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Writer of 'How to find that perfect husband in college' reveals true nature of column - The Red and Black : Opinion

Writer of 'How to find that perfect husband in college' reveals true nature of column

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Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 7:15 am | Updated: 8:13 pm, Thu Nov 7, 2013.

To all who do not understand satire:

I do not actually endorse women attending school to obtain an MRS degree.

I do not believe that women are in any way academically inferior to men.

And I certainly do not plan on naming my child Junior or Georgia Ann.

Yes, if you haven’t inferred already, my article “How to find that perfect husband in college,” was satirical. For the countless number who seems to have skipped ninth grade literature, satire pokes fun at a certain type of behavior while addressing a larger social issue.

As I was writing this piece, I expected that people would instantly identify it as satire. Judging by the influx of nasty emails, comments, and social media messages, I was sorely mistaken.

This unexpected reaction proves this issue is that much more prevalent. If the subject weren’t a sensitive one, it never would have generated such attention.

Historically, women have had to fight to be taken seriously in the classroom. Men have been seen as the intellectuals that major in medicine and science. Women have been seen as the bimbos that major in flower arranging and cookie cutting. Although significant strides have been taken toward acknowledging women as academic equals, the battle is far from over.

While the majority of women prove themselves as smart, capable individuals, a few continue to halt progress with their shameful behavior. As described in the column, there are women who believe that their sole purpose in life is to find a husband. They view their future not through their own personal lenses, but by how it will look after wedding vows. This lack of independence and self-respect threatens to invalidate growth of women in academia.

Some derived their incorrect conclusion about my intentions from my membership in a sorority. Because of my affiliation, I have gained friends, support and an experience that has made me a better person.

However, I have also gained something else. I have gained a target on my back for people to wrongfully label me as unintelligent.

My sorority, like most Greek organizations, holds high educational ideals. Members are rewarded for good grades and reprimanded for any slack in studies.

We are an intellectual, determined group. Those who think otherwise have obviously spent more time passing blind judgments than having a conversation with any girl who resides on Milledge Avenue. It’s baffling how those so outraged at the alleged shallowness of my article can be the same people labeling me because of the letters on my shirt.

I am a pre-Grady student who spends far more time reading than partying. I have a 3.9 GPA. And when I have a test any time in the upcoming week, you can find me in the MLC isolated with a textbook and a large coffee.

Needless to say, I put great value on education. To those of you who went out of your way to harass me behind a fake Internet username, congratulations. It takes a lot of bravado to anonymously cyber-bully a 19-year-old girl (That was sarcasm, in case some of you are still slow to detect it).

Please, take a deep breath and a joke. Just because I didn’t prelude the piece with “Warning: this is satire” in bold letters doesn’t mean the article was meant to be taken literally. Reading between the lines is a useful skill, one my current irate Internet mob seems to be lacking.

I’m fortunate enough to have the ability to laugh off the viral ridicule, but this issue is not one that can be carelessly chuckled away. Now that the colossal mystery of my intentions has hopefully been solved, maybe people can finally move on and start to focus on the bigger issues raised in the piece instead.

Stay focused, keep your eye on the academic prize, and go get that (non-MRS) degree.

Amber Estes

P.S. Be on the lookout for my next column, How to trap a man by saying you’re pregnant.

(Just kidding).

— Amber Estes is a sophomore from Athens majoring in public relations

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  • JoN posted at 9:32 pm on Sun, Mar 31, 2013.

    JoN Posts: 1

    Amber, I loved both of your articles. You are a very good writer and I hope you keep it up and become a great writer. You hit a very sensitive nerve with your first article, because you unwittingly exposed a real truth of what is and has been happening for the last 40 years or more. "The lady doth protest too much, methinks," could apply here to all of the women protesting so loudly, but trust me; men are looking for wives, too. They want a well educated woman who can take some of the financial burden off of them. That's a plan that's gonna back fire on someone.

  • Bex posted at 5:11 pm on Sat, Oct 27, 2012.

    Bex Posts: 1


    ‎"Because whether you're a woman or a man, the "right" way to behave is to make good decisions for yourself that aren't based in someone else's perceived stereotype about you, or in the countering fear of being branded as such a type. "

  • BrianJewell posted at 3:32 pm on Mon, Oct 15, 2012.

    BrianJewell Posts: 1

    Amber, your piece was brilliant. The problem is that our generation fails to understand subtlety.

  • ClaraG posted at 12:21 pm on Thu, Aug 23, 2012.

    ClaraG Posts: 1

    So when is this trap a man article coming out?

    In sincerity I just want to commend you on your attitude and behavior despite the wild circumstances that have been created as a result of your writing. You've started quite a whirlwind and I think your writing can only improve from here. Congratulations on creating such a firestorm I cannot wait to see what you come up with next. I'm sure any PR firm will be interested in what you do next.

  • SheenChange posted at 2:55 pm on Sun, Jul 29, 2012.

    SheenChange Posts: 7

    The world is a tough place; this chick must have it rough. It would be a lot easier to take it as satire if she weren't in a sorority.

    Her reference to "having a conversation with any girl on milledge avenue" is pretty demeaning, since she seemed to be implying that all the women on that street are exactly like her. It's also a lot harder than it sounds, and I'm sure everyone is better off if we just keep the forced friendships to a minimum. (and Greek women have a hard enough time talking to nongreek men, so I can't imagine how excruciating taking to a nongreek woman stranger must be for them).

    Surprisingly, having a 3.9 at UGA does not redeem her poor writing and that information was completely irrelevant to the issue at hand. I'm appalled that her editor allowed her to include that.

