Just before coming to Deerfield for my ninth-grade year, I purchased a pair of Hunter boots. I didn’t give it a lot of thought; I just needed a new pair of rain boots. It wasn’t until I got home and my brother Teddy ’13 told me that owning these boots “officially made me a Deerfield Girl” that I thought twice about my new purchase.
I never really considered how this experience might have impacted my perception of who I would be as a Deerfield student, but after reading Kay Lazar’s recent article in the Boston Globe denouncing Deerfield as “a toxic place for girls,” I was inspired to take a moment and reflect on how the stereotype of a “Deerfield Girl” has changed in recent years.
The “Deerfield Girl” that I believe in is not the same one that stands as a statue in the Boyden Library, but rather resembles the hundreds of girls who have walked the halls of Deerfield and felt like they could fit in only by adhering to a certain stereotype. In the past, this stereotype revolved largely around material items and clothing.
When I asked Teddy what a “Deerfield Girl” looked like when he was a student here, he said it was a lot about appearance for his female classmates. “There were some things that were staple items of girls at Deerfield… they all had a Longchamp bag that was used as a backpack, and they always wore Hunter boots,” he said.
My other brother, Connor, graduated from Deerfield in 2015. Connor and Teddy overlapped for two years, but Connor painted a different version of a “Deerfield Girl.” His “Deerfield Girl” wore UGGs, a Barbour jacket, and Bean boots.
While both of my brothers commented on the materialistic standard among the female student body in their time here, they were never girls at Deerfield. They simply observed what appeared to be a unified standard among their classmates.
But much has changed in the years since their graduations.
Today, I don’t see the “Deerfield Girl” as defined by a materialistic stereotype. Though we often comment on Canada Goose jackets, Lululemon leggings, and Golden Goose sneakers, today’s “Deerfield Girl” is defined by her character.
I see my own vision of a “Deerfield Girl” in my best friend, Bailey Cheetham. She is a Deerfield girl because she embodies everything that Deerfield values: She is kind, compassionate, hardworking, and she is the most generous person I know.
Personally, I can’t imagine applying one stereotype to the female student body at Deerfield.
We are all different, and we have different strengths. It took me a long time to find my place within this community and learn that the only standard I had to live up to was my own.