On being “the feminist” camp counselor

Rachel Brustein

Editor-in-Chief

This past summer, I returned work at an overnight camp in Wisconsin for my fifth summer, and my second as a counselor. My past summers had been filled with fond memories. As summer 2014 approached, I became increasingly excited.

During the middle of staff week, the entire staff participated in a discussion-based program about gender. While the discussion did not go as well as I had hoped, something was clear by the end: camp is a place that continuously claims to be “inclusive,” but is not currently inclusive to trans individuals. To be clear, camp is not “anti-trans,” but rather, it is not actively pursing a way to be trans-inclusive at the moment. I applaud a friend of mine who spoke up during the program, calling out our old-fashioned camp director, who was not present, on asking a male camper to remove his nail polish.

Throughout the summer, I found myself noticing countless gender norms and standards of masculinity. While I could go on forever listing examples, I won’t. Something that caught my attention was a seemingly arbitrary rule made at the pool. In the shallow end, there is a five-foot long toy alligator that kids climb on. One morning at the pool, I heard a lifeguard blow her whistle and say, “girls off, it’s time for the boys’ turn.” I immediately questioned the gendering of this and asked the lifeguard about it. She told me that because boys are too violent, it was not safe for boys and girls to be on the alligator at the same time. I went straight to the aquatics director to inform her that I felt as though the lifeguards were making an assumption about boys being violent. She was very understanding. Nevertheless, most of the lifeguards continued to enforce this rule for the rest of the summer.

Not all of my experiences were negative though. During the second two-week session of camp, one of my co-counselors, Zoe, is a women’s studies major. For those two weeks, our cabin thrived on body and period-positivity. As a cabin bonding activity, we made SHEro posters, which involved printing out a photo of each girl’s famous female role model, decorating them, and saying why each of us picked these women.

During these two weeks, I had a conversation with another counselor. “I’m not really a feminist,” she told me one evening. When I asked her what she meant by that, she said, “Well, I’m not like Zoe.” I told her that you don’t have to be a women’s studies major and constantly talk about bodies in order to be a feminist. “I’m not not a feminist,” she replied.

I had the opportunity to examine these issues most critically during a learning session with a few other counselors led by an educator at camp, a young man in his late twenties. All of us were in this session by choice. Therefore, we were all counselors for whom gender equality was at the forefront of our thinking. The educator presented us with an article, “A feminist camp counselor unpacks her baggage,” published in Lilith, a feminist Jewish publication. Maya Zinkow, the author, wrote about her experience at her Jewish summer camp specifically after completing her sophomore year at Barnard. “I was returning to a place I loved deeply…but deep internal change is harder to accommodate in a space that must remain the familiar and idyllic home for hundreds of campers who return every summer,” the article read. Everything began to click; Zinkow got it.

In the learning session, I raised a concern about how to make the changes around gender norms that were referenced in the article. “The change has to come from the counselors,” the educator told us. When he first said this, I didn’t know what to think. I felt powerless in the entire bureaucracy of camp. I was only a counselor after all. I began to think about the big picture. Where does effective change usually stem from at Goucher? The students. The counselors (and sometimes campers) were the students in this situation.

A few weeks later, I saw a letter written by a group of ninth-grade campers. The letter called out the camp administration on asking boys wearing dresses to change. The boys were wearing dresses as part of “switch day,” where the campers dressed up like their peers. “We openly challenge traditional gender roles…we believe the actions taken were unjust and we hope you can respect our voice,” read the letter.

Though change is slowly starting to happen, I definitely felt out of place at camp this summer. I partially dealt with this by sending letters (yes, letters by mail) to Goucher friends explaining my experience. One reply read something along the lines of, “it can be hard to critique a place you love so much.” Camp no longer feels like the place where I can be my truest self, but part of me still wants to return to hopefully be part of the change.

So you’re going to college with your brother?

