Student-run Instagram account celebrates women on campus

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Student-run Instagram account celebrates women on campus

Caroline Japal

Caroline Japal

Caroline Japal

Serena Bailey

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Only one woman on campus will be crowned Homecoming queen, but Maggie Holmes wants to help ensure that senior women across campus are recognized for their hard work, whether or not they were nominated for a crown. 

That’s why Holmes, a senior majoring in biology and Spanish, has been running the Instagram account Queens Without A Crown since Oct. 3. There, she asks students to nominate senior women at the University of Alabama who they feel should be recognized for their work on campus.

“I think sometimes with running for Homecoming queen, or just like the campaign season, it can be a little bit competitive,” Holmes said. “I think that this account creates a more supportive environment to really showcase achievements of all different kinds of women. I think it’s more creating a dialogue about celebrating women, not necessarily competing against each other, and I think that ultimately a celebration and encouragement and support is what women empowerment is all about.” 

Since starting the account, Holmes has received over 40 submissions. She then takes the information and photos submitted about the student and turns them into a post for the account. Reading the submissions has given her a chance to learn more about what women are doing on campus, she said. 

“It’s cool to see different things that I’ve never heard about on campus, different organizations that I didn’t know exist and just learn more about our campus,” she said. “It’s really opened my eyes to a lot of the incredible things that women do.”

One of the women nominated and featured on the account is also one of the first people Holmes pitched the idea to, Shelby Anderson, a senior majoring in telecommunication and film. 

“I think we live in a culture that’s very cut-throat about how can you get ahead as an individual,” Anderson said. “So to take a step back and say, ‘Oh look at that woman who’s doing really incredible things in her area of campus or this woman who’s [also doing] incredible things in my area of campus.’ It’s about really saying, ‘Hey, you’re kicking butt and that’s awesome,’ and to just praise that. Instead of tearing each other down, trying to build each other up because I think that’s when we start to do really, really awesome things.” 

Anderson said it was “humbling” to be featured on the page alongside other women on campus, and that it was encouraging to be recognized for accomplishments.

“It’s just a very comforting feeling,” she said. “Like you did make a difference in some way whether that was as big or as small as you think it was. Someone noticed that you did something that was good and beneficial, and to just hear that and be recognized for that in just a little way, just an Instagram post, is just very encouraging, and it also just makes me want to keep doing whatever I’m doing. Whatever it is that I’m doing that’s worth recognizing, I want to keep doing that.”

Anderson also said that she sees the account as a way to not only validate the hard work of women on campus, but also to challenge all students, regardless of gender, to do great things. 

“Not every woman can win this award or that award or whatever,” Anderson said. “That’s why they’re awards, they’re selective, but I think to be able to celebrate, particularly women, in this way just encourages women but also in a sense is challenging, saying, ‘Okay, here are all these incredible women that are doing these great things. What are you doing in your own life?’”

Holmes plans to run the account through Friday, and hopes to maybe pass it along to someone else who can run it next year during Homecoming.

“I just want the Instagram page to be a source of celebration for women, for all women, on UA’s campus,” she said. “I hope I receive more nominations just because I personally would like to hear more women doing incredible things that I don’t know and learn more and more about just the awesome things that people are doing.”