Feminism has been in the international news and on our campus recently.For world news, Emma Watson spoke to the UN about the He for She campaign, a solidarity movement for gender equality. On our campus, Sam Foxvog, a senior, wrote a piece about male gender liberation in response to “Compulsive Masculinity,” recited and written by Ammon Allen-Doucot, a junior.
Though advocates on every side are examining different avenues and using different tactics, I believe all of these actions have a similar theme: recognition of a gendered society. Whether one addresses the inequality females experience, the expectations of a singular masculinity, or the conformity to the masculine stereotype there is a common thread.
What seems to be missing is an understanding of how both men and women can fit into these collective ideas. Although many people have tried to address the benefits of feminism for women and men, there is still a fear that female superiority—not gender equality—is its goal.
How do we counter this dichotomy? There should not be a divisive split between feminism and male gender liberation. Instead, we should look to at collective solution that allows liberation for both females and males.
Unfortunately, we have neglected to consistently examine the continued excuses that are made for gender oppression. For instance, the excuse that feminism doesn’t help men allows men to continue to deny feminism. But, the excuse that men do not suffer from a gendered society also continues to allow a certain denial of their “compulsive masculinity.”
I think one of the first steps is dialogue between the people advocating for different avenues of this issue. One way the Record has tried to promote this is through publishing Foxvog and Allen-Doucot’s pieces on the perspectives page.
However, the dialogue needs to continue in person and with the aim of finding constructive solutions to the issues both genders face in a society that places expectations on us from the day we are conceived.
I do believe there are more similarities in the goals of these different approaches than differences, but we must engage each other to discover if that is true and where we go from there. Perhaps it’s being part of campaigns like He for She or perhaps it’s creating our own campaign that presents solidarity in a different light.
These ideas of gender liberation are prevalent on campus and around the world and the question we should ask ourselves is: what are we doing to promote healthy solutions to the issues presented to us by a gendered society?