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…
Maggie Chamberlain (‘19)
“Being a leader.” -Chamberlain
In Maggie’s eyes, being a woman is something very personal and powerful.
“For me, personally, being a woman means voicing my opinion, taking charge of projects, groups, and situations on campus, standing up for other people, telling jokes, making weird noises in the middle of the quad, wearing mostly pants, and dancing at parties like one of those inflatable people you find outside of a car dealership.”
Maggie is a member of Burpee’s Seedy Theatrical Company, an Editor for The Bullsheet, the Keeper of The Key for D.I.T.A , a DJ on WDUB, President of Women’s Performance Group, and a Peer Mentor. It is no doubt that Maggie’s unique perspective and talents contribute to Denison’s campus in so many ways.
Maggie’s perspective of womanhood has allowed herself to freely define who she is as a female-bodied person for herself. Rather than subscribing to society’s constructs of “women.” Maggie has taken her own path and has broken down the norms of the constructs all the while.
“I think there’s a lot of power in being yourself – when you live authentically as you and don’t just follow the crowd, you’re giving power to yourself to be a leader of your own life, not a follower of somebody else’s,” Maggie said.
The power to embrace yourself is very important to Maggie. “Once one person starts being true to who they uniquely are, that gives permission to other people to be themselves too, and my hope is that, at Denison, I can be an example to other people and give those who need it permission to be who they really are.”
Maggie loves to make people laugh and smile. In fact, I, and many other Denisonians, can agree that her exuberance and positivity is a breath of fresh air.
“If I can spread a little happiness on campus, then I’ve achieved something great,” Maggie added.
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.