    Overall, I guess I'm both disgusted and amused by this tantrumatic pair of articles.

    5/10, would read an article by Ms Estes again.

  • ExiledToPeachtreeCity posted at 12:16 pm on Sat, Jul 28, 2012.

    ExiledToPeachtreeCity Posts: 2

    @ gradyuga21:

    While Estes is ultimately accountable for her own writing, I think that the comments implying that she is young and inexperienced, and therefore not equipped to appropriately comment on a socially relevant topic are misguided. Implying that it's a fail because it was lost on some folks is just wrong. Sometimes the satirical element isn't immediately revealed. Just look at Epicscopal Church Bulletins if you want an example.

    The image of the icy-cold, calculating southern lady who, despite her innate grace and elegance, can expertly behead anyone who crosses her, who guards her home and family with a fierce aversion to tackiness, is more than a stereotype.

    It's an archetype.

    She hit the nail on the head when she wrote the original piece. The cheerfully horrid tone of the the article, and terms like 'Mrs. Dr. Perfect,' are familiar enough to us resonate, and I found it outrageously funny and insightful.

    The more troubling element is the notion that 'the writer is at fault if the public fails to grasp the piece, so if it was satirical, she should have gone more overboard.'

    That would not have worked. Flannery O'Connor characterized the greatest danger on earth as an angered 'southern lady, expertly schooled in the deadly art of subtle malevolence'

    If she'd written the work from the POV of some outrageously over-the-top Yankee harlot, it would lack the subtlety that is characteristic of both well-crafted satire, and especially dangerous southern gentility.

    The burden of understanding is always on the reader. To castigate the author for not making her satirical elements more obvious isn't stupid or contemptible, but it is unwarranted. That attitude certainly explains why we have 'Twilight' and a 'Young Adult' section at the bookstore. People tend to be able to handle it better if they are addressed by someone who overestimates, rather than low-balling, their IQ.

    Nothing garners more outrage that finding out you have lambasted an op-ed, only to discover that it came from The Onion.

  • klarmee posted at 10:41 pm on Fri, Jul 27, 2012.

    klarmee Posts: 1

    gradyuga21 is right. It came off as real because you didn't go far enough. Heed his/her advice and look at your writing, but keep writing.

  • gradyuga21 posted at 11:03 am on Fri, Jul 27, 2012.

    gradyuga21 Posts: 1

    the problem was never the topic. it's not because it's a sensitive subject, it's because you are young and inexperienced. the satire was not satirical enough, you have to go all or nothing and you didn't. i'm glad you got to write a piece to explain yourself and people should not have said such horrible things, but don't insult your audience. as a writer if the audience doesn't understand that's on you. i thought the article was funny and this was a cute follow up but the point is that it wasn't well written. you're only a sophomore you have 2 more years to learn and grow and take this as an opportunity to learn from the criticism! keep on writing, but be humble. an arrogant writer was never well liked.

  • Courtney posted at 3:35 pm on Thu, Jul 26, 2012.

    Courtney Posts: 1

    Amber, I wanted to read all of the comments before I posted, so I could identify with why others were so outraged with your article. First, I loved it. While I would agree there were some minor errors (your 19? You have to learn somewhere) I thought it was very funny and true. I went to school at a private university in the North and my roommate (and good friend) was searching for that ring and eventually ended up failing out because she was not focused on her studies. You brought attention to what I believe is a serious problem for college women. For those who attacked you for your major, I find them completely ignorant and judgmental. (something I believe they blamed you for being) I am a highly intelligent woman and graduated with a bachelors in the Arts. I ran an education department for a national non-profit for 4 years and not once did someone comment on my degree. Am I smart enough to be a doctor or lawyer? YES. Is that what I wanted to do? NO. I believe you were very brave for writing an article that you knew would be controversial. (The catholic university I attended would have probably censored it) Do not allow these comments to discourage your writing, you can only grow as a student and/or professional by continuing to do what you love.

  • lea posted at 6:33 pm on Sun, Jul 22, 2012.

    lea Posts: 1

    This was a very funny piece! I found it through an angry post on facebook and was very confused as to why the girl was upset when I finished reading the article. I think a lot of women realized it was satire, but were upset because they were called out. Historically the South has expected women to go to college and come home with a husband. Ask any college grad over the age of 40. It was true, and still is true to some extent today even if we don't want to admit to it.

  • cgrace posted at 10:02 am on Sat, Jul 21, 2012.

    cgrace Posts: 1

    I found out about your article through a link from Jezebel, and I have to say that I thought your original article was hilarious! As a woman in academia who has been out of college almost a decade, your article rings true to some of my own experiences. Also, your piece is so much better than the Jezebel article, which I found to be boring and over-the-top. Well done!

  • BooRadley65 posted at 9:53 am on Sat, Jul 21, 2012.

    BooRadley65 Posts: 1

    Ms Estes,

    Bravo! Your original column would make Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift high five, while weeping from their laughter. I can't even believe you felt compelled, or your editor felt compelled, to make you write another column explaining the first one.

    You owe no explanations. I truly hope you win an award for your column. If those being schooled at UGA, either with mommy and daddy's money, grants, etc., are so dim-witted that they can't realize satire when they read it, we have much to fear from this generation of future leaders.

    Good luck at UGA, and I look forward to reading great things from you in the future. If you are only a sophomore and you are writing at this level, you have a brilliant career ahead of you.


  • Mooncake posted at 11:09 pm on Fri, Jul 20, 2012.

