Wednesday, October 12, 2016

#TribeLife: Finding A Community of Women

I have a confession. I graduated from a women's college. No, not an all girl's school. It's an actual college - for women.

I know what you're thinking. Perhaps something like, "Wow, I couldn't live without men for four years," or, "I couldn't stand being with girls all the time." I've been confronting these stereotypes for years. It's especially fun on dates when a guy's face betrays thoughts like, "Oh shit, either she's crazy, or I'm never getting laid."

Quite frankly, I'm tired of how shocked people are at my choice of higher education. I'm calling that shock what it is: misogynistic bullshit. No one asks whether I received a good education (FYI, I did). No, the real shock is that I seemingly forsake men for four years. It's 2016, and yet we're still scandalized to see women forging untraditional paths.

The truth is, my college WAS different from a normal college, but not in the ways you think. We partied like most college students do, either on campus or downtown. Men were usually around at social events, just not in the classroom. We dated, we had fun, and then we stumbled to class like other college students.

What makes women's colleges different are their safe, pro-women communities. My four years at college empowered me beyond measure, and gave me confidence that I never found in 12 years of co-ed schools. By choosing a community of women, I found the courage to lead, take risks, and to be myself. For the first time in my life, I actually liked myself for who I was. Furthermore, I made my strongest friendships with women who are now my sisters.

If you say to yourself, "I couldn't stand being with girls all the time," I encourage you to ask yourself why? Is it because you really don't like other women (a broad generalization, at best), or is it because society discourages strong communities of women?

Whether it's a women's college or a group of women like Unchained Jane, communities of women are important. They are our safe places to find support, empowerment, and courage. Within these communities are the seeds to making the world better for our daughters and granddaughters.

Find a community of women or several. Maybe it's not a women's college. Maybe it's this blog or your yoga class. Find your community, find your strength, and change the world.

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