The op-ed page of the Raleigh News & Observer brings us this heart-rending testimony from a UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate and star athlete, an attractive and accomplished young woman (“I identify as female,” says Miss Dodge) who can barely breathe from the oppressors closing in on her at every turn. Excerpts:
The following is a string of subtle and routine occurrences that make me feel less human and should take their rightful place among the larger narrative of sexism in contemporary America.
When I wake up at 6 in the morning for practice, I put on spandex that will ride up and allow my legs to chafe. I know this is because I don’t have a thigh gap like most of the distance runners on my cross-country team. I eat an easily-digestible carb and make a note of the calorie count.After “a good early-morning chafe,” as I call it, I change into dry workout clothes, this time being careful not to wear too much “Carolina gear.” I do this so as not to give my professors and peers another reason to discount me.
Oh lord. I never knew. More:
I head to a study space. I sit with a classmate – a good friend of mine since freshman year. He identifies as male. Another male-identifying friend approaches. They engage in a “bro dap”: a sort of masculine greeting ritual. The newcomer, my friend, acknowledges me second with a nod of his head: “What’s up, Blake?”
I check my email. My student government group co-director, who identifies as male, has taken it upon himself to send a mass email to our organization and relevant tangential members to schedule a meeting. I am CCed along with four others. They are not co-directors. The body of the email bounces between “I” pronouns to set an agenda for the first meeting of year. It concludes with his signature. The first reply thanks him for “getting this started.”
The horror … the horror. One more:
I go to bed and think about my projects and my callings. Law school. Public service. Economic injustice. Songwriting. Halifax County schools. Filmmaking. Where did I put that SD card? Writing.
I fight others every single day to be taken seriously. But at night, I fight off my own insecurity that I cannot make a difference because of how others perceive me. Sometimes, I do this in vain.
The key word in this entire op-ed piece is “vain”. If the neurotic Miss Dodge, the college’s Elizabeth Wurtzel Fellow in Self-Dramaturgy, is having trouble being taken seriously, maybe it’s not actually society’s fault.
In all seriousness, it’s a shame that a campus culture of victim-valorization encourages people like her to intellectualize her insecurities. Seems like she’s a very talented young woman who is bent on sabotaging herself. More on Blake Dodge’s struggle below: