Reading in Tamagawa Garden

Rachel Davidson

Rachel Davidson, Essay Contest Winner in the First-Year Category for English 125, 2021-22

Rachel Davidson

Rachel is entering her second year of a BA in Geography, with a minor in Environmental Science. English was her favourite subject in high school, so she looked forward to fulfilling her English degree requirements, because she believes in the importance of telling and listening to stories.

The class that led to her award-winning essay -- ENGL 125: Topics in Literature with Professor Nicole Klan – provided her a renewed opportunity to explore how a story can “have a huge impact on someone.” She was troubled by the way the play, The Shape of a Girl, characterized the main female bully character as though her interest in boys and sex was marker of her deviance. When Rachel began researching bad girl stereotypes for her essay, “Perpetuating Bad Girl Stereotypes in “The Shape of a Girl,” Canadian Media, and its Effect on Girl Bullying Discourses in Schools,” she was “shocked” by its pervasiveness, and found herself realizing that these very stereotypes were “foundational” in discussions about girl bullying in her own school experiences. Her essay is a careful examination of the negative impact such framing of female bullying can have on young girls.

Three things she thinks anyone trying to find their way should turn to are the books The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Alchemist, and the music from Meatloaf’s albums Bat out of Hell I & II. Her advice for fellow students looking to succeed and still enjoy themselves? “Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Take advantage of general essay prompts to find a topic that really interests you and that you care about.”