So often, when we set out our booths to collect interest from new members in the Spring semester, we have to do a bit of a sales pitch for people to read, follow, and join our Her Campus movement. People ask, “Why should I be paying attention to HCXU?”, when they’re not trying to figure out what Her Campus even is. They bring up good questions: as an online publication that started out on the laps of quick-typing and forward-thinking college women, Her Campus is still growing and finding success among a spectrum of reader demographics, slowly expanding to include people of different ages, genders, and education levels.
While this model is appealing to some female college readers, by the same token it can feel daunting and uninviting to other female and male readers. The pink label can easily throw off potential subscribers. While we strive to be all-inclusive, we also have a brand of girl-centric features we just can’t shake.
As we move into the new year, we often like to refine our goals, do some cleaning and reorganizing, and overall hone in on the focus of our lives. In the context of Her Campus, how do we assert our importance among an overwhelming gallery of other medias, newsfeeds, and opinions screaming to be heard?
As a part-time writer, I reflect on this question and the answer seems all-too obvious. First of all, Her Campus never screams to be heard. It’s always been there (at least, in the last eight years; in the last four for Xavier); always there like a supportive, open-hearted friend. We offer helpful content that can pop up on a Google search or a Pinterest scroll while doing research for college gifts, costumes, essays, relationship problems, body concerns, financial stressors, identity questions, and recipe ideas. Her Campus writers provide support to anyone who needs it or stumbles upon our page, through a variety of student-created media.
Perhaps more relevant, 2018 is a new year following 2017, a difficult year that saw a lot headway and heartache in the female empowerment movement. In a social media trend that created a rippling effect that is yet to be fully understood, victims of sexual abuse responded in posts with #MeToo to validate their experiences and bring attention to a problem that has been circling under the table for years. Perpetrators who carried on with their crimes for decades were taken off their pedestals and high seats across industries, and this made the news is a big way. The Women’s March in January also saw mass participation from males and females in multiple cities across the country, and led to a large increase in sales of feminist merchandise and the upstart of a new market for such. And 2018 has already proven female empowerment cannot be so easily taken off the brain, with nearly all female and other male celebrities participating in an all-black dress code to stand in solidarity with sexual abuse victims, and Oprah making front-page news with a speech so powerful, people believe she may run a presidential campaign in 2020.
And finally, this is a big year to assert the power of free speech. With our current political climate, the media has been called into question for being the enemy, and giving individuals undeserved bad press or reporting “fake news.” As a news source in this day and age, it is more important than ever that we continue to practice our right to write and speak and share our experiences with a wider audience, no matter who or how small. Her Campus pays precious attention to reporting accurate content that does not put individuals in undeserved defamatory light. We don’t believe people should be judged by their greatest mistakes. But we do believe that our voices deserve to be heard, in triumph or in anger or in any other emotion we feel, in order to create change and to prevent repeating the mistakes of our past. 2017 proved that. The media should not be silenced, especially not in 2018, when history is being made almost faster than we can publicize.
So, yes, we have a pink label and a tiny crown over our logo. Yes, our readers are predominantly college women, though we have two amazing gentlemen who have been working on our HCXU marketing and writing teams for more than a year. We are slowly but surely growing, but we are always making our own headlines (literally). Her Campus is going to do important things with the year 2018 – if you want to be a part of our journey, keep reading….