The IWF College Essay Contest

Remember, there’s just a week and a day left to write your entry to the IWF’s College Essay Contest! (Here’s my previous post about the contest).

Applicants must submit a typed, double-spaced essay of no longer than 750 words that address the following topic:

Please discuss your experience on college campus as an independent woman. How has your college or university helped or hindered your intellectual and personal growth? Please describe what you think it means to be an independent woman in the year 2005.

Writing 750 words is easy, and the first prize is $5000 – and what could be more fulfilling for a young feminist than spending $5000 of anti-feminist money? So if you’re a female undergrad, give it a shot!

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18 Responses to The IWF College Essay Contest

  1. 1
    RonF says:

    Hm. Wouldn’t independent include the concept that they were self-supporting? That would leave out a huge chunk of college women, especially at the more expensive schools. What qualifies as independent?

  2. 2
    Cyndiannp says:

    Or are they using the term “independent” to mean non-Greek (sorority) related?

  3. 3
    Nella says:

    Unfortunately (!?) i’m a postgrad – on the other hand, if the IWF are setting the standard for honesty…

  4. 4
    Myca says:

    What qualifies as independent?

    I think it’s code for Not Feminist.


  5. 5
    Kai Jones says:

    I could write a great essay about being middle-aged, mother of two, working full time, paying a mortgage, and paying my own way through college…but they only want full-time students, and I’m going part-time.

  6. 6
    twig says:

    Kai, how in the world do you manage that? I’m single, no kids, working full time, no /rent/ at the moment thanks to a very, very wonderful friend and looking at grad school with my eyes going cross-eyed in stark terror at the cost.

    Does part-time really make it managable?

  7. 7
    Andrew Reeves says:

    You know, that seems like an essay that would almost write itself: The harrowing tale of being in an environment in which you are encouraged to engage in Unspeakable Debauchery and made to feel like a prude if you don’t; the heroic resistance to your Politically Correct brainwashing; and the horror of how your Women’s Studies professor tried to convince you that the only way to be a real woman was to be a lesbian. Liberally season with the sheer horror of being subjected to such things, the shock of having arrived looking for a liberal education and instead finding a cesspit of immorality, etc. etc.

    I am almost positive that whatever essay winds the contest will have every familiar topos from that sort of writing that is far too familiar from right publications.

  8. 8
    Robert says:

    Rather than go to the trouble of submitting a bunch of essays, why not just go through the IWF trashcans, find some old credit slips, and steal the $5000 that way?

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    Are you saying that if a leftwinger turns in an essay that follows all the IWF contest’s rules, that’s the same as (attempted) stealing?

  10. 10
    Robert says:

    If a person turns in an essay that is purporting to be a personal statement, but is actually a collection of falsehoods, then that person is committing fraud, which is morally equivalent to stealing.

  11. 11
    Lilith says:

    On the other hand, imagine if a crafty feminist wrote an essay that *did* win the prize. Not only would she have 5000 morally ambiguous dollars, she would have to see her words being used to tear down her own principles. I mean, a winning essay would have to be written with considerable skills of persuasion, it would have to have ethos, pathos, and logos. And it would have to endorse an anti-feminist point of view. As such, it could and would be used to convince people of the wrongness of feminism and the correctness of anti-feminism. It doesn’t seem very ethical to me to sell out your principles, even if it is only empty words you don’t really mean, to get $5000.

  12. 12
    QrazyQat says:

    OTOH, said crafty feminist could then expose their BS by showing how they fell for rightwing PC BS.

  13. 13
    Lilith says:

    Yeah, but how much exposure would that get compared to the original? Unless the person was going to turn around and sink most of the prize money into publicity, not as much. It’s like a correction in the newspaper, run on the bottom inner page in small print, as opposed to the faulty headline there in bold for all to see. As fun as it might be to pretend that such “stealth” tactics as entering this contest might do anything productive at all, in reality it is more likely to backfire than anything.

    Not to mention, the IWF could easily rebut the feminist’s refutation by pointing out the inherent dishonesty of submitting a “personal” essay you do not sincerely believe to be true. It would severely undermine her credibility as an author (how do we know she’s telling the truth now, and not just shilling for $5000 from someone else?) and by extension, the credibility of feminism in the eyes of those who are not yet convinced either way.

  14. 14
    Jessica says:

    Pennsylvania State University

    Could I write about my experience at Penn State where Rene Portland has said in 1986 by her own words that she has a no lesbian policy and the University is currently still figuring out if they want to fire her? Could I write about my experience how in my college newspaper, we have had editorial columns by the staff about how women should be secretaries and that feminism hurts women (by the way, written by all men) in separate columns? Could I write about how one of my aquaintences was raped and the university basically tried to hush up 14 rape victims in one semester? Could I write about how the university basically ignored that a student, Ed Smith, was threatened by a racial epithet outside a building? Could I write about how two-three people stayed afterwards in a classroom to call me a lesbian?

    Me thinks I would flunk the essay component and they would reject it right away. Hyppocrites.

  15. 15
    QrazyQat says:

    Well Lilith, I wasn’t actually serious — for one thing any attempt at slipping one past those people would certainly founder due to the rightwing’s obessive habit of thorough fact-checking.

    But then, what with blogs and people liking a good story, if someone did do that the story would get wide, and longterm, play. When I was in Santa Cruz there were protests all the time at the Miss California pagent, and they got it moved, and got some press, but it wasn’t so big a deal as when a student actually entered and got to the finals and pulled a protest banner out of her swimsuit. Pranks get press.

  16. 16
    Antigone says:

    Well, one COULD theoritically write a tongue-in-cheek essay that would be personal and still follow the IWF’s wants. For instance:

    “I went to the University of North Dakota because I thought it would be an educational, quiet envirnment where presure to conform to some notion of what a “should” be. Unfortunately, I was wrong: many of the professors push politics in areas where they have no business talking about them, and there are many campus organizations that are very pushy when it comes to getting them to adopt their beliefs. However, even though the college experience was not exactly how I thought it would be, I feel that I’ve grown, and am growing, into the women that I want to be because of the adversity I’ve had to encounter…..

    The politics here on campus are very frustrating sometimes. For instance, a great deal of time and effort was spent on the Measure One amendment, which outlawed civil unions. The amount of people who came out and disrupted class out of “protest” was embarassing for a member of this univesity”

    You know, that kinda thing. If you know me, you’d know I meant that the Campus Crusaders and Sons of Liberty have too much influence, and that I was embarrassed how few people protested the civil unions, but it’s fairly ambiguous, and they’ll probably read whatever they wanted into it.

  17. 17
    Kyra says:

    If a person turns in an essay that is purporting to be a personal statement, but is actually a collection of falsehoods, then that person is committing fraud, which is morally equivalent to stealing.

    I disagree. To have a chance at winning, one must, in 750 words, tell the antifeminists that they are RIGHT and the feminists are wrong. The IWF will no doubt publish the winning essays and others like them for promotional purposes. By writing the essay, one is helping them advertise, helping them get their “you-don’t-need-feminism” message out to other women. This is the service you provide for them in order to make it worth their while to give you $5000. They get that service, that advertisement, that bonus—in other words, they get their money’s worth—whether what you write is true or not. Therefore anyone who gives them that advertising material is fully deserving of whatever money the IWF thinks it’s worth.

    And that’s precisely why I’m not entering the contest. I refuse to have my name attatched to any literary kissing of the patriarchy’s ass, regardless of whether I mean it. Even for $5000. Which would get eaten up fast by my next semester or so of school, anyway.

  18. “Independent” of what? The IWF itself is funded by Richard Schaife.