As a senior in high school, I was vying for the “Class Clown” superlative but I would not be that lucky. In addition to “Class Gossip,” I also won “Talks Most Says Least.” It is pretty fucked up that this award had been approved by the administration. Four years later, I am about to graduate college. I am more proud of this superlative than I am of many of my other accomplishments. Looking back now, I can see that this label was and still is a common way to dismiss women with opinions, but this is me reclaiming it.
I still “talk the most.” It is a big part of my identity and it is the reason I can write these columns. If you are going to say anything, you can’t be afraid that people will think it value-less, or you might never end up talking at all. I would like to think that almost all of the things I say (or write) have value and, although that is probably an exaggeration, it is a fun exercise in self esteem building that all women should take part in.
I love the sound of my voice and I will not be silenced. I am still confused, I am not always confident in my view and I surely don’t have all the answers unless this is some kind of Ru Paul’s Drag Race trivia competition. I’ve always worried about being annoying and loud and overly aggressive and as important as it is to grow, it is just as important to be yourself. To quote my own Instagram bio for the last six years: not everybody likes me, but not everybody matters.
As I write this swan song of a column, and possibly the last of my writing to be published (if no one decides to hire me), I think of all the stories I’ve told through this platform but even more so I think about the stories I’ve yet to write. I think about the things that have changed at Cornell, in my life and in the world over the course of my senior year.
I still haven’t had an orgasm and I am still a feminist killjoy. But a lot is different. The past 10 months have been the most formative of my entire life — which is mildly frustrating because I wanted to have a chill senior year. I worry I’ve slipped too far into the analytical and every interaction with a man sends my reaching for my copy of the Scum Manifesto that I keep on my bedside table. Sometimes I find myself lamenting about how that guy from my class still has not responded to my Facebook message asking him to hang. I try to convince myself that it is a symptom of the larger sexist trend of men ignoring the the desires of women. Then I remember that probably he just isn’t into me and that is okay too. Not every slight against me is a misogynist plot against my gender.
I still have a lot to say. If it sounds like I’m angry, it is because I often am. I want to tell Ithaca to ban plastic cups because walking through Collegetown on a Sunday morning, I feel like I am transported to trash island. I’m glad that Bill Cosby has been sentenced to prison but I still feel like the sexual safety of women is a mere trend and I fear a time when the public grows weary of it. I am upset about living in a capitalist system that is only possible with the existence of an underclass but I am far too comfortable to leave it. I am angry about the plight of farmworkers but sometimes I forget to check if my produce comes from a unionized farm.
As full as I am of anger, I am equally filled with iced tea, DayQuil and gratitude. I want to thank my mom for being a champion for women before it was cool. I want to thank my best friend for helping me check my white feminist privilege. I want to thank all the girls who have reached out to me with stories and opinions and ideas that have allowed me to make this column what it was. I want to thank Cardi for a killer soundtrack to my last semester.
I’d like to thank The Sun for this opportunity that has fully shifted my life plans (sorry Dad, I am officially not going to law school ever). Thanks to everyone who was read my rants and double thanks to everyone who has liked them.
Women are my inspiration and I hope something I’ve said has inspired other women. More girls need to speak up — be it in the bedroom or the classroom or the courtroom. Ladies, go get that money. Go get that respect and make them eat it. Find a nice person who will go down on you and won’t call you a “conspiracy theorist” when you talk about the patriarchy. Share your opinions and force people to listen. Do the most. Be the most. Talk the most. Say the most.
Willow Hubsher is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Not a Sex Column ran biweekly this semester.