Litza Jimenez

Staff Writer

When deciding whether to attend Goucher College or not, there were many factors I had to consider. Like many incoming students, I considered the cost, the distance from home and the program in my field. However, unlike many, I also considered what it would be like to go to school with my brother. Honestly, I loved Goucher from the beginning and couldn’t imagine any issues from sharing a school with a sibling. After all, we had been raised in the same house, often shared the same toys and had gone to the same schools while we were growing up. I wasn’t concerned. That is, until my blunt friend wondered out loud, “Won’t everyone just think of you as the little sister?” Well, that ruined my peace of mind. Since then, many have questioned my decision, asking, “So you’re going to college with your brother?” and I can only say, “Yes, I am.” Despite the naysayers, going to college with a sibling is awesome, and I can tell you exactly why.

To begin with, older siblings can help you break out of your normal peer groups. My brother is a year older than me, and he’s already made friends with upperclassmen. Instant connections. Older siblings show you around campus and are obligated to show you all the ins and outs. Like walking into Stimson or Huebeck, you automatically have someone to warn you about the more questionable items or tell you what ingredients make for the best stir fry. They can tell you which classes you should register for and which professors you should steer clear of. Even off campus, they know where you can find sushi that’s not deadly.

Sometimes you might feel like they are watching what you do, possibly writing a report to mail back to your family, or make you feel like you still need to branch out past your clan. But overall, siblings give you a slice of home even when you are far away, living in a dorm, eating cafeteria food, and smelling like Stimson. When I freak out about homework assignments or tests, my brother is there for me. When I need to escape from my dorm room, I just go to his, and when I feel like binge watching New Girl, I steal his Netflix password. Maybe coming to Goucher has kicked up some childhood rivalries, but competition keeps you light on your toes. If you are an older sibling, I would definitely encourage you to invite your baby brother or sister to Goucher. For the rest of you, don’t be surprised I go to the same school as my brother, be jealous.

Scoop’s Corner: “Legend of Korra”

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

I’m a huge fan of the television show “The Legend of Korra” and since the fourth (and final) season recently premiered, it seems only appropriate to discuss the first episode appropriately titled, “After All These Years.” The last season left off with the main character, Korra, more or less incapacitated, and despite there being a three year time skip, she doesn’t show up until the last few minutes of the episode. It seems as though this first episode was designed to more or less set up the conflicts and events for the rest of the season. I don’t totally mind, especially since we already get to see this season’s villain, Kuvira, in full-force.

Though we got a glimpse of her last season, we didn’t truly didn’t get to see the extant of Kuvira’s abilities. Within ten seconds of her first scene in this season, we get to see her take down about a dozen people without even breaking a sweat. Also within the three years, she’s managed to basically
take over an entire Earth Kingdom continent, and is called the Great Uniter. I can’t wait to see more of her.
Other characters have changed a lot as well. Bolin, for example, has joined Kuvira, but seems to believe he’s doing the right thing. He still retains his total goofball personality. Another character, Mako, has become the bodyguard of the future Earth King. The other main female character, Asami, has created a rail-line that connects the city she lives in, Republic City, to the rest of the Earth Kingdom.

Korra has been lying to both her friends and family and has been secretly fighting in underground rings, all while keeping it secret that she’s actually the Avatar. I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of her, but hopefully there will be more of Korra in the next episode.
Other than the limited screen time for Korra, it was an excellent episode. I’m super excited for next week, and I don’t even know the name of the next episode. I’m just hoping it won’t leave me an emotional wreck because I’m currently in the midst of a total homework over load at the moment. I wouldn’t be able to deal. Anyone who has been in a fandom knows exactly what I’m talking about. I can’t wait.

Unfortunately, I have to vary my topics in this column and next will probably focus on another issue, so unless there’s a riot, an episode with an emotionally traumatizing moment or one that’s just plain totally awesome, I’ll only make passing references to “The Legend of Korra” in future columns.

The pros of upgrading to the iPhone 6

Anurag Chaudhary

Staff Writer

September 19 was a big day for me. It was the launch day for the new iPhone. Unlike every other year when I just watched the keynote and looked at the website with longing eyes, this year, I bought an iPhone 6.

