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Columnist Sarah Poyer discusses the impact of positive and negative comment sections on herself and other writers. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I was very nervous when I started writing for the Daily. I knew I would be writing about some controversial topics and was going to ruffle some feathers. I won’t say that was my goal or if it wasn’t. I will tell you that I wanted to share how wonderful my experience in the women's and gender studies (WGS) department here at Iowa State has been and what I have learned.

I can bet that many who have read my columns had not heard of pink tax or the taxation of tampons or maybe even mansplaining before reading. I hope that my columns inspire you to learn more about the world around you and see how gender impacts your daily life even in ways that you wouldn’t consider it has or does.

I have heard about every joke in the book regarding being a WGS major, ranging from everyone who has heard that it is my major. “What kind of major is that?” “How is that even helpful?” “What a waste.” OK, so you have your opinions, that’s fine; I won’t object to that. But what I will object to is the reaction; WGS is something I am passionate about — as you have previously heard from me in my column. I have also received many comments regarding my columns.

Like I said, I was beyond nervous when starting to write. Seriously. Ask Peyton; she can tell you how many conversations we had to have about this. I was worried that I would receive many negative comments I could not handle and it would throw me off. Well, let’s just say the opposite has happened. I have received plenty of feedback from multiple people on many of my columns. Not all of the feedback has been horrible, which I am incredibly grateful for.

Some of the feedback has been really great. It has given me ideas for other writing projects and helped me do research. I appreciate both kinds of feedback though, because that not-so-nice feedback also propels me to keep working. As you’ll read later, being a WGS major means I catch a lot of flack, but that is OK with me. I am in a position where I can share meaningful information from my classes with others. Which, of course, means I am going to see some doubt, but I really don’t mind it.

Let’s start with some of the good feedback. I have received some really fantastic feedback from professors (you know who you are) this semester. That has been really encouraging. Other great feedback has come from social media; the Daily has Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Columns get published on these social media platforms, which is lovely and gives more people the opportunity to see the hard work done by the Iowa State Daily staff. At the same time, they can all be breeding grounds for negativity; but I have also seen some really fantastic feedback come from them. Thank you to those people!

Now, let’s tackle the not-so-nice comments I have seen. Facebook has done an outstanding job at being a supplier of these; wow. I have seen everything from “Liberals are vermin scum” to some other not-so-nice things. Facebook is not a place where I expect wonderful, groundbreaking discussions to be had, so I am not entirely surprised by not receiving love here.

What shocks me is that people seem to forget I am a person and I am writing about topics near and dear to my heart. The negative comments I receive don’t normally upset me. I read them and get a chuckle, then I move on with my day. Other people reading them are not in that position, so I urge you to be kinder when debating in comment sections. And in all comment sections, not just mine.

Sarah Poyer profile pic

Columnist Sarah Poyer is a senior in women's and gender studies with minors in philosophy and biology. 

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Editorials are longer opinion pieces that are written by a group of community members recruited across campus who address relevant issues on a local, national and international level. Editorials are research-based. The purpose of the Editorial Board is to promote discussion concerning relevant issues in the community while advising on possible solutions. Topics are chosen via relevancy and interests of the members, which are then discussed by the Editorial Board in order to reach a general consensus concerning the topic or issue.

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(3) comments

Facts and Logic

This is a completely honest question here, no sarcasm at all - what careers is your major qualifying you for? Again, I am completely serious here - I have literally never heard of a job where a WGS major is required or even preferred. I'd actually really appreciate an answer to this...

Seymour Trout

WGS prepares you to take jobs in all those WGS factories they are building across America, supplying barrels of WGS to HR departments, which force employees to eat it. It tastes something like milk of magnesia.

Even if you can’t snag one of those jobs, WGS plays to women’s inclinations to complain about men, about being a woman, and how the world is against them. Experts say that WGS graduates are 213% louder and screechier in these valuable social justice skills. So, there’s that.

But, really, what do women need a real education for? They are here for their Mrs degree. In that regard, WGS is the modern equivalent of the old Home Economics BS degree, except that women learned how to cook in that, which is a useful skill. The new WGS degree teaches you how to divorce your oppressive patriarchal husband and collect half his income for life so you can live in a geodesic dome full of cats in a lesbian collective, raise your kids to be one of the 112 genders, and complain about men every night around the fire pit.

Amongus Fan

maybe if yous guys wrote better stuff people wouldnt be so made :PPP amongus

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