This is the main component to my Common App. It is quite lengthy, but the subject matter is rather heavy. I would rather it be long and descriptive, than abrupt and meaningless. Please offer feedback, and I'll make sure to do the same. Thanks!
The Feminist Perspective
I find myself growing increasingly aware of the social pressures applied on females. As a self-proclaimed feminist, bibliophile, academic, and artist, I am regarded by many as somewhat of a deviant to my natural feminine role. By the standards of so many alike, I should love children, church, and cooking; interestingly enough, none of those things appeal to me. I do not conform to anything that is found practical in the mind of the ever-growing patriarchal society. Everything about my femininity, youthfulness, monetary status, and academia has been the scrutiny of those around me. I do not particularly enjoy pointing out that any equally motivated person, regardless of gender, could achieve the same.
Growing up as one of three females in my four-person nuclear family, I neither realized nor understood the social boundaries preventing me from achieving everything I desired. Gender was not really an issue I perceived as being legitimate, in my lovely secluded world. There were things that boys could do, things that girls could do, things that both genders could do? No. In my life, the only boundaries that existed were the ones I put up myself. However, as I matured, I realized the strife caused by the gender problem. In the fourth grade, for instance, I was scolded by a teacher for climbing the monkey bars during recess. It was not a 'feminine' thing to do- but, then again, exactly what was? Relieving myself of this social stigma could quite possibly be the most enlightening thing I've ever done. However, myself alone, there was not much benefit towards the closing of the gender gap.
Gradually, I began realizing that it was not only I that was affected by this. I remember teasing. In particular, in elementary school, where dwelled the close-minded, peers would often scoff at my attempts to play soccer, football, and other 'manly' sports. Although not an exceptional athlete, I continued to pursue everything and anything. How else was I to discover the true meaning of my life? It was not only on the field where I experienced difficulties- in class, where I excelled at history, science, and math, I would often overhear even teachers proclaiming their disbelief that a girl could outsmart so many boys. But why was this so wrong, so deviant? Could I, a female, manage to do this without being questioned?
I began to immerse myself in research, looking for the answers to questions I was not even sure existed. "Feminism", as a term, was not in the slightest appealing for me. It connoted harshness, militancy, reverse-sexism, and gender-based promotion. Women, as a monolithic group, did not deserve to endorsed in a gender-biased fashion. I could not comprehend why so many females, militant or not, supported such a cause. And then it dawned on me- perhaps, feminism was not militancy; instead, it was the outlook that women deserved as many advances as men. It was the combat of fire with logic. Men, predisposed for greatness in Western society, were born to privilege; similarly, women, predisposed to serve men, were born to service.
I rejected this idea with fury. Being female was not adjunct to persona. It was simply a biological state of birth. It would not dictate preference, success rate, monetary status, strength, or will. And as I age, I conform to this theory with even more militancy. I am female, and yet, I am a Renaissance person. I wish only to be female with dignity and freedom. I do not accept the social stigmas placed on me by Western patriarchal society. I reject advances made towards my female personage in the oppressive form. I encourage challenge because I am not weak.
And yet, despite my reconnaissance of females in society, I still find my boundaries to be inconclusive. The quintessential female is still the attractive, bosomy homemaker waiting for her man to come home from work. Female is still subjective to male approval. Gender privilege, that which should be abolished, is what man can expect as default setting. For instance, man can acquire a job, and rise through to ranks to prominence without having his merits and motivations be filtered through a gender prism first. Woman cannot do that; it is unnatural for a woman to, let's say, be the vice-president of a company without having her attractiveness, sexuality, family dedication, femininity, and so much more, be put to question. And most disturbing of all is the tolerability of such questions to be asked. Western culture, however 'civilized', still maintains a hypermasculine heteronormative box. Misogyny is acceptable; why else would 'sandwich' jokes be so prevalent?
Progressively, I have come to the realization that my gender cannot be allowed to stipulate personal setting; it is not up to society to define the boundaries which seclude me from the effervescently successful. 'Female', as a social construct, must be abolished- it is the only way to be rid of male privilege. Similarly, 'male' as a social construct must be abolished as well. Merit is what should enable a person to rise to professional success, and not their biological predisposition. As a raging feminist, I see gender bias as a perverse form of discrimination. There is an uneven power balance- this must be dealt with stealthily; equality must be forced through visibility. As a female, I have the short end of the stick. My side of the 'power balance' is uncharacteristically high because I do not carry as much weight. However, my opinions are of as much intelligence as the next man. But because I am female, they do not hold enough influence. Such is the institution of the gender problem.
