What is Dear Margaret?

Sage Smith

The Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity started a series in December called “Dear Margaret,” an online anonymous advice column.

The idea for “Dear Margaret” was a collaborative effort of the Sloss Center Staff. A new question is answered and published every Tuesday. Each question is researched and answers are composed by Lindsey Settle, senior in journalism and mass communication and a PR and comm intern for the Sloss Center.

“The one aspect that I knew I wanted to include for sure is that we started every response with ‘dear writer, thank you for writing,’” Settle said.

Settle said the series is important because they have never had anything like it before.

“We’re constantly as a team trying to brainstorm new ways we can advocate for and serve the communities that we do in a creative and engaging way,” Settle said.

Dear Margaret has been met with great participation already.

“We’ve posted about it on our social media platforms, it was in our newsletter in the fall and we put things on our bulletin board in the house,” said Sandra Looft, Director of the Sloss Center. “It spread and gained attention and visibility and we have received questions since week one.”

Settle researches the topic of each question and completes a rough draft which is sent to the Sloss Center’s communication team for feedback and diverse perspectives. The final copy of the response is then posted on the website.

“The research I put into every single question is a little different because each question is a little different,” Settle said. “We get a variety of people who ask about specific scenarios that happened to them personally and general questions that take on a more broad answer.”

The questions are answered through a “feminist lens” but Dear Margaret covers areas outside of women’s issues as well. Questions about activism, body positivity and how to have conversations about these issues are welcome.

“The purpose of this series is to share resources, generate knowledge, and engage in feminist dialogue on our campus,” according to the Sloss Center website.

Settle said being a feminist is about advocating for women’s social, political and economic issues.

The Sloss Center provides answers, resources and support to people on campus. The questions being anonymously submitted allows people to be presented with the benefits of the Sloss Center.

“We wanted it to be anonymous so people would feel comfortable being honest and asking what they want to ask.” Looft said. “The questions we receive are often around complex and heavy topics and we don’t want somebody to feel that revealing too much about themselves is a barrier to asking their question.”

This series is a way to answer questions, clear up confusion and share information on serious topics.

“I’d love to keep seeing it grow,” Settle said. “I have really, really, really enjoyed doing the research for each of these questions. I have learned so much myself. I feel it connects us so well to those who follow us and makes us accessible and would like to see that continue.”

The Dear Margaret question form, information about the Sloss Center and their events and programs can all be found on the Sloss Center’s website. Another way to stay up to date with the Sloss Center is their newsletter, “Margaret’s Mail,” and their social media accounts.

“I think that’s so key in recognizing that someone chose to send their question into us It makes me very thankful that people are engaging with us and we are able to serve them and help them answer the questions in their heads,” Settle said. “I have loved being a part of this series.”