Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I walked into my senior year with high hopes for my favorite place in the world: Ramapo College and yet something happened in the last 3 weeks that hurt my heart.  After finding myself as part of the queer community for years – it wasn’t until I started expressing myself the way I wanted did I begin to get attacked based on my appearance on both a personal and professional level.

For those of you who have been attacked , stereotyped or oppressed in any way based on your appearance – I admit being an average height , average sized , white female with blue eyes and mid length red hair spoiled me over the years because I never truly understood or perhaps I chose not to acknowledge being oppressed based on my appearance.  For those of us who have admitted that judgmental voice oppressing others …. This is me calling you to action. I don’t want to physically see your green dot.  I want you to FEEL your green dot in this community. I want you to walk past people and think – I know this person is a great athlete, leader, singer, academic etc. not “Ew, she looks like Miley Cyrus and works in the Women’s Center …what a *inappropriate word*”

Yes, in fact, I overheard this being said about me.  This is Ramapo. We are a diverse community – I am proud to be a Roadrunner for all 4 years – for LIFE because in our community we challenge oppression, we dismantle prejudices, discriminatory ideals and statements, this is an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer affirmative community – We are a safe community and yet, how many of us treat each other with respect as human?

I was interviewed for a position on campus and asked at one point “How do you plan to make yourself approachable… you know because of your facial piercing and your haircut??”  I assure you I almost fell off my chair at this point. What? Since when did having short hair become a disease? What is this 1944? You think you can catch my intimidating queer status because I have short hair? Instead I politely explained that my appearance should not in any way be a factor in my ability to carry out this position.

After this, I started to feel oppressed. I began to feel like I had to wear feminine headbands, and earrings and makeup so people were not intimidated by my appearance. I briefly stopped feeling comfortable in my ripped jeans and skull shirts – something I have worn since I was about 15. What happened in the last 3 weeks that changed my status as a human for the last 22 years? What is it about my hair that made me stick out in the Greek community – that allowed me to have a fraternity friend walk up to me and state “My brothers thought you were straight… but are you gay?”
So what am I then? I am human. This is my defense to this fear of my expression. Defend yourself for being human. Wear what you want because that is how you want to feel. Have hair down to your ankles or shave it all off. Pierce anything you want, forgot “gender stereotypes” – be a human. I defend you , I stand by you no matter your choice because that is what makes you unique. This is what makes you human.

You are loved for who you are Ramapo.

Start loving each other. Be brave, be you.

ow iHj

1 comment:

  1. I'm really sorry that you've experienced this alienation. The behavior depicted in your stories is in my opinion unacceptable, and if it helps, if I ever heard someone saying something like this to another person, I absolutely would speak up. It saddens and disgusts me to hear adults acting in such childish ways, and I'm really sorry you had to experience such disgusting behavior.