    Mooncake Posts: 1

    Satire does go over some people's very literal heads, it's true, but if your satire mimics the thing you are satirising too closely, then it's going to be taken as real. The art of satire is exaggeration. And also, humour. This piece just wasn't amusing. There was no wit. It was just a faithful mimicry of "The Rules" or similar. And your response here is arrogant and condescending.

  • awbagley posted at 3:06 pm on Fri, Jul 20, 2012.

    awbagley Posts: 1

    I just wanted to say that the original column was absolutely hilarious, spot-on satire and this well-articulated retort was the perfect response to the slow news day media firestorm that ensued.

    Kudos to you for keeping a cool head about this. Your treatment of the overall situation has actually improved this hipster's perception of fratties (if you'll pardon the epithet).

  • Critical Thinker posted at 5:14 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    Critical Thinker Posts: 1

    Oh, Amber. Of course the women (and men) that don't have the capacity to undertake intellectually challenging classes or compete in the STEM classes on any measurable objective basis other than their looks don't major in Cookie Cutting or Flower Arranging. Those majors don't exist. The bimbos are all in the soft liberal arts classes like Public Relatiins and Pre-Grady. For someone who thinks she is smart, you are in a creampuff major. And for a writer, you aren't very good. Perhaps a stint at the Derek Zoolander Academy is in order.

    But don't worry, all the bimbo boys that cannot cut the hard majors will still ask you out at the socials in the fall. If you are smart, you will take your own advice and say yes only to the smart guys pursuing the real degrees. Your gender and appeal to them is your only hope for a life that will allow you to enroll your daughters in a soriority.

    The smart girls are also in the hard majors, reaping the benefits of the feminist movement by understanding that things have changed. In the '50's, smart women and not so smart women were treated as decorations. Now, smart women are treated as smart women, and the ones that are not smart (but still pretty!!!) are the female decorations on campus. Just don't marry a male decoration. Unless you, like Dean Wormer, believe that the world needs ditch diggers, too.

  • jaxwhit posted at 4:35 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    jaxwhit Posts: 2

    One more thing, as an extremely liberal feminist, I would never, EVER put down my fellow sisters who want to stay home and raise a family. Taking to task another woman's choices, most especially in such a public forum, is a low blow to women and doesn't at all support very gender inequality you say you are fighting against. You are part of the problem when you judge another woman's choices like you've done. There is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to stay home and raise a family.

  • jaxwhit posted at 3:53 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    jaxwhit Posts: 2

    It's absolutely incredible how this very young woman can start this article hurling insults and expect to garner any respect. Her attempt at satire was feeble, and, more than likely, not satire, but so poorly written that she can now try to pass it off as satire. (not that satire is poor writing, oh no, only that her thoughts on the subject are so outdated, they can be seen as humorous to some, and therefore, she can pretend it's satire). Let's just give her the benefit of the doubt, and go with her now-assertation that she was all jokey and stuff. Hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands of people didn't see the satire, so maybe it's time to stop insulting everyone saying they didn't pass 9th grade English, and tell yourself, "Maybe my writing isn't as top drawer as I thought it was".

    I get that the author wants to be seen as highly educated and forward thinking, but even this article disproves that theory of herself. Peppering an article with ridicule and insults toward your readership "(....sarcasm, in case some of you are still slow.....)" and even ending with "maybe people can finally move on....." is not the way to prove your seriousness on the issues of gender inequality.

    I am educated, older than you, and have been fighting the fight for gender equality much longer than you've been alive. I'm also a writer. I didn't see your satire. I saw a lot, but satire, no. Yet in your mature wisdom (sarcasm) you would label me with the following phrase, "Reading between the lines is a useful skill, one my current irate Internet mob seems to be lacking." (tho I did not comment or respond in any way to your original article, so I'm not part of the mob, but there were no lines to read between).

    Stop insulting your readership. It's immature, hostile and inflammatory, and you'll never ever get the respect and understanding you're looking for. If you really want to get your education and shine a light on gender inequality, then good for you, but this kind of writing, both the original piece and your explanation piece is absolutely not the road to take.

  • satiremaster posted at 1:58 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    satiremaster Posts: 1

    I somehow can't shake the feeling that you felt compelled to write this to pretend like the original piece was so negatively received to seemingly come out on top of everyone at the end. Much like what other people claimed, it isn't quite satire if you have to explain it, just like how most times if you have to explain a joke, it's not funny anymore.

    I would have been fine with the first half of your article, but the fact that you went on the defensive about your affiliation with the Greek system and had to resort to the oh so tired beating the stereotypes started making me feel like this was written to pretend like you knew what you were doing from the get go before going on a personal defense and explanation of yourself. I know this strategy really well, I was a Greek in college and I hated how everyone felt the need to justify their personal decision to everyone else. There will always be detractors, you just have to accept that not everyone will embrace your choices.

    If what you say is true, and I would like to give you the benefit of doubt, then we should all be looking forward to more (and hopefully better) satirical pieces that will hit hard on the myriad of social issues of our times and engage all of us in a lively discussion. I have a feeling that won't be the case.

    In case that ends up being the case, this is an example of good satire, it's pretty obvious it's satire, doesn't need a disclaimer or a follow up and is actually very funny, regardless of political affiliation. I strongly encourage you to study this and learn from it. (www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2012/07/bachmann-claims-white-house-has-links-to-extremist-group-called-democrats.html)

  • arenee posted at 10:21 am on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    arenee Posts: 1

    If a few people don't understand your article, then yeah, they might not understand satire. But if most people don't understand your article, then maybe time to start thinking about who really doesn't understand satire - you.

