By Catherine Terelak

Grinnell College’s year-long precalculus course, MAT-123: Functions & Differential Calc, is entering the test phase of a massive rebrand. Brought to us by the marketing geniuses behind LEGO Friends and the pink Power Ranger, Babygirl Math is an anti-boy approach to teaching material that has historically failed to enter the addled loam of the female brain. 

Aimed at empowering women in STEM, Babygirl Math phrases the building blocks of calculus in terms that even the silliest girl could understand. Guest Professor Lana Del Rey, who also teaches Theories and Methods of Babygirlism in the HSSC, is a master of her craft. She frames equations not as numbers, but as dollars to be inherited from much, much older boyfriends: 

“As we see here, your boyfriend’s wealth—let’s call him… Robert—must always be inversely proportional to the number of years he has left to live.”

Professor Del Rey, or Lizzie, as she’s known in the Babygirl Community, smokes a very long cigarette at the beginning of every class and encourages her students to do so as well. “Babygirls,” she told B&S writer and fellow Babygirl Catherine Terelak, “are impervious to lung cancer. There are no known cases.”

Over the course of the fifty-minute class period, the Babygirls are given plenty of breaks to go for a mental health walk or have a little treat because they deserve it. In the corner of the room, there is a spigot of Diet Coke affixed to the wall like a water bottle in a hamster cage. 

In designing the space, Grinnell College consulted Babygirl Supreme Ottessa Moshfegh, the top she-Bukowski working today in the field of American letters. Moshfegh commented, “The only thing that could make this classroom more Babygirl-friendly is a steady supply of hard liquor and barbiturates.”

In homage to the Fallen Babygirls of Babygirl Past, the front of the classroom features portraits of Sylvia Plath, Lizzie Borden, Ethel Rosenberg, and the Virgin Mary. 

Until relatively recently, science was confounded by Babygirls’ apparent inability to retain basic mathematical knowledge. “As it turns out,” said some boy scientist who studied on Jupiter to get more stupider, “we were confusing a lack of ability for a lack of interest. Given lots of little treats and consistent encouragement from their boyfriend Robert, we know that Babygirls can thrive in STEM fields. We got them to play with LEGOs back in 2012, and it’s my opinion that we can do it again.”

The boy scientist ceased dialogue with Catherine when he cited a statistic and she started talking over him. “Blah, blah, blah,” she said, pretending to die. “I freaking hate numbers.”

While the College administration has a great deal of hope about Babygirl Math, it may be an uphill battle to keep the Babygirls in Noyce. There have already been reports of Babygirls ditching class to weave textiles, write esoteric poetry, and ponder the sacred mysteries of the Rosary. ‘If you see a Babygirl outside of Noyce between 10am and 10:50am on a weekday,’ President Babygirl Anne Harris advised in a recent statement to the community, “approach her carefully and coax her up to Babygirl Math with a venti iced coffee with caramel. Chances are, she’s more afraid of you than you are of her.”