Thursday, January 2, 2014

We're Afraid of the F Word

No, not that F word.  I don't think it would be right to say we are afraid of that F word. Many popular movies use it like it's a pronoun. Take a walk on any college campus and you're guaranteed to overhear it in at least a few conversations.

The F word you're not going to hear is this one: feminist. Now, so you don't have to, I'll go ahead and say it:

- A 20-something female college student writing about feminism? How original.
- Feminism?? All that stuff was handled in the 60's!!!!
- This isn't about the other F word?...I'm bored.

Yes, I am 20 years old, and yes, I am writing on a subject that many others have before me. Still, there's a reason that I, and the many before me, keep writing about this. But we'll get to that.

Back to the title of this article: We're Afraid of the F Word. And by the way, when I say "we" I mean girls like myself. Or women. Whatever you want to call us almost-basically-kind of adults who aren't guys. In my opinion, males aren't comfortable with this word either, but that's an issue for another time.

What does this F word even mean?

A) If you are a feminist you support equality between the sexes in our communities, whether they be in the local, national, or international sphere.
B) If you are a feminist you are an outdated, overly aggressive, probably lesbian who can't learn to leave well enough alone.

I'll admit, I just presented an extreme case of those who are not feminists and most likely offended some of you who think more along these lines:

"Of course I support equality, but I don't need to be a feminist. I like things the way they are. I'm not being oppressed and I'm a woman. So why bother getting all upset?"

The above statement contradicts itself, stereotypes women, and assumes an apathetic approach to real societal issues. Sound harsh? Well you should know that I have been the person thinking, saying, and supporting that very statement, so allow me to explain.

Contradicts itself: If you want there to be equality, then you don't need to be a feminist, you are a feminist.

Stereotypes women: You may not feel oppressed, but there are others that do. Many women who are the primary caregivers, single mothers, tomboys, homosexual, victims of sexual assault do feel oppressed because they are female. And there are, unfortunately, more I could add to that list. It is a disservice to other women if we assume that if we are not a victim then no one is.

Assumes an apathetic approach to real issues: Sexism is happening in the US. It's not always (but still is sometimes) something we can fight in a courtroom.  Many of the changes we need need to happen one person at a time. It's got to be a change in the way we talk about each other and to each other. Who is doing the victim-blaming, and who is calling who a slut? Who is telling who that a tough, hard-working, career minded woman is not feminine? If we're honest, the answer can often be "Me" or other women.

I did not become a feminist, but realized I was one all along.  A college professor of mine asked me if I was a feminist and I said no. She then asked me if I supported equitable rights between men and women. I said yes. After I connected a few more dots in my head, I realized that I was one of those terrible F words.

I told you earlier I would say why it is important (if moderately so) that I write this. It's important because I am not only 20 years old, but I am 20 years old, a Christian, born and raised in the southeast, and I love dresses. I also grew up playing with dolls, am heterosexual, and cry more than the average person. My hometown holds a special place in my heart and I do not resent my college campus nestled in the suburbs of North Carolina. I was raised by a father who has a career, and a mother who stayed at home and I loved it. All of this is meant to show you that you can be a feminist as you. The F word doesn't have to be so scary.

Be careful though, being a feminist as you entails allowing others to be feminists as themselves too. It's amazing how this attitude frees you up from all that stereotyping and generalizing. All of a sudden, that girl who only wears combat boots and t-shirts, and that girl who seems to live in the classroom (soon to be office), and that girl who loves another girl, well, they're not just feminists, they're feminine too. What it means to be female is so much bigger than one type of woman. 

Again, I don't mean this as an attack. Everyone has a right to their own opinions and beliefs. I don't expect you to be any more compromising than I am.

Finally, just for fun, I am including a little feminist manifesto of my own. It lacks proper research, authority, and, probably, intelligence, but it's how I understand being a feminism. Thanks for reading!

I am a feminist because I believe that there should be equality between the sexes. I believe that women are consistently stereotyped by societal expectations that are unfair and restricting. I believe that to treat a woman like a sex object is wrong. I believe that there is a culture of victim blaming concerning sexual assault that is not properly recognized or handled. I believe that often the discourse of our media, our educators, and our friends supports the vocal suppression of what is, in reality, a diverse and capable female voice. I am a feminist because, even if I only change the way I talk about women, that matters. Feminism is not a war on men, but a fight for women. 

p.s. You might be an F word too...

p.p.s. Some other people's thoughts on this issue

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Insta-Advice for the New Year

By Caroline Drew

The holiday season comes to a close tonight, but don't turn off your cameras just yet! 

