“That’s like saying you don’t have a problem with college students, but with the institution of education.”

Yup. You got it right, Torie. It is like saying that I don’t have a problem with students, but do have a problem with the institution of education on the whole.

“How can you tell me you don’t have a problem with me but with the activity I participate in?”

I’d be happy to get more specific using your proposed analogy.

The grossly outsized, ever-inflating real dollar cost of obtaining an undergraduate degree in most disciplines is not only a poor value for the individual, but is actually causing socio economic harm to both society and the individual student by graduating them with crippling debt that renders them financially incapacitated, especially given the current state of wage stagnation and reduction in access to well-paying jobs….not to mention, there now exist for-profit secondary educational institutions that are preying on the most disadvantaged, vulnerable segments of the student population by siphoning maximum per-student loan money into their coffers while, again, saddling their students with debt, simultaneously devaluing all secondary degrees and conferring no real education or skills…just to name a few.

The students themselves? No beef. Not their fault. They’re just trying to go to school and learn something. Their drivers for participation are as many and varied as the number of students themselves and, quite frankly, aren’t my business, nor are they the real problem. They are there because it works for them, or they see it as their best option to make their lives better. The problem is rooted at the institutional level. Sure, some individuals will report anecdotal evidence of net positive experiences but that doesn’t negate the fact that, on the whole, there’s a real fucking systemic problem with the institution of higher education.

If you get into the minutiae, it’s an imperfect analogy, but hopefully that clears up your dissonance.

“Also — I don’t actually care whether you care whether I did a good job walking in heels. Pageantry taught me how to, and now I FEEL good walking in heels. That’s the whole point.”

That’s great. Because I don’t care how well you walk in heels. Fewer and fewer people do. But YOU feel good about it and that’s fantastic. Bully for you. I’m trying to get you to understand that feminists, as a monolith as you present them, are not begrudging you that. You know…body autonomy and all (as I already mentioned.) We are on the same team here.

If you feel a lot of scorn, maybe you’re hanging out with the wrong people. Honestly, that sounds like it needs to be handled at the individual level and you present as a woman who can, in fact, handle that.

It requires a lot of self-awareness to be able to seperate your own insecurities and bias and hear what others are actually saying. People who want to be victims will act like victims. People who want to be champions will act like champions. Be a victim or a champion. It’s not my business. But when you make public misrepresentations about positions on which you are either sincerely or willfully ignorant, others are going to offer information to try to educate you. Whether you’re willing to hear it or not is up to you. That’s MY whole point.

I wish you nothing but the best.

Knowledge is power.

Mama, writer, lover, fighter — I wear my heart on my sleeve because my pants pockets are too small. www.ajkaywriter.com

Mama, writer, lover, fighter — I wear my heart on my sleeve because my pants pockets are too small. www.ajkaywriter.com