I am, on the whole, quite displeased with the fabrication that women and men are not equal. Thus, my activism must go further than where it already is. I am advanced; I serve as a member of the Speaker's Bureau for Plan Canada's Because I Am A Girl foundation. I have participated in numerous panels on the status of females in other countries. I have aided my group in lobbying for the United Nations to declare October eleventh the International Day of the Girl Child- a celebratory success. I have spread the word of feminism to my fellow women into the global blogosphere. However, I continue to pursue my cause with zeal- although didactic essay-writing may not be the ideal medium for communicating my ideas, it is something. I have continued to push the boundaries and pursuits put on women by society. With true genuineness I have promoted feminism- it is not a cause I have simply pursued because female empowerment is 'in vogue'. Specifically, I am drawn to deconstructing the social discourse of 'male' and 'female'; identity politics, sociology, and feminism are concepts I wish to promote so that, one day, they are no longer needed. I continue to proudly stand for the female environment. Feminism, for me, is not an option.
Holy cow, your essay blows everyone else's out of the water...the only bits I can find are little grammatical quirks that don't even matter.
Alright, here goes:
"I should love children, church, and cooking" Careful about the church bit there, don't want to offend anyone. I know I'm probably being prudish, but you never know...
"Everything about my femininity, youthfulness, monetary status, and academia has been under the scrutiny of those around me"
"I do not conform to anything that is foundremove this practical in the mind of the ever-growing patriarchal society."
"However, myself alone," what do you mean by "myself alone"?
"I began realizing that it was not only I who was affected by this"
"How else was I to discover the true meaning of my life?" Bit cheesy, perhaps "How else was I to discover my calling in life?"
"It was simply a biological state of birth" maybe remove the "of birth" part to avoid redundancy
"I reject oppressive advances made towards my female personage."
Wow. Your ending there delivers quite a powerful blow. Great essay (and if I were on the adcoms I would welcome you with open arms) but again, be careful of who is reading this. If it's a down-south, Yankee, sexist white male kind of guy, you're going to be on shaky ground. But then, I guess softening it would be against the very viewpoint of this essay, wouldn't it? Good luck!
Wow, thanks so much! Haha, yeah I realize my essay is on a rather shaky subject, but most of the collages I'm applying to are either all-female, or Ivy League/liberal arts.
The "Children, church, and cooking" bit is "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" which was part of Hitler's propaganda during his Third Reich movement. I was hoping the AOs would get the reference LOL.
The errors I found have already been fixed.
The ending packs a punch.
The sad part is that I thought I wrote good essays.
Ugh, I hope you're not applying to any of the colleges I'm applying to. :P
Ah...haha now that I read it again it does have a nice ring to it. We never did cover Hitler's rise to power in socials 11...oh dreary Canadian high school curriculum :)
Are you applying to Penn as well? If you are I hope we'll see each other there next year!
Haha, thanks guys!
I'm Canadian too! Hitler isn't covered in SS11-- I'm taking History 12 this year, so that's how I know about it (thanks Mrs. D!)
I'm not applying to Penn (maybe-- we'll see), although I'm looking at colleges in that area-- Yale, Harvard, Brown, and Wellesley. I'm also looking at Stanford because it's closer to home. I'm hoping my essays are the highlight of my applications because my ACT score is rather mediocre.
Good luck with your applications too!
As a man, I am a bit frightened. As a collegiate hopeful, I am a bit frightened. As someone reading this essay, I am a bit frightened. The reception of this essay depends on the biological state of birth of your AO! Just hope it's a woman.
Why is feminism not an option? isn't it the other way around, that anything but feminism is not an option?
This is an amazing, powerful essay- you are clearly a great writer, and your ideas are strong and well-defined. I would suggest putting some more 'personal experience' into this, lest it sound like a diatribe, but if you can't find a way, that's fine. It is walking the line between a personal essay and a speech on feminism, but I think it makes it. Add a tinge of more personal feelings and the way you combated misogyny or even just stood up for feminism and a little less force in some of the sentences, because you have to be careful not to offend. If it's a man reading this, or someone who does not believe that female suppression ever existed (and believe it or not, I have met my fair share of them, as a fellow feminist), they might be skeptical if not intimidated. Put some more statistics in, like that the woman earns 70 cents to the dollar, or just get more specific, whether through personal examples or historical. Good luck! its great- by the way, where are you applying?
