacCallum may call me less of a lady for “squabbling” but I don’t really give a damn. (See #4, swears only when absolutely necessary and to great effect.)

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