My phone arrived in the mail on the evening of launch day. After opening the package, the first thing I noticed was how light and slim the device was. The box itself is pretty big, a completely new size for an Apple product. I had ordered a white and gold iPhone 6 with 64 gigs of storage. Measuring a mere 6.9 millimeters, it is probably the slimmest phone ever.

After holding it in your hand, it feels completely redesigned. It’s not just about slapping a bigger display on a phone and shipping it out to consumers, like other companies do, but about how it is executed. Sir Jony Ive and his design team have done an excellent job and have nailed the execution of the new iPhone with the bigger display. The phone is completely redesigned and has an industrial feel to it. The back is made entirely of brushed aluminum, wrapped by polished glass on the front. It is so seamlessly designed that you can’t feel where the display ends and where the body of the phone begins. The edges of the phone have been rounded and it feels smoother.

Of course, the bigger screen is the highlight of the new phone. The new Retina HD display, with a resolution of 1334×750, is spectacular. Sporting dual domain pixels and an improved polarizer, it stays true to color from all viewing angles and can be seen through polarized sunglasses more clearly.

The A8 chip is the heart of the new iPhone. It is 20% more energy efficient than the previous A7 processor. Its little brother, the M8 motion coprocessor, measures steps and distance walked, and for the first time ever, even the flights of stairs you climb. This ensures that you don’t need any more hardware than the phone to keep track of your fitness. This is paired with the new health app in iOS 8. The app itself is impressive – it displays your daily steps climbed, calories consumed (which you can input through different apps), and flights of stairs climbed graphically. And the best part is that all of this is done in the background. You don’t even need to keep the app open.

iPhones have always had the best camera among all other phones. The new model is no exception. It’s never about the number of megapixels that a camera has, but the quality of the pixels and the sensor that determines how good the camera is. Apple has found a sweet spot at eight megapixels, and has kept on improving the sensor and the pixel quality. The new phone has a completely new sensor with focus pixels, improved face detection, and exposure control. Pictures look absolutely amazing on the retina HD display. It also shoots video at 1080p now, with 240 fps slow motion video and a time-lapse mode, which is the coolest thing ever.

The biggest new feature, which will be exclusive to the 6 and the 6 plus, is called Apple Pay. The new iPhones have an NFC antenna which allows for this. Apple Pay enables users to store credit cards in their phone and then pay through their phone instead of swiping a card. This is way more secure than just swiping a card at a terminal because the transaction is authorized through the Touch ID sensor, so you cannot pay without your fingerprint. Apple has patterned up with all the major banks and retailers to implement Apple Pay and I can see this becoming the industry standard in a few months.

After using the new iPhone for around two weeks now, I can confidently say that it is the best iPhone ever made and I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking to upgrade.

PRO Video App – Why the GVA in the right direction for college admissions

Emily Hewlings

Contributor

Imagine that you are a high school senior again. Although you’ve begun filling out applications, college remains an abstraction, twelve months away from becoming a reality. You’re still taking that dreaded calculus class with that halfhearted, scruffy teacher who drinks coffee from a mug with BEST MATH TEACHER written on the side. You still wake up at six every morning to catch the bus a half hour later. You find your friends in the school hallway, greet them, remark for probably the thousandth time how much you’d rather be somewhere else other than school because, basically, school sucks.

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CON Video App – Why the Video App is the wrong direction for Goucher

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

There has been a lot of talk about the new video application. High school students will now, in lieu of an application with a transcript of their accomplishments and challenges in high school, be able to submit a two minute video responding to the prompt, “How do you see yourself at Goucher?” along with two academic works, only one of which needs to be graded. I feel that this new “selfie app” is not at all a step in the right direction, and ultimately will be detrimental to the value of the education here at Goucher.

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Working out isn’t working out

Michael Layer

Staff Writer

According to Goucher College’s Position Profile, “Wellness [and] physical fitness… have been an integral part from the very beginning” (5).  In order to facilitate this promise of physical education, located on the bottom of the SRC, the weight room is open to all students committed to staying in shape. Such a commitment requires a great deal of energy, motivation, and time; however, in regards to gym weight room availability, how committed is Goucher to its students?

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