Also, as a fellow Russian, do you mind looking at my main CommonApp essay? its about living between countries and I think that you will be able to give the best feedback. Please and thank you!
Well, I hope it translates to passion over militancy haha.
Thanks! I'm applying to Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Brown, Wellesley, possibly Cornell/UPenn.
I'm afraid of adding anymore anecdotes to my essay because it's already just under two pages.
Yes, I agree with sagarfrog. Your essay is frightening for every other college applicant and man. At first, I thought I somehow jumped to the graduate student essay section of this website, haha.
Well now...what can I possibly say about this?
Oh yeah, IT'S PERFECT. AND FIERCE.
FIERCE I TELL YOU, FIERCE.
Haha, I'm just feel so overwhelmed by this essay (in a good way!!). I don't really know what to say :))
I pretty much agree with what ashatan had to say. If a man is reading this, he might feel a little intimidated, haha. But I don't think it's totally necessary to include more personal bits, seeing as your essay is long enough. You're definitely a great writer, and I think admission officers will be able to sense more about you as a person. You sound very strong and determined, like someone who makes things happen if she really wants to. Someone that can really make a difference. I'm pretty sure they'll love that. :)
Oh, and I love the conclusion by the way. Your last sentence was epic.
Good luck, and thank you so much for reading my essay! I appreciate it! :)
If you're going to submit this for the Common App, are you going to cut it? I don't think the readers will look too kindly upon the lengthy essay especially as they have hundreds of essays they need to read. Overall, your essay is good, but which prompt are you doing? (What is your thesis? It's getting buried).
It came off as a feminist rant to me, but to each his (or her) own I guess. Please check out my NYU one if you can! thanks!
I was thinking of cutting down, but given the sensitive nature of my essay, I wouldn't want to risk making it sound abrupt or thoughtless.
My prompt: Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
I don't really have a thesis, if that makes any sense. I know it's rather risky, but I would really rather not do an essay that goes by the very linear, typical format of: head, body, body, body, conclusion. It's very been-there-done-that and I'm really trying to stand out. The length is, I guess, a risk I'm willing to take.
I disagree with Karissa_a16. From my perspective, your essay was thoughtful, passionate, mature, and...PERFECT. I agree that your essay is a risky/sensitive topic, but thats what makes you stand out from the other 1000s of applicants. So hopefully you get in to the schools of your choice!
Your essay is certainly powerful and contains your inner voice. Wonderful, poetic, and certainly quite true. It plays on stereotypes and illustrates the injustice that we fellow women have!
However, you can cut back on the eloquent speech. Try not to sound overly sophisticated. I myself wrote a rant-ish type essay about Asian racism, and tried to avoid big words.
Also, try to tone down your essay so that it doesn't sound too hostile. You don't want to intimidate that admissions officer, especially if he's a man!
Please check my essay for Brown, Tufts, and Rice! :)
Your essay is awesome! Yes it is a risky/sensitive topic as shs1123 said, but feminism is an extreme subject because it is an extreme problem.
One thing I did notice that may be a typo...
"Women, as a monolithic group, did not deserve to be endorsed in a gender-biased fashion."
As it was mentioned by a few people feminism is a subject with which you must be cautious. It all depends on the person who will be reading you essay of course. Other than that it really is written well and I can't really see any mistakes that have not been mentioned.
This one's generated so many views over the course of 4 hours that I'm not sure there's all that much for me to say.
I can say that I don't really agree with it, but that's besides the point--although, as others have pointed out, it's going to hurt if you get the wrong admissions officer. This is your Common App essay, right--it's going to get sent out to all the colleges you're applying to (just something to keep in mind).
I'm also concerned about the length of the essay. You say that you've considered this, but it's 1150 words, nonetheless. The Common App mandated 500, and as it seems you're applying to Stanford, I can tell you firmly that neither the Dean of Admissions nor the Assistant Dean are going to like having to read 1150 words while its raining in Oakland, late at night sometime in February.
Dunno, maybe I'm being too cautious?