New Years Eve will round up the 2013 holidays and as one final gift to you this year, this reporter has reached out to the one and only Gina Michaels. Michaels is a renowned Instagram expert, known especially for her work with holiday Instagrams. 

"There's never a more important time to pick a filter," reads the tagline for Michaels's consulting firm MerryHappy Instagram. 

"MerryHappy Instagram succeeds because it's the only company of its kind. My clients are hungry, hungry for guidance, and I'm there to feed them. I'm always there," said Michaels in her New York office with a slightly uncomfortable level of intensity. 

Michaels went on to reveal that she's currently working on a new project: a self-help book. When asked if this publication would render her consulting firm essentially useless, the question was ignored. 

Michaels was kind enough to share an exclusive look into her new book, If You Don't Share, Who Cares (About You), here in this article. Enjoy these excerpts from her chapter on New Years Eve Instagrams. 

CHAPTER 9, All That Glitter is Instagram Gold

It's New Years Eve and people should know about it. Like I've said in earlier chapters- if you don't post about holidays on Instagram, how else would your followers know what day it is? Follow these tips to start the year off with a bang (and 100+ likes)!

1) I Spy a New Year: All NYE instagrams must include at least two of these items: champagne bottle, champagne glass,  20__ glasses, confetti popper, noise maker, and sparkly dress

2) Festive Filter: Avoid filters designated for other holidays (i.e. Earlybird and Christmas, Hudson and President's Day) and stick to NYE favorites: Toaster, Lo-Fi, and-- if you feel up to the challenge-- Inkwell. 

3) Cheers to Being Popular!: Want to make your followers jealous in a passive aggressive way? The ultimate "I'm at a party and, oops, you're not here" post is one featuring you and the other guests holding your glasses up in the air together. Make sure to include candid laughing and do not forget to tag those in the post. This way, any sad lonely followers can actually see who is more popular than them. 

4) Hashtag Hazy: Don't be afraid of the blur option tonight. If you want to convey your slight, but not too heavy, NYE buzz I strongly encourague use of the blur. It gives off a fun, carefree, drinking vibe that guarantees some double taps.

5) Auld Lang Video: If you're a fan of the Instagram videos, tonight is your night. Don't waste it on popping bottles or stumbling around in your glittery heels. No, wait until the countdown to midnight. This countdown will fit easily into the 15 second limit (hello, just 10 seconds!) and will truly ease your transition into the new year.


- If you're at home alone, do not post an poor-me-post of you and your cat wearing festive hats from the year before. Pity likes aren't likes at all. 

If You Don't Share, Who Cares (About You) will be available this March in stores near you. 

(p.s. I really, really hope everyone knows this is a joke. happy 'gramming friends!)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Where in the World is Caroline Drew

Well. Well, well, well. How to begin this post, where to start, hmmmm...

It's Saturday, December 14th. According to my schedule, I am home, still asleep in my own bed. My mom picked me up in Atlanta last night and though I was sad to leave Prague, it's nice to be back in Alabama. 


Sorry about that, but like the KLM airlines, I enjoy a good surprise. I am not at home, asleep, or in my own bed. But Caroline if you aren't home...then...where are you? I am still in Europe, actually. This continent wasn't quite ready to let me go. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, this journey (or lack thereof) began yesterday morning in Prague...

  • 9:35 am: Leave my dorm behind and travel to the Vaclav Havel international airport. 
  • 10:00 am-12:00 pm: Reminisce about the semester in Prague, cry, eat airport food, buy trashy magazines, cry some more
  • 1:00 pm: Find out our flight to Amsterdam is 50 minutes late. OH NO. 
  • 3:00 pm: Board flight to Amsterdam, pray that the flight to Atlanta will also be delayed
  • 4:00 pm: Pilot announces who will miss their connecting flights. ATL flight is the last one read. Accept that the world is a cruel place. 
  • 4:30 pm-7:30 pm: Alongside Kirsten, Kelen, and Alex, discuss options with the employees of KLM airlines. Book 4 separate flights, and 3 different hotel rooms. Offered a complimentary overnight pack including, but not limited to, a toothbrush, t-shirt, socks, and razor (score!). 
  • 8:00 pm: Arrive at the elegant Ibis Hotel. Retrieve free food voucher at the Caribbean Restaurant (note: the Caribbean should maybe consider changing its name to the more accurate "Middle School Lunch Room" as the food was hard to define and all the cool kids sat at the corner table).  
  • 9:00 pm: After being told the free drink voucher only works at the Caribbean, decide to buy ourselves a real drink at the fancy "we're not stranded passengers" bar. Receive dirty looks from other patrons. 
  • 9:30 pm: Realize it is Friday the 13th. Understand irony to the fullest. 
  • 10:00 pm: Retreat to our rooms to watch a movie. 
  • 10:15 pm: Fall asleep. 