    I recognized the satire in the first article, but I thought it was particularly bad.It did offend me, but not in the way you may think - I'm offended by the butchery of "satire" that you obviously thought was so clever.

  • KatieSmith posted at 11:35 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    KatieSmith Posts: 2

    Also, those of you who have animosity towards the Greek system far beyond your graduation from UGA (if you graduated at all), show major social maladjustment. You may want to talk to someone about your issues with jealousy regarding social groupings.

  • KatieSmith posted at 11:33 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    KatieSmith Posts: 2

    Amber, I think this is an extremely well thought out and articulate response. Kudos to you for not only causing controversy, but also trolling angry feminists and self righteous faux literary critics all over the internet. I have genuinely enjoyed snuggling up to my completely worthless English degree and reading their uninformed pontification over the past few weeks.

    To the rest of you, how can you compare the writing of a college student who is developing her skill early in her career to Jonathan Swift, a writer who in his time was responsible for helping to define the meaning of satirical writing? That would be like someone finding your high school notebook full of angsty poetry and judging you against Wordsworth or Donne. Also, when did labels become a requirement to facilitate readers' understanding of a piece? Would you prefer it if every columnist who writes an editorial outlines their views on the subject matter in bullet points before you get to the meat of what they're saying in the article itself? I think that takes the fun out of reading and interpreting others' opinions, no?

    Here is an article that appears in a literary quarterly run by more contemporary, but well known, authors. It is one of a series of columns written about Greek life at Ole Miss. The columnist is a freshman, and her point of view is unrefined, immature, and even crude at times. But it expresses the same sentiment: that as silly as it may seem, the practice of finding a husband in college is a widely discussed and thought about occurrence, especially at more conservative southern colleges. Right or wrong, it's now a lot of our mothers met our fathers, and a lot of what we girls chat about when we get together for girl talk. Do you find this column as incendiary as Amber's? Why/why not?


  • ian posted at 6:53 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    ian Posts: 1

    There are a lot of supportive comments on here, but probably you are misinterpreting them, they are actually satire.

  • amr posted at 6:12 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    amr Posts: 1

    Well, bless your poor, well-intentioned heart, Amber. Look - the problem was not that people didn't understand that it was satire. There were actually two problems: 1 - It was not nearly as well articulated as what you've written here, meaning it wasn't clear that it was satire (http://jezebel.com/5925955/forget-what-youve-heard-heres-the-real-way-to-find-that-perfect-husband-in-college); 2 - even satire should have some sort of purpose. For example, Swift's "Modest Proposal" sought to enlighten readers about their lack of empathy toward the poor. Your article seemed to do nothing more than poke fun at a group of people who might deserve it, but it didn't offer any reason WHY they deserve it. WHY do they deserve it? I'll provide one good example. There are plenty of students, possibly first-generation, low-income high school students, who get wait-listed for schools like UGA, even though they have high GPAs and great SAT scores. Instead, people with lesser qualifications but richer parents, possibly legacy students, are readily accepted. When those more readily accepted students take the place of more deserving students who would actually go the campus to LEARN, it makes no sense. Why do girls who aren't going to college to LEARN and actually DO SOMETHING TO BETTER THE WORLD with their degrees even need to be in school in the first place? If you wanted to give your satire some meaning, you'd have incorporated something like that into the discussion somewhere. Allow readers to see WHY it's such a bad thing for this problem to be so prevalent on our campuses, especially our campuses in the South, today. I appreciate what you were trying to do, but understand that the backlash is because you didn't deliver on the level you needed to deliver, and this topic is too important not to deliver with every tool in your writer's arsenal. It sucks to be your age and to have gotten so much negative attention, but look at the positive - you got national attention. And go get 'em next time! I think you've got it in you - just keep rewriting until you create magic with your words. [smile][smile]

  • fadedlyric posted at 5:45 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    fadedlyric Posts: 1

    Pro tip: If more than a handful of readers are confused as to whether or not your column is satire, you're probably not very good at writing satire.

  • siofrarobinson posted at 5:39 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    siofrarobinson Posts: 1

    Dear Amber,

    I admire the intent of your original article and I think it's a fantastic thing that you called attention to the issue of women and higher education.

    I was, however, confused as to whether it was satire or not. I don't know you personally, and most of the people who have read your article don't either. I know exactly what satire is, but I also know that there ARE people who genuinely believe a lot of the things that you poked fun at in your article. How was your readership supposed to know that you were not, in fact, among them?

    Instead of taking it personally and responding with slights to your readers' own intelligence (yes, most of us took ninth grade literature; yes, we are capable of "reading between the lines"), I urge you to take a look at what all this outcry really means.

    The fact that many of your readers missed the point is an indicator of a much larger problem. It's an indicator of the prevalence of the mentality that you are satirizing. If we ourselves didn't know people who would agree with every word of your original column, we wouldn't have taken it seriously. I don't doubt that if I were to meet you in person, I would know immediately that the article was a joke. You seem like a smart, hardworking girl with a good head on her shoulders. But there are many girls who don't see things the way you do.

    Writing your piece was a great move on your part. You got people talking and thinking, which is the point of satire. But now that people are talking, instead of insulting us, you should realize that the problem is much more deeply entrenched than you may have thought. Yes, that's discouraging, but I think it should be spurring you to action, not anger. The reaction to your article should not be taken as an insult to you as a person, but an outcry against people who genuinely believe that a woman's only purpose in school is to find a husband. Any hate mail you got was probably from people who ACTUALLY AGREE with your original stance.

