Shannon Faulkner Ruined Feminism For The Citadel

Shannon Faulkner Ruined Feminism For The Citadel

The bigotry of Faulkner's legacy may never dissolve, but it is getting better.

Maybe one of the most controversial moments in The Citadel's history was the admittance of Shannon Faulkner. She was the first ever female cadet to enter the black iron gates after successfully winning a lawsuit against the school's strict male-only admissions policy. She claims that her reasoning for applying was to fight discrimination against women and get a college education. When she arrived to matriculate and become a cadet recruit of one of the most prestigious military schools, she was escorted by U.S. Marshals. That August of 1995, all eyes were on The Citadel, and the weight of all the women striving for equality to their male counterparts rested on Ms. Faulkner's shoulders.

After five days, four of which were spent in the infirmary and not with the other recruits or cadre, she decided to out-process and left. The cadets fond of the old traditions rejoiced. To them, Shannon Faulkner was evidence that The Citadel was no place for a woman and that only men had the superior mental strength to endure the arduous but endurable fourth class system.

Faulkner is no hero, yet she is praised as one time and time again. She was an absolute failure and continued to reinforce gender inequality among her former peers. She blamed her weakness on stress from the court battle she had already won and the isolation she felt being the only female cadet there. Her neglect of foresight was completely ridiculous. She knew she was going to be the only female there; if there had been any others they would've gotten plenty of media attention as well. She attempted to portray herself as a brave and steadfast warrior of justice, but she had failed to convince herself of that. Instead, she became a coward and couldn't hold up to the ideals she appeared to believe in. In fact, Faulkner blamed the nurses in her hideout at the infirmary for not providing adequate care for her during her four day stay. She shamed herself by blaming her personal problems on those who were actually in support of her and not taking responsibility for issues she created for herself. That is not heroism, that is scapegoating.

What the legacy of Shannon Faulkner has left us is truly a shame. Every female cadet is unfairly associated with her. Since Faulkner's matriculation, the females at our school have been looked down upon for the sake of "tradition" and given derogatory names like "dirt squirrel." Because of Faulkner's inability to finish what she started, females are assumed to be weak physically and mentally and an unfair prejudice is cast upon them. My freshman year, one of my female classmates was spat on solely for her sex. Faulkner's plight has done nothing but helped the misogyny on campus flourish.

Some argue that Faulkner should continue to be held in high regard solely for the lawsuit she won. This is absolutely not the case. In 1990, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for their rejection of female applicants and by 1997, VMI was forced to admit women to their institute. That year, 30 women matriculated into their corps of cadets. The battle for women to be accepted at all-male public military colleges was started four years before Faulkner even had the idea. All Faulkner did was bring media attention to the state and national level, something anyone could have done.

The woman that should be regarded more often is Nancy Mace, the first female graduate of The Citadel and a very successful business woman. Just as Faulkner did, Mace went in alone. In her memoir, "In the Company of Men: A Woman at The Citadel," she describes her struggles and triumphs. What Mace had that Faulkner didn't was persistence and determination. Mace was and is a true leader, not someone trying to get a piece of the spotlight. Her hard work has made great strides in gender equality on campus, and has helped us not view the female cadets as a bunch of girls trying to be one of the boys, but as equals.

Unfortunately, as great of a leader and hero Nancy Mace is, she cannot erase what Shannon Faulkner has done to our school. The bigotry of Faulkner's legacy may never dissolve, but it is getting better. I've seen fantastic leadership skills from female cadets and I truly commend them for it. Women at The Citadel have it harder than the men. The shameful past of Shannon Faulkner has made it difficult for the young ladies at our school because they are associated with her based on their gender and not their character. Nancy Mace doesn't get enough credit for what she has done for the school and the push for social equality. Faulkner's shadow may loom over The Citadel and nurture an undesirable sexism, but the strives our female cadets and graduates have made and are making are helping shrink her memory.

Cover Image Credit: Post and Courier

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Will Enough Ever Be Enough?

Yet another school shooting in America, still nothing done. We are dying.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018: We are all heartbroken to hear about another school shooting.

At Great Mills High School in Maryland, a 17-year-old male is pronounced dead at the scene after shooting two other students and a school resource officer. Just before their first period started, at 7:55 am, Austin Rollins shot one male and one female student with a handgun before being shot by the school's resource officer. While the 16-year-old female is in critical condition, the 14-year-old male is currently stable. This is the 17th school shooting in 2018. That's 17 days out of the past 80 that parents have gone to bed with their children in body bags as a result of gun violence.