8:00 am: Wake up, put on the same clothes from the day before and head back to the airport BECAUSE TODAY WE WILL GET HOME. WE WILL. WE WILL. WE WILL. WE WILL. 

My favorite part of yesterday happened at the KLM transfer desk. 17 of us were attempting to reroute ourselves after missing our flight to Atlanta. A midst the tired voices of travelers trying to get home and those of weary employees who clearly have the worst job in the world, came this exchange: 

"Is that really all you have?"
"Yes I am sorry, sir. We can get you to Paris tonight, but it will be a middle seat." 

A middle seat??? He's not an animal!!! Have some common decency KLM!!!

And now, I sit here in the Amsterdam airport, and it's really not that bad. I have The Office to watch, Bridget Jones's Diary to read, and chocolate to eat/OD on. 

If I don't make it back to the States, send your questions to KLM airlines. Be aware that they will delay your question for about an hour, then cancel your question, ask if you would mind holding your question for the night and then try figuring out an answer for your question tomorrow night. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Drew Family Now Owns a Sword

The rumors are true. My family came and went from Central Europe without any arrests or serious injuries. High five! 

What? Those weren't the rumors you were thinking of? Let me clarify: I did not mean to make you think that that girl was pregnant, or that that couple broke up, or that we all secretly talk about how we don't like you when you're still in the room by referring to you as "Cindy" instead of your real name. Those are all just rumors (gahhhh Cindy is sooo paranoid...).

In Budapest we toured churches, synagogues, and national monuments. We went to a wine tasting and sampled local specialties. My favorite part, however, was swimming in the famous Szechenyi baths. Essentially large outdoor pools, the baths are kept full by nearby thermal springs. Locals and tourists come to socialize, play chess, and enjoy the warm water. 5 members of my family really liked the baths. 1 of us wasn't too happy...let's take a trip back to that night and listen to some of the conversation, shall we?

Caroline: This is fun! Look at those old guys playing chess.
Mama: I just loooove being so warm. It is bitter here y'all. But this is niiiice.
Caroline: I wonder if I should go ask to play
Mark: Tillman don't splash me. 
Tillman splashes Mark
Mama: Mmmm so hot. I'll tell you somethin', if I lived in Hungaria, I would come here every day. 
Mark: It's called Hungary, Mama.  
Mallie: Tillman! If you're going to splash him don't get it near me. 
Caroline: Me either. And hey, I don't really know how to play chess, one of y'all should go ask to play with those old people.
Dad: This is the most disgusting thing we've ever done. 

Perhaps you've read a previous post of mine "Emotions with Dad." If so, you already know that my father can be like a used butter knife: blunt (does that metaphor work? Yeah, it worked. It totally did). Something you may not know however, is that he's not the biggest fan of germs or large masses of people. 

Now remember that we were in a warm pool full of hairy European men wearing speedos.  

Other quotes from Papa Drew include: 
"I feel like I'm catching diseases standing in this."
"Caroline, tell your mom you want to leave."
"Why would people come to this thing?"
"Alright gang, time to go." (said after 5 minutes in the bath)

Don't worry, we stayed for an hour and a half. Thanks Dad!!

Even better than exploring Budapest was having my family in Prague.  Getting to share this city with them meant a lot to me, but because you'd rather hear about our weirdness than my sappy emotions (whatever, I don't want to know about your feelings either) I'll focus on that. 

Tillman bought a sword. A full length sword. He thought it would fit in his suitcase. Guess what? That thing wouldn't fit in a golf bag. Now I get to figure out how to ship the weapon home. Which means I get to walk through Prague with a sword. Fear me peasants!!

I took my family to NYU open mic night where we all got to feel bad about how non-musically inclined we all are. One of the acts wasn't musical, though. It was my friend Nathan doing stand up and he was great. He was also pretty...colorful at times. My mother's response: "I thought he was cute! But I didn't get all of it. I'm going to have to ask your dad what some of that stuff meant later."

The boys ditched their khakis, sperries and polos for dark jeans, converse-esque shoes, and hoodies. My dad, on the other hand, sported his ever fabulous snap-away pants. You know, the kind that can become shorts with just a tug on the lower leg? Sorry for being a fashionable family. 

I really should get back to studying and if I write my Goodbye Prague post right now I'll get tears in my hot chocolate. And you know what they say: "There's no use crying into good chocolate*."