    I would also like to say that I don't believe that there's anything wrong with a woman whose life's biggest dream is to be a wife and mother, any more than there is something wrong with a man who wants to be a husband and father more than anything else.

    I wish you the best with your future writing!

  • fearNflow posted at 4:03 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    fearNflow Posts: 1

    Nicely done. I honestly wasn't sure whether it was satire, and I absolutely loved that. Reminded me of "A Modest Proposal". I'd say you should be proud so many of us misinterpreted it. It's a great achievement to write that dryly.

  • irish posted at 3:48 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    irish Posts: 1

    Ah, the arrogance of youth! Let me say here that I'm a card carrying feminist. A true feminist, however, does not condemn those sisters who want to stay home and raise a family. Grow up and try to look and the world from more than just your experience.

  • Christie Hanson posted at 3:07 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    Christie Hanson Posts: 1

    It was lacking in many ways...you received attention for it so WTG...stop complaining about it and be appreciative even if it is negative commentary at least people are reading and talking about it. I didn't think it was very well written but I still read it and discussed!

  • LSM85 posted at 3:04 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    LSM85 Posts: 1

    I thought the original article was hilarious! I went to a small private university in the South. The jokes on campus were "Ring by Spring" & getting your "Mrs Degree". Great article! Its sad that some people had to take it a little to seriously. Keep Writing.

  • upnort posted at 2:32 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    upnort Posts: 1

    Good for you. I thought the original was funny, and the response appropriate. Now that you have everyone's attention I hope you do shine some more light on the issues you have raised.

  • ga1991 posted at 12:36 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    ga1991 Posts: 1

    I laughed through every sentence of your article, which was easy since it was written shockingly well. Both of my parents are writers so I appreciate a good read, especially one as sarcastic and debatable as this. I'm also in college (not at UGA) pursuing a demanding degree, and I have the idea of finding my husband here in the back of my mind, unavoidably so thanks to my school's well-known ratio. So I'd say there's a little truth to your article (emphasis on the word "little"), and I agree with all of it. I know at least those of us who read the TFM website completely understand your paralleling sarcasm and thoroughly enjoyed every word.

    I just wanted to say congrats. I don't know you, but I'm excited for what could happen with your future after your nationally-debated article. It pays to be daring [smile]

  • Shanell posted at 11:04 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    Shanell Posts: 2

    Would actually love to read your article "How to trap a man by saying you're pregnant."

  • Shanell posted at 11:02 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    Shanell Posts: 2

    Awesome writing.

  • amypld posted at 9:59 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    amypld Posts: 1

    impressive writing Amber, you have a way with words and should double major and actively pursue a career in journalism

  • dawgalumna posted at 9:06 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    dawgalumna Posts: 1

    I kind of thought this was satire when I read it, but I wasn't totally sure, which is what I enjoyed about it.

  • retiredspousewithremote posted at 8:52 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    retiredspousewithremote Posts: 1

    Amber, I would like to shake your hand. You show excellent insight and write very well. Good job.

  • Educated Monkey posted at 8:39 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    Educated Monkey Posts: 1

    Amber - don't let the local nabobs get on your case. This was a great article of satire, which anyone with a 6th grade education should recognize. And to those who think it wasn't satiric enough - she did a great job of walking the line. Today, too many supposedly great satirists have no idea where to stop. Amber - keep up the good work!

  • buckeye posted at 2:38 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    buckeye Posts: 1

    I believe this was an effectively written article. The part where you insulted your audience's intelligence was spot on.

    ^^ That is a satirical comment.

    In all seriousness though, I felt you simply laid the sarcasm on too thick in some areas, and too thin in others. There was never a point at which I could confidently say, "OK, now she's just messing around." And that is fine in satire, but some of what you said wasn't that ridiculous.
    I'm a guy at UGA, and I know there are people who follow what you said, whether they will admit to it or not. I am sorry that they create a damaging image for you, but it is wrong to degrade your readers. And to open up the piece with that? What was the point? Do you feel better?

  • SkiBUM posted at 2:07 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    SkiBUM Posts: 1


    Great article, very funny. Most funny comment was; you are only nineteen; must
    have been written by a 20 yr. old (oh, they didn't disclose their hooty-toot major).
    Can't wait for the book to come out. Don't let them put you DOWN. You have
    a great chance of becoming a 1 percenter where no Marxist may go.

  • l0bl0 posted at 12:00 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    l0bl0 Posts: 23

    The problem with your attempt at satire wasn't the audience. Satire goes a step further than "poking fun" at certain behaviors; modern satire takes a flawed line of thinking and follows it to a (usually humorous) conclusion often by exaggeration. As others have pointed out, some of your pieces of "advice" were not exaggerated and are actually used by many young women in healthy relationships.

    It's not satirical of the "MRS degree" to say that you should look for a boyfriend by hanging out outside buildings where business majors have class because that's actually within the realm of reasonable behavior. It would be closer to satirical if you suggested skipping your classes to wait outside Sanford Hall or even changing your major to have classes in those buildings to be closer to future rich men.

    The whole "Step 4" fails as satire because it's advice you can find written in earnest in any women's magazine. It would be more satirical to say that women should insist that their guys follow the classic rules of chivalry and courtship so that men view you as classy and desirable. That would be taking the idea of staying aloof and old-fashioned to a ridiculous extreme to poke fun at the idea.

    If you want a daily dose of satire, The Colbert Report is a great example of well-executed modern satire. He takes the conservative political pundit archetype and exposes the ridiculousness of their commentary by exaggerating and applying it to other situations to illustrate their hypocrisy.

