Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

A female headliner would have been a better choice for Colonials Weekend

Talia Balakirsky, a sophomore majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

For at least eight years, GW hasn’t selected a female performer to headline Colonials Weekend. Robin Williams headlined in 2008, and was followed by Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, Bill Maher, Train, The Fray, and Seth Meyers.

Last week, the University announced that Stewart will return to campus to perform at Colonials Weekend for the second time.

Although it’s exciting to have someone like Stewart on campus, GW should have recognized that it’s time for a change. Instead of choosing a repeat performer, the University should have sought out a female act this year.

The concept of gender equality is not lost on GW. From creating gender-neutral housing, to promising to create gender-neutral bathrooms in any newly-constructed buildings, to holding its Women’s Leadership Program for freshman women every year, GW has added itself to the list of universities that advocate for gender and identity equality.

The University tries to represent a diverse student body and encourages openness and equality. But selecting all-male performers for so long tells a different story.

Of course, we don’t know about all of the options GW considered this year. Some of them definitely could have been women. Plus, the University chose Kerry Washington to speak at Commencement two years ago, which is arguably the most prominent event of the year.

But the lack of female headliners at a signature event on campus for parents is still a problem.

Colonials Weekend brings thousands of families to GW. Sure, those few days are jam-packed with many events that cater to students and parents alike, and the final performer is just one event. But aside from the opportunity to see their families, the performer is usually what students get most excited about. And for parents that come to GW year after year for Colonials Weekend, they’re probably looking for something new and fresh.

And it isn’t like there’s a shortage of female performers out there: Amy Poehler, Jessica Williams, Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, Wanda Sykes and many others have risen to prominence in the comedic world.

It would have been a great year for the University to become a part of national conversations about feminism and women’s rights – to show both students and parents that a female performer is just as valuable as a male performer.

Colonials Weekend is a chance for families to experience GW and get a taste of the speakers that come to campus. But when it comes to diversity, the past eight years of performances haven’t been that exciting.

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