For a magazine that started up as a men’s committee, we’ve come pretty far: our team now mostly comprises women. If you weren’t aware of our history, the name of our magazine is a scrambled up acronym. The word ‘Craccum’ stands for ‘Auckland University College Men’s Common Room Committee’. We mostly keep the scrambled acronym because it has ‘cum’ in it. Sexual liberation is a girlboss mood, after all.
In a deep dive of our magazine’s archives, we found some gems in the old Letters to the Editors section dating back to our very first issue in 1927. There sure were a lot of vocal men who wanted to chat shit about the women on campus!
A writer who went by the pseudonym “Male” noted that a lot of women on campus had short hair compared to the average population of women outside of the Uni, but suggested that short hair has no advantages. Since those who attend uni are supposed to be the “most intelligent and the most advanced section of the women of the community”, he “can only conclude that women do not benefit by, but rather are injured by, a university education.”
Well, it looks like we (two short-haired women) must be getting injured by our university education then. Is he wrong? Not entirely, given the amount of stress and breakdowns uni has caused us.
But we’ve come a long way since 1927. Since Craccum was founded, we’ve seen worldwide women’s sufferage, gay liberation, and the abolition of racist immigration policy. That means Craccum now has two women of colour at the helm, one of whom is a raging bisexual. We also have a badass woman of colour—hi Alofa!—as our AUSA president. Pretty cool if we do say so ourselves.
But although we live in a time those in 1927 could only dream of, it’s more important than ever that we don’t become complacent. After all, only a few years ago, University of Auckland students were protesting over white supremacist posters. Universities have always been at the forefront of social debate and radical change. Even in the (relatively) short time we’ve been at uni, we’ve seen the role that we, the students of UoA, can play in creating dialogue and getting shit done.
Although the world is burning, maybe the adage ‘history repeats itself’ doesn’t always have to inspire fear. Yes, we’re living through another pandemic and another potential world conflict. But that means we can also live through more incredibly powerful social movements that spark real change. And it can start here, with your voice and ours.
So, ‘Craccum’ now stands for Crazy Relatable Art Cunts Creating Unamusing Magazines. We sincerely hope that horrifies the bigots who wrote into our mag 95 years ago (except you, Undergraduette, you go girl). Because sometimes seeing where you come from can show us how far we could go.
Flora Xie and Naomii Seah.