If you have ever had the privilege of taking Women’s Literature with Dr. Emily Orlando, professor of English at Fairfield University, then you know about the “angel in the house.” The angel in the house is described by Victorian author Virginia Woolf as representing society’s idea of the “ideal woman.” A woman who is devoted and submissive to her husband, who is passive, pious and pure. In her speech, “Professions for Women,” Woolf talks about the challenge female writers face when battling these preconceived ideas of what a “true woman” should be. Unfortunately, female writers continue to face the challenge of combating this “angel in the house.”
On Jan. 13, 2019, Yahoo published an article about previous television news host Brittany Noble-Jones’ experience in the newsroom at WJTV This Morning in Mississippi. Nobles-Jones explained that she was nervous to tell her boss that she was pregnant and, after she worked up the courage to tell him, she “soon felt more ostracized at work.” She wrote on Medium, “After announcing that I was pregnant, I was no longer included in commercials. I felt the need to starve myself to fit in. I now weigh only 108 pounds. I did eat while I was pregnant and while carrying my son and postpartum, I wasn’t allowed to represent the station and my events were given away to another white reporter.”
One event that went largely undercovered amidst the sexual misconduct allegations by Les Moonves is the lawsuit filed by former CBS investigative reporter, Michele Gillen. Gillen was the only female investigative reporter on the team in CBS Miami and began reporting about discrimination in the workplace in 2010; but it wasn’t until August 2018 that she was finally allowed to sue CBS.
An article written by the Hollywood Reporter explains, “Gillen says younger and male reporters were routinely given projects she pitched, leaving her with less desirable assignments and little to no support in producing them. When she approached human resources about the issue, she was told to let God handle it and that ‘bad karma’ would catch up to the people doing it. After complaining, Gillen claims her on-air time was cut back.”
As a young, female journalist, I too have experienced the challenge of trying to break the Victorian mold of the “true woman.” People today still hold the idea that a woman should “put their partner first” or choose to solely be a mother, rather than join the workforce. I guess that’s just not how I was programmed. My top Clifton Strength is “achiever,” and anyone that knows me knows that settling down immediately post-grad is really not on my radar.
I’ve had the dream of becoming a journalist for as long as I can remember. I want to seek the truth, report the truth and make a difference in the world by doing something that I’m pretty good at — writing.
I grew up in a super small town in Massachusetts, and since middle school I’ve faced instance after instance of people telling me “you can’t.” When my father was laid off from his job the summer before I was supposed to enter a private high school, my parents gave me the choice of either going to private school, or going to public school. If I went to private school however, I would have to quit being a competitive dancer because they could no longer afford both. I chose to go to public school and got accepted into every college/university I applied to, despite the fact that people told me I wouldn’t have the same opportunities as students graduating from a private school.
When it came time to choose between Fairfield and a few other universities more well-known for journalism, people once again told me that going to a small, Jesuit university wouldn’t get me to where I wanted to be. I would like to again point out that I proved those people wrong.
I am a hip-hop choreographer for Fairfield University’s Dance Ensemble, I am a team member for Fairfield’s competitive dance team, Dance Fusion, and I currently work as an investigative unit intern at my dream company, NBC Universal, all while continuing to serve the student body as the editor-in-chief of The Mirror. I am not a woman who likes to sit still.
Through the Academic and Career Development Center’s alumni job shadow program, I had the opportunity to shadow Danielle Tullo ‘15, a senior editor for Her Campus Media. She’s a powerhouse for sure, and solidified for me the idea that women have the power to instill change. Women can both be strong and confident.
“I feel like girls who go to Fairfield and want to achieve their dream job just have to hustle,” said Tullo.
The “new woman” is an empowered woman, a woman with goals, a woman who hustles. The fact that it is the 21st-Century and female writers are still subjected to certain roles and characteristics is something I have worked to change at Fairfield. We have an all-female editorial board, and I am proud to say that after this week another all-female ed-board will once again run The Mirror. We have brought to the table investigative pieces that have started important conversations and brought about positive changes to the University.
I’ve been hustling my entire life, and I have no intention of slowing down now. I’ve done what I felt was right for me, I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do for the past 21 years, regardless of what other people said or thought. So, to all the girls out there who are told “you can’t” … on behalf of myself and all other female Stags, I’m telling you that you absolutely can.