They used to say "There's no use crying over spilled milk," but realized this was an erroneous statement unless you're some fancy rich person who buys milk in bulk. "Did you see Dave's fridge? Packed with milk. He must be doing well." 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Beatles Took This Quiz and You Should Too

As I write this I am listening to the Beatles. Because I'm controversial and feel like stirring things up-- what if One Direction is just The Beatles of our generation? This makes sense I think. I mean, both are bands made up of British guys (that blonde kid still counts) and they sing love songs and get girls all excited. Maybe, MAYBE, the members of One Direction are just the members of the Beatles reincarnated! Sure, not all the Beatles are dead, but who knows how reincarnation really works, right? What I'm trying to say is that the Beatles's music and One Direction's music are pretty much on the same level and no one can argue with that. 

....Alright now that many of you have left this page in a fury, ready to write me an angry email (see bottom of the post), let's talk less about music icons and more about me!! I'm not a music icon, but I am #nailedit

Fall break was a blast and I could spend hours typing out tales of adventure and whimsy, but these abroad blog posts are getting a little too easy for you readers.

Q: Shouldn't you have to work for such precious information? (A: yes). 

That's right, you're taking a quiz. It's not a test, it's only a quiz. It won't decide your grade or anything so keep your pants on. Plus this quiz is colorful so you know I'm a cool teacher.  

QUIZ: WHAT'D I DO ON FALL BREAK/what's your spirit animal

  1. Caroline ate all of the following foods in the Swiss Alps; however, which was her favorite?
    • a) escargot
    • b) lamb entrecôte  
    • c) champagne fondue
    • d) twix candy bar
  2. If Caroline was in Brussels for two days and there is an endless amount of waffles and if the trains arrive at whatever time they want to, how many waffles did Caroline eat?
  3. Caroline put a lock for her parents on the love lock bridge in Paris. What date did Caroline write on the lock? (i.e. what is her parents' anniversary)
    • a) May 27, 1985
    • b) May 25, 1987
    • c) May 25, 1997
    • d) May 23, 1987
  4. At what point did Caroline realize the flight she booked to take her back to Prague at the end of the week was for the wrong date?
  5. How much did it snow whilst Caroline frolicked in the mountains of Zermatt?
    • a) a whole lot
    • b) 10 inches
    • c) 14 inches
    • d) it didn't snow...(don't be dumb and choose this, of course it snowed)
Answers: 1.a but consolation prizes to the other answers because they were all delicious, 2. 3 (not so impressive, I know), 3. trick question, they were married on d, but I accidentally wrote b. But whatever because marriages don't really count until they've lasted for 2 days. 4. The day before I needed to leave! ha! ha! ha! (tears on the inside), 5.a. What do I look like, a snow ruler? I can't estimate these sorts of things! I'd never seen so much snow in my life! 

If you got a perfect score your spirit animal is a white tiger. If you got less than a perfect score you don't get a spirit animal because you don't matter. 

Fall break was like a peanut butter sandwich where the peanut butter is exciting new experiences and the jelly is pure exhaustion. The Sunday after I returned to Prague I slept until 4:15 pm. No regrets. Tune in next post to hear about MY FAMILY VISITING because that crazy crew is meeting me in Budapest this Saturday!

And now, so you won't have to, an angry email to me about the first paragraph of this post:

Dear Caroline, or should i say idiot,
do u have ANY idea what u just did? u couldnt be more DUMB. the beatles are literally the best band ever and one direction is stupid and gay and not even real music. if i had a one direction cd (which i don't because they sux) i would break it on ur face. dont ever talk about music on the internet again. also i like this blog a lot. wow is it fun to read. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Operation Fall Break

Alright men (and women-- equality, yo) Operation Fall Break commences in less than 10 hours. It's time to review the objectives of our mission. Pay attention because this next week might just be the most important of your life

Phase One: Whoville

Location: Zermatt, Switzerland


- Hike on the trails of the impossibly beautiful, snowy alps (note: do not get distracted by the impossible beauty. This is not a "vacation," you are not to appreciate "beauty," or "have the time of your life"

- Eat fondue; potentially the alleged "champagne fondue" referred to by an online restaurant menu, more to follow on this matter

- reference How the Grinch Stole Christmas as much as possible. If snowfall occurs, the Who's Christmas song is not suggested, but required (note: Agent Stephens, if you still haven't memorized it by tomorrow, don't bother coming). 

Phase Two: (the) Waffle ('
s original) House

Location: Brussels, Belgium 


- Eat ourselves into a waffle coma. Multiple times. 

