Updated: Dantzlerward ’16 remembered as proud feminist, aspiring children's author| Jan 12, 2015
Audrey Dantzlerward ’16, a resident of Edwards Hall, was found dead in her room on Monday morning. She was 22. The cause of her death has yet to be determined, but a University release said that no foul play is suspected.
Friends interviewed said they remembered Dantzlerward as a proud feminist who aspired to be an author of children's stories one day, and who enjoyed playing video games.
She was from Springfield, Va., according to her entry on College Facebook. She was an English major.
Dantzlerward was a member of the Wildcats, Princeton Women’s Mentorship Program, Princeton Presbyterians and the Edwards Collective, a residential program that centers around the arts.
Allen Williams ’15, a fellow English major, said he remembered Dantzlerward as both interested in and proud of her overlapping identities as a woman and an avid video game player.
“She loved to game. She loved comic books. We had the longest, most intense conversations about just different drawing styles of Batman comic books and the ridiculousness of some Captain America illustrators and being a woman in the gaming community,” Williams said. “[She was] cheerful, goofy.”
Naimah Hakim '16, who took GSS 397: Feminist Media Studies with Dantzlerward in spring 2014, said she remembered Dantzlerward as not only a classmate but as a friend.
“I knew Audrey as both a feminist and a woman of color. We spent a lot of time talking about very personal experiences that we both faced as black women at Princeton,” Hakim said. “She's definitely someone who talked a lot about how much she cared about [her family] ... She was a person who wasn't afraid to share her quirks with you, and that's something I appreciated so much about her.”
As an English major and feminist, Dantzlerward was interested in imagery, strength as empowerment, narratives in which women were in the first person perspective and experimenting with characters of different genders in video games, according to Hakim.
On May 8, 2014, Dantzlerward presented a talk called “Virtual Sexualities: Gaming the Gender Binary” at a student symposium sponsored by Equal Writes and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
The program for the talk said, “[Dantzlerward] only allows herself to play games when doing research for related schoolwork. As a result, a statistically significant number of her academic papers center around gaming. It’s cool though.” Hakim said the talk was “dynamic.”
A blurb about Dantzlerward on the Wildcats website says that she aspired to be a children’s author.
The Class of 2016 Council released a statement that said in part, “Our heartfelt condolences pour out to our friend Audrey Dantzlerward ’16 and her family. She was a light for us all, and brought smiles and happiness to those whom she encountered.”
The Princeton Women’s Mentorship Program provided a statement to The Daily Princetonian.
“The Princeton Women’s Mentorship Program leadership team is deeply saddened by the loss of Audrey,” the statement said. “We would like to respect the privacy of the Dantzlerward family during this difficult time.”
Dantzlerward also posted articles on a blog called “Feminist Voices.” In one article, she addresses stereotypes about women.
“The androgyne is one example of women in the public sphere that I believe has been unevenly fleshed out, both by men and by women,” the article reads in part. “As one of the few stereotypes of women in media that does not involve sexualization as a tool to erase a woman’s speech, androgyny — loosely defined — may be a useful tool in gradually redefining women’s roles in public circles.”
A Feb. 24, 2014 tweet from the GSS 397 course credited Dantzlerward with creating the page for the course, and she was active in posting articles to that page throughout the semester.
A gathering of remembrance for Dantzlerward will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday in Murray Dodge Hall.