    So drop the condescension and accept that humorous writing may not be your forte.

  • AngelaWrites posted at 8:19 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    AngelaWrites Posts: 1

    Junior and Georgia Ann?! I literally laughed out loud at that.

    I enjoyed reading the column as a professional journalist (with a BA degree, who works at a daily, mid-sized market newspaper, not a blogger [whatever those really are]), a former outspoken collegiate columnist/editorialist, an often-mislabeled member of a sorority and a Georgia native. My best friend is a Terry College student and a few of my high school classmates worked at the R&B, so I've kept up with it during the last few years.

    Fist pumps to you for having the boldness to write something that would undoubtedly fuel some negative feedback. But it's a thought-provoking statement about a serious (and sad) societal staple. Who better to address it than a young woman who sees it every day? There IS something wrong with a woman who feels her sole purpose in life is to be a wife. That's not to say there's anything wrong with marriage -- I adore marriage, without it, many of my friends and relatives and I wouldn't be here -- but there has to be a balance and it's scary to know that some are still stuck in that pre-'50s mentality.

    Anyone who disliked it was probably offended because you described them (or their mom) to the letter, or they simply didn't get the joke.

    Anyway, take some of the advice to help you grow as a writer -- you are young (I'm not much older, but old enough to know that listening to the been-there-done-thats is helpful), you will make mistakes (likely in an irreversible and permanent way because of your position on staff) and you can find a way to write vividly and honestly without being too harsh (minimizing harm, after all is one of the codes of ethics). There's always room to improve, but only if you allow yourself to spread out a little.

    Those PR classes are working well for you, honey. This couldn't have been a better move ;) You're now forever etched in the legacy of the R&B...use that wisely and remember (with tact and class, of course) "Well-behaved women seldom make history."

    (Girl power! ) [wink]

  • Disco_dave posted at 5:54 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Disco_dave Posts: 2

    Let be us real. Nothing this girl wrote isn't true. The reason satire is funny is because it's usually based in some truth. Most girls who go to UGA are a sad reflection of the original article.

    in b4 shitstorm.

  • savvydear posted at 5:34 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    savvydear Posts: 1

    I thought your original column was hilarious! It was CLEARLY satirical. Great job - don't let the haters stop you from doing your thing.

  • Philly posted at 5:20 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Philly Posts: 2

    If a true journalist received the kind of response that you received, they would blame themselves for the confusion, not their readers. So, perhaps it is you - not your audience - that needs a lesson in satire - especially considering you are writing for a college-educated crowd

    But let's focus on your current column. You state, "Although significant strides have been taken toward acknowledging women as academic equals, the battle is far from over." Really? If the battle is far from over, why do women now receive the majority of college degrees - bachelor, masters and doctorates? If there is no "equality" then why do women outnumber men on college campuses?

    I thought the modernist women's movement was to level the playing field in the workplace and to give women options. One of those options includes finding a husband, having kids and becoming a housewife. Just because you may choose a "professional" career, others may choose a different path, so who are you to ridicule or condemn them?

  • m14monroe posted at 5:05 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    m14monroe Posts: 1

    I created an account just to reply. Thank you!!! someone who has a sense of humor. Satire needs no justification or prompt. People will either get it or not, and judging by a lot of these comments people are not too quick to pick up on the message. Now get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich :)

  • coffeemakergirl posted at 3:59 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    coffeemakergirl Posts: 1

    If you have to explain that you "satire" is satirical in fact then you have miserably failed at writing a satire. I know you think you're so smart and sassy at nineteen, trust me, most girls do. You have a long way to go both in your personal and professional lives. It may have seem like a great idea at the time, but the piece was just tasteless and dumb. I wish you success in your future endeavors. May they fill you with wisdom.

  • ophidic posted at 3:52 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    ophidic Posts: 2

    Wait, you're majoring in public relations? The only major you have on you is a major fail.

  • ophidic posted at 3:50 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    ophidic Posts: 2

    Wow, you write a satire piece for a student newspaper and then you have the nerve to be all like; "oh hay guys it was only satire, i'm not really like that."

    You wrote a willfully ignorant article, and then chastise people for believing it? You do realize that satire has it's place and a university newspaper is not that place, unless it is labeled as such.

    If you want to be cute about things, why don't you try writing for the Onion, or some other exclusively satire publication?

  • LadyLawyer posted at 3:43 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    LadyLawyer Posts: 1

    First, if you have to tell everyone it is satire, you are doing it wrong.

    Second, you are nineteen. I get that. I was insufferable at nineteen. Almost everyone is insufferable at nineteen. Because you are just old enough to feel terribly grown but still young enough to pretty much be an asshat most of the time.

    I got that your first piece was satire. Given, it was really bad satire. And it did cross my mind that it wasn't, in all honesty, really 100% satirical. But what really is frustrating to me is your response.

    Here is the deal: not everyone is you. And you, putting down other women for their choices, is more damaging to real feminism than if your article were in fact not satirical.

    The idea that "... a few continue to halt progress with their shameful behavior. As described in the column, there are women who believe that their sole purpose in life is to find a husband. They view their future not through their own personal lenses, but by how it will look after wedding vows. This lack of independence and self-respect threatens to invalidate growth of women in academia." is bullshit.

