Section: Opinion

Respect, not gendered scorn, for Her Campus

Complaints about Her Campus Kenyon are almost as plentiful as complaints about Peirce. Most Her Campus haters think the publication is too “girly” or that the material is nothing more than a glorified BuzzFeed Life section. Whether or not its content is relevant to you, the site has an audience and a following for a reason

Her Campus was created by three young women during their time at Harvard, and the site describes itself as the “#1 global community for college women.” It allows college students to write about a variety of subjects, and to sharpen their writing and journalism skills. The topics covered include everything from style, beauty and health to love, life, career and LGBTQ+ issues. These types of articles don’t fit any other Kenyon publication, and it’s good that Her Campus allows these voices and topics to be heard.

I don’t write for the website. I think, however, Her Campus has the ability to raise awareness about social issues, but in addition to providing entertainment. Not everything has to be funny, satirical or political to be a good publication. Her Campus gives students the ability to write for a female audience free of the male gaze — an empowering activity. It caters to a specific audience, similar to what magazines like GQ and Seventeen do. The Thrill wouldn’t post an article featuring outfits based on your Wiggin Street order. The Collegian (and the Collegiate) wouldn’t feature tips on how to deal with being sick away from school or reassure first years it’s OK not to love being here yet.

Critics on Yik Yak and even in face-to-face conversation slander Her Campus for being too casual, or publishing fluff, but after looking through Kenyon’s page and those of other schools, it seems to me Kenyon’s publication features more serious content than the average chapter. Even if some articles focus on Starbucks’s new fall drink or figuring out which Taylor Swift song is right for the occasion (which I still find entertaining), the articles are usually useful, whether the author gives tips about combating procrastination, trying new workouts or attempting do-it-yourself tutorials. More seriously, they recently  featured a well-written post about microaggressions (“I’m Guilty of Microaggressions … And So Are You,” Nov. 2). Past article topics include feminist literature, domestic abuse and mental health. Regardless of whether or not the content is interesting to you, the site provides a platform for young women across college campuses to talk about specific topics other publications would be unwilling to  feature. While the publication isn’t perfect, Her Campus is about giving voices to those otherwise unheard, and because of this people should respect it.

Jacqueleen Eng ’19 is undeclared from Chatham, N.J. Contact her at engj@kenyon.edu.

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