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Reporting from Barbieland

Lilly Coggin
8th grader Luciana Szatkowski leads the Barbie parade for St. Mary’s annual Constitution Day chapel.

At the climax of Greta Gerwig’s recent film “Barbie,” the character Gloria delivers a striking monologue about the difficulties a modern woman has to endure to fit the expectations of a patriarchal society. 

“I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us,” she says. 

I understood what Gloria was ranting about. I’ve felt those feelings.

But I’ve found a safe haven away from all of that. 

How? I attend an all-girls school. 

St. Mary’s is Barbieland, and we are Barbies. 

In the film, Barbie lives in a female-empowering world called “Barbieland” until she journeys to the Real World, where she is exposed to the idea of patriarchy. It shocks Barbie that real women do not live in a female-centered world, but a world where women are frequently treated as subordinate. Barbie has a hard time grappling with the truth that in reality, women are not given the same treatment as men. 

I think that if Barbie could visit St. Mary’s, she’d feel right at home in our girl-centered environment. 

At SMS, women are put in positions of authority. We have a female head of the upper school, middle school and lower school. Our student leaders are girls. Girls are the strongest athletes and best math students, the award-winners that everyone looks up to. Here we are given the space to succeed and pursue all of our interests no matter the subject. We can be Lawyer Barbie, Doctor Barbie, President Barbie and Engineer Barbie. 

The environment created by an all-girls community is safe, empowering, and nurturing. Girls can come to school bare-faced, with no pressure to wear makeup or dress a certain way. No one is telling you that you cannot do something or win something simply because you are a woman, and you never have to wonder if you were discredited because of your gender. 

Just like Barbie, we are free of sexist societal expectations as we step foot on campus. 

But not all schools are like ours. 

 According to the CDC, three in five teen girls in the U.S. struggle with poor mental health. Many girls experience feelings of prolonged sadness and hopelessness.

St. Mary’s has the resources specifically to support girls through these issues, and an environment that limits some of the pressures that can produce these feelings. 

In fact, a study performed at Sogang University, Seoul suggests that an all-girls education is beneficial to our mental states and “has significant positive effects on mental health outcomes, especially for girls”

Growing up in public school, I felt pressure from the adults around me at a very young age. At eight years old, there were dress codes in place that labeled my body as a distraction to boys, and I often saw boys’ sports taking priority over their female counterparts.

As I got older, I felt like I had to always look presentable and even impressive because that was what was expected of me by what seemed like the whole world. Movies, magazines and social media all told me how to look and how to act, and none of it celebrated who I was.

But I don’t feel that way here. And until the whole world becomes Barbieland, I will enjoy every last minute I get to spend at St. Mary’s. 

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About the Contributors
Stella Pitzer
Stella Pitzer, Reporter
Stella Pitzer is a sophomore who is so excited to experience her first year as a reporter on Tatler. She can not wait to have the space and time to write and learn more about journalism throughout the year. Stella has always been interested in writing and English. This year, she wants to focus on learning a new style of writing. Although most can not stick with it, Stella is a dedicated journalist who likes keeping diaries and journaling about her experiences as a person who loves to make new friends. She also enjoys playing games with her family, for instance, when she was younger, they played a creation of their own: Lucky and Spatz. Stella is a passionate soccer star, reader, Swifty, iced coffee fan, crochetist, and loves CVS. She spent part of her summer with her family in the mountains enjoying the time to rest and prepare for the year ahead. Eager and inspired, Stella can not wait to tackle this year and write amazing new articles for Tatler!
Lilly Coggin
Lilly Coggin, Artist/Reporter
An imaginative master of the arts, sophomore Lilly Coggin is excited to contribute to the artist's guild of Tatler. She sees her role on Tatler as a way to express her creativity and as an impactful way to contribute to social commentary through art. When she's not drawing, she enjoys playing guitar, participating in St. Mary’s theater productions and crocheting clothes. She is currently working on a pink and white patchwork cardigan. Later in her life, Lilly would like to have a black and white tuxedo cat named Charles Dickens (Mr. Dickens for short) and pursue a career in architecture. She is looking forward to an inspiring and memorable first year on Tatler.

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