    What exactly is shameful about a woman who views her purpose as finding a husband? Why is that woman's choice less important or valuable than some other purpose? And how does that really invalidate the growth of women in academia? I think the point you are trying to get at is that societally, women can and are pressured to conform to a certain lifestyle. But that is very - very very very - different than simply judging all or any woman who CHOOSES that lifestyle. And that is true across the board. Yes, I think it is important to push for realistic models and for a world where women aren't expected to dress or act in a certain way. But if some other women chooses to wear clothes I would not wear or act in a way I would not act, that does not make her dumb and it does not invalidate women. What invalidates women is the idea that we all must conform. Our bodies, our choices and all of that, right?. Even when those choices differ.

    Finally, drop the defensiveness. I realize you are probably mad. Hey, I would be too. But insulting your readers isn't helping. You didn't deserve to get nasty letters. You did deserve to get feedback though. You put thoughts out into the world and the fact that they were so misinterpretted might actually reflect a little on you, not only on the masses. Not every can get a joke. But not everyone can tell one either. You are in college. No one expects you to put out a perfect satirical piece. But writing a response about how everyone who misunderstood it is an idiot makes it seem like you have learned nothing from this whole little debacle. You are learning. That's okay. Acknowledge that. Take responsibility.

  • JoeRonald posted at 3:03 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    JoeRonald Posts: 2

    Her last name still rhymes with Testes.

  • west_user posted at 2:45 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    west_user Posts: 2


    You guys should check this out hahahaha

  • EW12 posted at 2:40 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    EW12 Posts: 1

    The problem isn't that people don't understand satire. It's that you don't know how to write it.

  • halli620 posted at 2:18 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    halli620 Posts: 1

    I read about this article on Jezebel, which was too over the top in sarcasm of course, and figured I'd read it myself. Large parts of your article are clearly satirical, such as the beginning. However, it seems to have a lot of non-satirical advice, which is why the tone of the article as a whole is confusing (but not worth any "nasty letters" like you've said you've been getting). It's not satirical to suggest that being all dolled up to hang around on campus can look desperate, or to advise taking it slow at first; and neither is the old adage of hanging out with friends that are "not as pretty as you" but still pretty enough that a guy's friends may be interested. I never doubted your "intelligence," but your attempt to write a satirical piece, with non-satirical advice, did not end up being clear as to your intentions at all.

  • Andrew posted at 1:35 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Andrew Posts: 2

    You did a great job Amber Estes, Make people angry, cause an out-pour. Continue to write things that provoke people and cause criticism. Everyone will now remember your name because you wrote that husband article. No matter what you do your writing will be put under a microscope and that's a good thing. Embrace it, you are the most famous (or infamous) writer at the R & B. Play your part perfectly, readers always love to be entertained.

  • johnqa posted at 1:27 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    johnqa Posts: 1

    "...there are women who believe that their sole purpose in life is to find a husband. They view their future not through their own personal lenses, but by how it will look after wedding vows."

    I have no clue what you mean in saying they have no personal lenses, but I guess there's something else here that I just don't get because I didn't pay attention in high school. Maybe they actually do have their own lenses that look a little different from yours? It's easy to call other people shallow, but hard to know what's actually on their mind.

    Also, I think you misused "bravado." Sorry to be that guy, but the clarity and effect of your writing is the topic of all this discussion. I'm sorry you were attacked by overzealous internet people. Hopefully calling them all dumb in this follow-up was cathartic.

  • sd posted at 1:12 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    sd Posts: 3

    It's upsetting that you received so much negative feedback considering that you addressed a very real issue regarding women in academia. I applaud your efforts to bring up something so important.

  • tar posted at 1:07 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    tar Posts: 1

    I'm popular with both groups, those seeking an MRS degree and those seeking a real degree. My come has only Susan B. Anthony dollars.[beam]

  • oneTimeCommenter posted at 12:59 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    oneTimeCommenter Posts: 2

    Also wanted to say that I thought the piece was sharp and funny, especially the point that Instagram is our modern medium for self-presentation.

  • oneTimeCommenter posted at 12:53 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    oneTimeCommenter Posts: 2

    Hey, I got it!

    Hey everybody, here's why you might have known it was satire: nobody looking for an MRS degree is writing for the school newspaper.

    And I agree with the thesis of this second article. The fact that anybody thought that the original article WASN'T satire says that we have a long way to go.

  • A Modest Proposal posted at 12:52 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    A Modest Proposal Posts: 1

    I didn't think the satire was poorly executed--anyone remember Swift? Probably not. If anyone knew of Swift, they'd also know a) what satire was and understood the previous article was one, and b) that the more flack you get for it, the better it was crafted, so they wouldn't be criticizing you so harshly. OH, and P.S. commentators, the author is an undergrad. It was clear she had witty enough turns of phrase that she wasn't a complete dolt and suggesting people actually conduct themselves in this manner. It was subtle enough to be obvious and humorous. And the reaction (whether people in their own shame are questioning their reading comprehension or not and blaming it on you) was a solid one. It even elicited Jezebel to write a follow-up article. Digest this experience, stick it on your resume for when you get into the field, and congrats. Take the criticism from those who matter, and don't let the rest bring you down.

  • elle posted at 12:34 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    elle Posts: 10

    I will also say: I love how R&B disabled the comments on the previous article, and in doing so, hid all the other comments. I understand disabling comments because discussion is getting out of hand, but journalistic standards seem kind of questionable when you hide all the previous comments.

  • elle posted at 12:30 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    elle Posts: 10

    Yeah, I think the obvious thing is that the intent was to write satire but it wasn't well executed. And I've written a piece for R&B Opinions that wasn't well-received by some (and interpreted too personally and taken out of context), but the nasty backlash comes with writing things for the public to receive. You know your intent, just move on from here and learn from your mistakes. Next time you write a satirical piece you can just get an outside (non-R&B) source to read over it and have them give you honest input on how it comes off.