- Visit at least one palace and then claim it in the name of your commander (i.e. me). 

- Eat more waffles. 

Phase Three: Le Retour à Paris

Location: Paris, France


- Get lost in the gardens of Versailles. I know what you're thinking. The words "get lost" might seem counterproductive to the mission, but....okay, sure, this part is just for us. Agents need to have fun too. 

- As per custom with operations at this sight, order then consume French Onion Soup (note: it will be referred to as simply Onion Soup on menus). 

- Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT spend the hours of 2 am-5 am being unable to return home one night. This was not a productive experience in the original mission at this location. 

We will regroup sometime between the 16th and 18th to evaluate the success of our mission. 

p.s. Against all odds, the Lilting Banshees are still being completely hilarious without me there to contribute ("Hey guys! What if we do a Disney sketch??!!"). Watch and laugh:

p.p.s. Yes, all the phases include something about food. I recognize it, but I don't regret it.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Most Things Taste Better Than Skinny Feels

The calendar and I are in a fight. The calendar wants to say that it's almost November, but I'm pretty sure that it's only late September.

Spoiler: the calendar is going to win. 

As it tends to do, time has started moving at hyper speed. Time is like a hamster: strolling along on its wheel until you look away for one second; then, it uses its tiny legs to spin that thing like a race car tire. I cannot believe I have only around 6 weeks left in Prague. Franz Kafka once said, "Prague never lets you go. This dear little mother has sharp claws." There is actually no better way for me to put that. It's absolutely true. 

Instead of getting depressing, I'll fill you in on my ever-so-enchanting life in the dear little mother that is Prague. 

This past Monday, October 28th, we didn't have classes! We weren't celebrating Cristopher Colombus or laborers; however, this holiday is the Czechoslovak Independence day.  For anyone confused, there is no Czechoslovakia anymore, but the Czechs still celebrate like it's 1918!!!  And how did we celebrate? We went to Plzen, of course. 

If you have heard of Plzen, color me impressed. Pre-abroad, if I was on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and the final question was "Where is Plzen?" or "What is Plzen?" or "Is Plzen a real thing?" I would have either lost or won $1,000,000 solely on luck. Plzen is a town about an hour and a half outside of Prague. It has a beautiful church, a historical underground, and (our favorite part) the Pilsner Urquell brewery. 

Now that I have toured the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam and the Pilsner brewery in Plzen I think it's safe to say that my beer knowledge has gone from about a -4 to a 5 or even 6. Touring the breweries have actually been one of the more enjoyable "touristy" activities we've done (informative and fun?? Is this a School of Rock Video or a brewery tour??).

We also celebrated the Independence Day by treating ourselves to large amounts of tasty Czech food. I realized a while ago that Czech food should probably be a rare occurrence in my diet, lest I wish to roll onto the airplane and deal with heart problems later in life.  American chef, Anthony Bourdain, once referred to Prague as "Porkopolis .The land vegetables forgot."  So one hand, Czech food is not good for you. But on the other hand, it's delicious. Besides, how I am going to disprove the "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" idea unless I frequently eat all the food which tastes so much better than skinny feels (or at least, how I assume skinny feels).  

Note: I really do think "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" is one of less intelligent sayings I've ever heard. In fact, I think almost the opposite is true: "Most things taste better than skinny feels." Now that's a quote I could get behind.  So take that, healthy eaters! You can keep your vitamins, and lack of health issues, and muscles know what, I'll just stop there. 

Obviously you are reading this very closely, possibly committing it to memory, and noticed that I mentioned Amsterdam earlier. That's right, two weeks ago I traveled to the Netherlands to see the sights. When I first told my mom I was going to Amsterdam she responded "Caroline. Did you know they sell legal pot brownies there??" She then went on to ensure that I would be careful to inspect any chocolate I was buying for possible drugs. 

Besides crumbling up chocolate bars in search of marijuana, we also visited the Heineken brewery, the Red Light district, and Anne Frank's house. We also saw some of the city by water when we took a canal tour. The Red Light district was easily one the more depressing streets I've walked on, but besides that Amsterdam was a beautiful place. The leaves had just changed and with all of the canals and old architecture there was never a loss of potential kodak moments. In my mind, Amsterdam felt like a wonderful combination between Paris and Venice (for anyone who thinks is totally off, you're probably right, but I just felt that way OKAY??). 

This week I look forward to Wake friends visiting and, of course, HALLOWEEN! Who cares if Czechs don't really celebrate it, I'll take any excuse to wear a costume and buy myself value size bags of candy.