Everyone at Rice Needs Feminism

As per my previous post about launching Who Needs Feminism at Rice, my two friends, Clara and Anya, wrote an opinion piece for our school newspaper, The Thresher, about the project and urging people to join them in a feminist-themed discussion during lunch today. You can find the article, titled "Everyone at Rice Needs Feminism," here.

I am so proud of them for being active citizens and urging people to action via public intervention. Obviously, not everyone reads the newspaper, but it is a way to disseminate ideas and information in hopes of reaching a substantial amount of the population. There is also a lot of history to feminism, and one article can hardly do it justice, which is why they ask that people share their opinions and begin this discussion.

I would like to clarify my perspective on the article in general. From my understanding, we are trying to bring the discussion of feminism to Rice. What do I mean by feminism? Well, for me, generally, it's a framework, a paradigm, that helps me see the world for its inequities and problems. For me and my own feminist pursuits, I seek to study the world around me and imagine/create a world where there are no forces that influence the equality of opportunities and freedom from judgment and human rights for people of all kinds.

Since it's Sunday and I'm tired and I want to blog about artsy stuff I did the past two weeks, here are my few brief comments in response to what I've been seeing, much to my dislike, on the comments section under the article that Clara and Anya wrote (side note: they apparently wrote it on a laptop on their way to Austin to the Texas Tribune Festival; they're incredible and politically attuned and active people!). Again, I am speaking for myself, not for the Who Needs Feminism at Rice project, so don't conflate the two.

  • Yes, there is dissent within the feminist community just like there is dissent within religious/other identity communities
  • I am sorry if women/people/feminists have wrongly accused you/men of something you didn't actually do, and yes, people should be punished for wrongdoing.
  • Feminism is a lot about human rights. Considering human rights issues in feminism does not mean that we only care about women in these issues, and people define things differently. I include a lot of human rights issues and judgement issues under feminism because I consider gender roles and general stereotypes and judgments to affect people of all genders and the feminist perspective helps me realize that they are no good for men or women or insert gender here.
  • So some women from Duke may have wrongly accused some men of something they didn't do and thus tarnished their quality of life. The Who Needs Feminism project did come from Duke University. That doesn't automatically mean that then feminism in general must be questionable or that the project is questionable, I would like to see more developed arguments, let's be honest, people.
  • Let's talk about "justifications" for women "choosing" lower paying fewer hour "less respected" jobs. Because it's long overdue. Yes, there are people who choose lower paying fewer hours jobs. There are also people who choose it because their circumstances and the forces at large in society do not cultivate them or permit them or encourage them or show them a way to do otherwise. It's 2013, and there are still people who think that plainly stating the facts that some people categorically choose certain things is acceptable as intellectual inquiry. Well, I ask you, what does choosing these decisions look like? Why do these people choose these decisions? What factors influence them to make these decisions? Those are the types of questions I am more interested in, because they allow us to really engage critically with the world around us. 
Yesterday, Clara, our friend and alumnus Estevan, and I had a brief discussion about where we see this whole initiative going next and how we want to go about doing it. We're excited with ideas and people to reach out to, but we still need to do a lot more work to set things up. For now, all I can say is stay tuned, Rice, because we're here to make this discussion stay.


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