I don't care what political party you associate with, gun violence is completely out of control. I am a registered Republican and completely agree with stricter gun laws. Learn the difference between a gun ban and sales control. Concerned citizens are not trying to take away your guns, but are trying to take away the rights from those that are risks.

Could you imagine legally having to send your child to school but never coming back? You've packed their lunch, maybe with a special note, and gave them a kiss before they left for school, not knowing that it was their last. No matter where we go, we are not safe. We can't go to malls, movie theaters, schools, or even churches without having to worry if it will be our last trip. Our homes, our places of worship, and our schools are supposed to be the places where we feel safest and, instead, our children are filled with fear. Instead of focusing on the political views that divide these groups, why don't we focus on what unites us? Why don't we focus on protecting our kin?

Everyone has had an opinion on the walkouts that have been happening around the country. Everyone has had an opinion on the 17 minutes of silence for the 17 children lost in the Florida shooting. I've seen people disgusted that Nickelodeon had 17 minutes of broadcast cut because it "interrupted the only program [I] let [my] children watch".

If your child was shot at school, you wouldn't have to worry about what programs they watch, but rather where to bury them and how to afford their memorial.

I've seen people saying that it's no wonder that Millenials are dumb. They "find any excuse to cut class". Have you thought about the fact that they are genuinely worried about going to school?

Personally, I've experienced both a shooting scare at my high school and a bomb threat at my college. I shouldn't have to worry about my life ending. I'm legally forced to go to high school and get an education or I'm putting myself into a lifetime of debt to get a degree.

We are all too young to stress about gun violence. Our school years are supposed to be the times our of lives, but they're being wasted on worrying about dying every day.

Rest in peace to all of those who have lost their lives in shootings, not only this year, but always. Hopes, thoughts, and prayers go out to their loved ones. One day, we will unite and find a solution.

We need to work together and forget the labels of parties and cliques in school and look out for one another instead. There is no kind but mankind.

Cover Image Credit: Boston Herald

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The Republican Versus Democrat Stigma Needs To Slow Down

We Need To Be Individual Again

We as a society have developed an unnecessary need to place people in a specific party based on what could be a single value out of many. This is a letter for those who do not define themselves as one or the other; for those whose values range between conservative and liberal, for those who feel the unfortunate pressure of society to choose one even though your values do not fit just one.

The political parties at one point generally just meant “these are my basic beliefs, so this is the candidate I will vote for because they most closely represent them.” Party affiliation was harmless. Republicans and Democrats could get along fine, differing opinions not getting in the way of relationships and alignment. More importantly, you did not have to be part of a specific political party to be an active member of society. Your opinions and principles were yours.

Over the years following the last two election races, political parties gained a much more significant and defining meaning in our lives as individuals and as members of society. There is a newly developed stigma behind political opinions. You are almost pressured to feel one way or another about every single topic. If a majority of your values are of the conservative agenda, you must be a heart-and-all Republican. In contrast, if you are more liberal-leaning you are docked as a set Democrat. We as citizens are being labeled according to what may be a few hard-values. And dishearteningly enough, can be ridiculed for what we value. Even if you might not value everything the same as your determined party.

There exists those of us that hold values from both parties. It is possible to value women’s rights and also value a traditional marriage. It is possible to be a gun owner and also active in keeping children safe in school. You do not have to just submit to every belief of one party. You can value aspects of different parties and still be a functioning member of the American society. Do not let the looming obligation to declare yourself as strictly one or the other. You do not have to pretend you agree with everything Democratic or everything Republican; you can have your own values. And you should. Our society is messed up in the way that values are pushed on citizens. We are meant to be free individuals with our private values.

It is not fair to those of us who value different things. Not every American is a to-the-bone Democrat or Republican. It is possible to hold liberal beliefs as a conservative person. And Vice-Versa. We need to stop labeling one another as one or the other, conservative or liberal. We need to stop silencing each other because we have differing views. We need to accept not everyone is perfectly one party, and diversity exists. Open mindedness exists in Americans, despite the seemingly growing generalizations. We need to be able to agree to disagree on certain topics.
Cover Image Credit: LexiHanna

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