noun | wom・an・hood | \ˈwu̇-mən- ˌhu̇d, especially Southern ˈwō- or ˈwə-\
a : the state of being a woman
b : the distinguishing character or qualities of a woman or of womankind
Ah, yes. The debate of womanhood; a debate that has taken the hot seat within our world view as of late. What defines being “a woman?” And, more locally, what does being a woman mean on Denison University’s campus? I have been fascinated by the *suddenly* mysterious question of what a woman “should” be, what they “should” embrace, and so forth, all brought to light by the current social and political climate of our world. So, I couldn’t help but ask a group of Denison women their perspective on the matter. As a result, presented here is the first of many spotlight pieces of Denison’s women and their thoughts concerning the topic of womanhood.
Though these women do not represent every woman’s experience as a whole on our campus, I found the answers from just some of Denison’s best and brightest women both insightful and important. I found that by just speaking to fellow women around me about their individual experiences can reveal so much about how different the human experience is from person to person. And, to be quite honest, the answers I got from my female peers made me even more honored and amazed to share The Hill with them throughout our college experience. Hopefully this series gives you a taste of how amazing these ladies are.
Being a Woman on Denison’s Campus is…
Liz McDermott (’17)
“Creating more for yourself”-McDermott
Liz is a recent graduate of Denison University, leaving The Hill to pursue life outside of Granville’s charming bubble. Many students on campus may recognize her for being the Founder of Cycle By Liz, a relatively new and energetic spin class that recently developed within the Mitchell Center. Though many are sad to see Liz leave campus, her words of wisdom and her experience as a woman on campus have resonated in a substantial way.
Liz feels as though Denison is a great place for women to create their own experiences if they feel they are not established already. Doing this with her own spin class allowed her to utilize her passion and voice to bring a spirited idea to life on campus.
“I’d say that if there was ever a “Bucket List for Denison Women,” at the top of the list would be something along the lines of “Entrepreneurship.” I’ve seen so many other women on Denison’s Campus shake up the areas they’re involved in – whether that be sports, Greek Life, community service, academics, or clubs.”
As a collegiate athlete and the past Co-Captain of Women’s Squash, Liz really appreciates the numerous opportunities that athletics have given women on campus. That being said, she does feel that there are even more avenues that allow women to pave the way for more incredible experiences. By focussing on the specific area of athletics with fitness, Liz took on active roles as the President of Yoga/Hip Hop Yoga (as well as being an instructor, served as the VP of Philanthropy for her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, and was even featured as a student presenter for the newly acclaimed, Denison Wine Society.
Liz’s perspective of what being a woman was to her on campus gives a unique perspective of someone’s personal experience after graduation.
“I urge you to view the school as a blank canvas for you to make your own,” Liz says. “Never accept the opportunities in front of you as all that’s available – if you want more, you are more than capable of creating “more” for yourself!”
There is no doubt that there are so many more stories of women to be told, especially in regard to culture, gender, and other prominent issues within women’s lives. Furthermore, I genuinely believe that the women I interviewed have something valuable to present to all of our campus experiences. I believe that knowing people’s individual perspectives on the subject of womanhood gives us a better campus-wide insight into how powerful and influential the women of Denison University are. Denison women display the incomparable fact that each woman does not fit an ideal mold. They do not exhibit the same “distinguishing character or qualities” of what society has deemed an “ideal woman” should be. In fact, we should consider their testimonies quite the opposite. Denison women are everything a woman could be and more. Their distinct personalities, backgrounds, cultural upbringings, and interests showcase that each Denisonian woman is a star, a voice, and a pioneer of worthwhile change. Let us strive to seek the value of their stories, endlessly.