If you walk around campus on a fall day, you will most likely find many girls donning a Barbour jacket, and either Frye boots or Jack Roger sandals. Many other schools describe Deerfield girls as looking the same; a combination of certain material items have come to epitomize “the Deerfield Girl.” But why and how has Deerfield become such a predictably materialistic institution?
While Deerfield will deny its elitist ways till the end of time, the administration unabashedly promotes its outmoded image of the exemplary girl—suburban, skinny, conservative, the housewife as envisioned by Friedan. The administration—from Admissions to the Head of School—is aware of how the social scene operates, yet continues to do little about it. In fact, our administration publicly condemns but privately promotes the image of the “Deerfield Girl.” One may ask, And just how does the administration do that? The answer is quite simple—it admits specific types of girls and molds outliers into the stereotype with a restrictive dress code and unhealthy student culture.
As a four-year senior, I can say in retrospect that the pressure to conform was overwhelming. For 15-year-olds trying to find their own identity, it is all too easy to capitulate to twisted expectations. And as victims turn perpetrators, Deerfield girls, generation after generation, continue to enforce Deerfield propaganda. A few years ago, a DA Twitter account denounced all Deerfield girls who didn’t wear Hunter rain boots. It may have been a parody of the social structure here, but it unabashedly reveals the harsh way Deerfield females judge other females.
The materialism at Deerfield is out of control; I myself have fallen victim to it before. During my sophomore year, I embodied what Deerfield wanted me to be. I wore my Barbour, my Hunters, Jack Rogers, and pearl earrings. I understood this to be the ideal of Deerfield femininity. If I felt that something was missing, I came to the immediate conclusion that the void could be filled with a material item I didn’t have. I found a false sense of happiness by giving into the pressure of how others around me wanted me to be. I finally grew out of it junior year, and I can only hope that others do too. As the years have worn on, it has been incredibly satisfying to finally witness girls being individuals. I am proud of my peers in the senior class because I seen them, over time, gain the courage to stand against the stereotype of the Deerfield girl.
To the women of 2014—this has been the first year that I have seen individuality celebrated in the female culture, and I praise you all.
To the younger women of Deerfield—don’t let the pressures of Deerfield keep you from presenting yourself the way you want to the world. Being an individual, not one of the many, is empowering. Long story short: be weird.