This past summer, I lived with one of my best friends from high school in Evanston, IL, doing research work on the literary history of Chicago. At the same time, my friend, Caroline, worked for a local Italian (“not Italian-American”) restaurant where she was one of the only women on the wait staff. She liked her coworkers well enough, would kick back and have drinks with them after her shift, but time and time again she’d come home massaging her temples, sending a question into the universe: “Why are men so loud?”
She meant this in several ways, mostly literal. The boisterous guys she worked with were fun-loving pranksters who took shots behind the bar during busy times, and sometimes, she said, they would just yell for no reason. Not even words. Just AAAAAHHHH.
Clearly that is somewhat atypical. But I think she also experienced a sort of general clamor at work, whether she was being flagged down by lecherous customers or commended for doing her job well by her exuberant Italian boss. Near the end of the summer, Caroline arranged for several of her women friends to take jobs at her restaurant, and she declared this a marked improvement, if only because she had someone with whom to commiserate.
If you are in a situation where you’re the only woman, or only person of color, or the only trans person, the only anything in a sea of something elses, things can get loud pretty quickly. You could be the most courageous and extroverted person in the world, but sometimes, it just doesn’t feel like anyone can hear you.
My point is this: What the F strives to be a platform where UMich feminists/womanists can get as loud as they want, under your own byline or anonymously, in the mag or the blog, during meetings and over social media. We want to be with you when you complain about that guy in your class who never raises his hand to talk. We want to hear your juiciest secrets; the stuff you wouldn’t tell anyone except in print. We want to celebrate your new job and comfort you after a breakup. We especially want to hear from those of you who’ve felt, in the past, that What the F isn’t for them – those of you who have confronted the loudness at our events or in our publication, though these things were designed to be empowering.
Our goal for What the F this year is to make it all about your voices – our wonderful readers and supporters. Don’t know how to yell at us?
1) Remember our E-Board spotlights last year? This year, we’re putting the spotlight on you, the feminist community at UMich. Simply send a picture of yourself and your answers to this questionnaire (http://bit.ly/2cskgsl) to Social Media Queen Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll show you off on our Facebook page.
2) Submissions to the mag and blog are always open at email@example.com. We’re taking away the pitching process to make it even easier to submit your work, so whatever you’ve got, send along!
3) Come to our mass meetings and tell us to our faces what you want: Monday, September 19th at 6:30 pm in 1437 Mason Hall and Tuesday, September 20th at 6:30 pm in 3330 Mason Hall.
4) Also at the mass meetings, we’ll be going over open staff positions with What the F. Many of us on Eboard are seniors – so we’ll need people to step up and carry on the WTF tradition when we’re gone!
5) New anonymous columns on the blog and in the mag. Stay tuned for more information.
6) Don’t be afraid to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or President Jackie at email@example.com with questions, comments, or suggestions. Seriously – we wanna hear it!
Welcome back, What the F-ers!
Let’s get louder!
Editor-in-Chief, What the F Magazine