On Broadway, Princesses, Stereotypes, and Multidimensionality

Two summers ago, right before I started my first internship in a male-dominated field, my mom told me not to wear pink, not to laugh, and to just try to fit in. It took time for me to feel comfortable acting a certain way, and I even acknowledged my love of Disney and Broadway this past summer in a blog post. Though it’s 2018, many still don’t take women seriously because of how they act or dress, like what happened to Jess in the TV show New Girl, below.

My name is Lizzie, I can quote most Disney movies, I wear pink, and I also read a lot of baseball and basketball (fiction and nonfiction) books.

A little over a year ago, I was listening to my usual mix of Broadway and Disney tunes when the YouTube recommendation algorithm suggested I watch a series of videos called the Broadway Princess Party. I didn’t really understand what it was, and only recognized a few of the singers (but all of the songs), but I was hooked. Every actress in the show was assigned a princess (the term is loose, some were not royal but just big female characters.) Where else could someone watch the actress who played Jasmine on Broadway in Aladdin sing songs from Pocahontas? Or Moana? The sky was the limit!

This past Sunday, I made the 1.5 hour trek to New York City to see the the Broadway Princess Party in-person with a friend I met there this past summer. Gwen is a well-known iOS engineer and conference speaker who (like me) also happens to love Broadway, Disney, poetry, yoga, art, and the color purple. When the actress singing Snow White updated the lyrics to make them more modern, “woke”, and feminist, I scanned the room and noted the diversity of audience members in attendance. I thought it was so cool to see people of all genders, backgrounds, and ages who were interested in a show called the Broadway Princess Party. (If you’re wondering, it exceeded my already-high expectations.)

A few summers ago, the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign took off because people didn’t believe a woman in an advertisement was an engineer, showing that even in the 21st century, people still have preconceived notions of what someone who does a certain job looks like.

I’m fortunate that I’ve never felt that I had to change myself to be taken seriously while at Bryn Mawr. Here, I’ve found friends, classmates, professors, and staff who are multi-dimensional. When I think of a computer scientist, a biochemist, or a philosopher, I think of a woman because they’re the ones I’ve been surrounded by these past four years. They all challenge stereotypes of typically-male-dominated fields.

I hope to do the same, and I’ll do it while wearing my Pride and Prejudice earrings, Mulan shirt, and panda earmuffs.

Has anyone ever misjudged you before because of preconceived stereotypes?

 

#FlyEaglesFly: the Eagles Parade

I was in the Campus Center with many classmates and fellow Mawrters last Sunday night as we crowded together to watch the Philadelphia Eagles’ monumental win over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee hosts a Watch Party with food, raffles, and fun each year, but this year was different. It was a battle between students who had grown up in the area or students (like myself) who are from another state against students from New England (for the most part–and there are a lot of students from the Boston area.)

The atmosphere in the Campus Center that night was electric, fun, and intense, regardless of which team you were rooting for. I went back to my dorm and heard screaming in the halls, and fell asleep to sounds of fireworks going off. When I woke up, I saw posts from friends who had gone into Philly to watch the game and some pictures of the aftermath of the celebration.

That celebration continued throughout the week, especially with the Eagles’ celebratory Super Bowl Parade. It was such a huge event that Penn classes were canceled and SEPTA schedules were modified for the day, forcing many to find alternate forms of transportation. I spent the night at my friend Devica’s (’18) house around half an hour away with Rachel Bruce ’18, and we got up at 5:30 a.m. to be at the station at 6:20 a.m. with Hannah Terz ’18 for a 6:50 a.m. train. The line was already long when we got there, and we almost didn’t get on the train!

Line for SEPTA around 6:20am

The train went straight to Jefferson Station, and we speed-walked past Reading Terminal Market to get to Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where the parade would be going by. We waited in the cold for over five hours, but we were in the first and second rows of people, and the overall excitement, happiness, and positivity radiated off of most people there. Devica was so close, she high-fived a few players!

Overall, it’s been an eventful, spirited, and joyous week. I love the hope that seems to radiate from the city now. Even if there are more parades, they won’t be like the first one!

Off-Campus Coffee: Hot House versus Green Engine

I worked in a library for two years in high school, and volunteered there before that, so, of course, I have an affinity for libraries. Throughout college, I would study and do work in my room, in a Common Room, in Canaday Library, Dalton or College Halls, or in a CS lab in Park because they were more convenient to get to. However, I’ve begun appreciating working in coffee shops because they’re warm, welcoming, cozy (I also like coffee and tea!)

Located a short walk minutes from campus, Hot House is a perennial college favorite. It sort-of shares a door with the walkway leading up to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, so there’s always people walking in and out. Caroline Horvatits ’20, a tennis teammate, works there, so it’s fun visiting her and seeing her make drinks. There’s always Bryn Mawr students there studying, too.

Hot House houses a few booths, bar seating, a sofa, and some table and chairs, and is very intimate.

 

A short Blue Bus ride or 25-minute walk away is Green Engine, a cute coffee shop near Haverford. They offer more food options, more seating (but there’s usually more people), and more sunlight. I always see Mainline Moms in there.

Stephanie Cao ’18 and Ann Tran ’18 in front of the plant wall at Green Engine.

Both places make mean lattes (among other drinks and food), but I think Green Engine is more Instagrammable with a more nature-y aesthetic, whereas Hot House is warmer and cozier. I prefer different ones on different days. Where do you like to study or get coffee?

Mon Dieu! A Weekend in Montreal

I journeyed on a one-hour flight to Montreal this past weekend on work, and got some time to explore the city. For someone who watched friends go off to different continents and countries for Study Abroad last year, it was so neat to finally travel to a different country, for the first time in almost eight years!

I could have prepared more for the weekend trip, and was surprised when I saw currency conversion machines in the airport, and lots of signs in French. I took French in middle school and high school, but still had trouble understanding people who spoke so quickly! The event I was in Montreal for was at Concordia University, which is one of two English-speaking universities in Montreal. It’s only a few blocks away from the other English-speaking school, McGill, which was where my hotel was.

I loved seeing the vibrant culture of the city. There were so many murals and so much artwork on the streets, and people were so friendly. I shook so many hands, but they weren’t meant to be a networking thing–people were genuinely friendly! It was so fun to walk around in the freezing weather soaking up the atmosphere, practicing my French, and soaking up a different culture that is not actually far from here.

I’d recommend venturing to Canada once in your four years at Bryn Mawr, particularly to Montreal as it’s not that far!