  • SWTXBelle posted at 12:29 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    SWTXBelle Posts: 1

    I am a professor of English and a weekly newspaper columnist. I believe I can say I understand satire. Jonathan Swift and I go WAY back. You, madame, are no Jonathan Swift. Your feeble attempt at satire is a disgrace to the Greek community and your attempt at rebuttal only compounds the problem. I only wish you could take my rhetoric and composition class.

  • annieoakley posted at 12:19 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    annieoakley Posts: 1

    I agree with the consensus of the comments given: you should really fine-tune your satirical jab skills.

  • landbridge posted at 11:56 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    landbridge Posts: 1

    I wanted to read this follow-up piece, but unfortunately it's not addressed to me. See, I understand satire. And what you wrote earlier was apparently a very poor example of it. There is no subtlety, just over-the-top exaggerations that end up failing at both comedy and commentary because the author's observations really aren't so far removed from reality. Although I appreciate the author's attempt to deflect criticism and turn what was probably at first just a misguided and angry attempt to distance herself from the behaviors of others in her peer group that she finds repugnant into some probably-over-your-head cerebral social commentary, she needs to admit that it was a dumb piece, poorly written -- just one of those half-baked ideas that shouldn't have escaped her brain. We all have them. I forgive you.

  • johnny99 posted at 11:41 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    johnny99 Posts: 2


    If you've ever taken a creative writing workshop in your life, you would know that part of creative writing is taking criticism and self-reflection. Now, obviously, hurling insults at this Amber Estes is not constructive criticism and if this article had only addressed that issue, I would've been fine with it.

    However, don't open with "To those who don't understand satire" because you're breaking a rule of both satire and creative writing by blaming the audience. If a large chunk of the audience didn't get it, then it's time for the writer to look back and say, "Hm, what did I do wrong?" or "What could I have done better?"

    Like I said, I respect her efforts in wanting to address this issue through satire, however, I would have respected her a lot more if she came back and said, "Clearly the message was not communicated as clearly as I had hoped and part of that blame falls on my writing." Which, it does. Plain and simple.

    Bottom line: She can blame the audience for throwing insults. But she can't blame them for "not getting it" because her satire wasn't properly communicated. Not just anyone can write satire. Like all forms of creative writing, it takes feedback and revisions. I don't know how much of that she got, but if she got any, it doesn't seem like she applied it to her initial post.

    My message to Amber Estes: Good effort, but for goodness sake, own up to your shortcomings as a writer.

  • smr1181 posted at 11:33 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    smr1181 Posts: 1

    As a DG alum, it was disheartening to see all of the negative comments re: the Greek system in general, as well as the personal attacks on you.

    However, I do not believe leading this letter with "To all who do not understand satire" was appropriate. I fully understand satire. I was actually in advanced English in 9th grade, and now have a law degree, and I still was not totally sure that the essay was satirical, although I was hoping that was the case. All I will say is that your article was not nearly well-written enough for its true nature to be inferred.

    Good for you for attempting to tackle what is obviously a sensitive issue, and I'm sorry for the backlash you received.

  • allygruber posted at 11:26 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    allygruber Posts: 1

    Honestly? I admire you for posting this. You shouldn't have needed to in the first place, but you did what you had to do. Anyone who thinks otherwise or tries to put you down isn't worth your time or your energy. I see these negative comments below mine and I just want you to know that I understood it was satire, I thought it was funny, and you deserve a little bit more respect from your peers for having the balls to address your attackers so bluntly and openly. Keep it up. Also, addressing any mistakes that you may have made in this article or the last one, you're only a sophomore. You have a long way to go to learn how to do things perfectly and even then you'll still make mistakes. I'd like to see most of these people write an article using perfect grammar or syntax. It would be a struggle for them and a laugh for me.

  • johnny99 posted at 11:25 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    johnny99 Posts: 2

    Most people understand satire just fine. But it wasn't very well executed satire to say the least. I fully respect your efforts, but I think you should probably take a few more creative writing courses before you try something like this again.

    Also, a good writer will reflect on what they wrote to see what was wrong with it, not blame their audience with the sentiment "some people don't get satire".

    Don't be so high on yourself and maybe have your writing critiqued before you post it online and then blame your audience for your own poorly-executed satire.

  • iridia posted at 11:19 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    iridia Posts: 1

    To all who do not understand how to generate satire: when such a great number of people don't pick up on your "satire," maybe the responsibility lies not with your audience.

  • MattVK posted at 11:06 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    MattVK Posts: 2

    I had hoped you were joking but let's be clear. It wasn't GOOD satire.

  • selfdeprecate posted at 11:05 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    selfdeprecate Posts: 3

    It was satire but it was poorly executed. The idea of satire is to at least let your audience in on the joke with subtle hints.

  • Alsy posted at 9:05 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Alsy Posts: 1

    Turns out the sorority girl wasn't so silly after all. Go Amber!

  • drewlandgrave posted at 9:02 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    drewlandgrave Posts: 1

    "Because of my affiliation, I have gained friends, support and an experience that has made me a better person."

    You misspelled "paid for"

  • bunnyfangs posted at 8:26 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    bunnyfangs Posts: 1

    As a PR major, you've learned one of the most valuable lessons of your field: what you intend to communicate is not necessarily what is being communicated. If your depiction of man-trapping was too close to reality to be clear satire, it was nevertheless a creative attempt, and I commend you for putting yourself out there. Best of luck in your future.