Saturday, May 12, 2012

Where Do We Go From Here?

Throughout the semester we as a class have talked about countless issues related to gender oppression, inequality, and societal constraints on women. Reading blogposts written by my thoughtful peers and participating in engaging conversations about gender and sexuality has exposed me to some uncomfortable and saddening truths about gender inequality in America, and its prevalence throughout society. It seems the issue of gender runs deeper than most would assume, as men and women alike pass through the motions without second guessing life and the potential that exists beyond the status quo.

Although I appreciate the conversations, debates and sentiments expressed by my peers and my professor, there still remains an unsettling thought: What is to be done? Regardless of how often we talk about the issue, rhetoric can only bring us so far. The pedagogy that we implore must be translated into action, else the gains that we strive for will remain unreachable. We cannot sit idly by while issues of gender and sexually continue to haunt and marginalize women and the rest of the LGBT community, and status quo cannot remain unchallenged. We can only make our experience this semester count if we act upon the struggles that we have encountered, and fashion solutions that can alleviate the pains of inequality.

So to end the semester, I ask, What can be done? How can we translate our experience this semester into something meaningful? How can we effectively combat issues of gender inequality, and what are some appropriate steps to take?

How can men effectively participate in this struggle against inequality? Or is there no place for men at all?

What does gender equality look like?

Each of these questions need be answered if we expect to see substantial change. As a man, I cannot speculate what needs to be done, nor can I decide what is the right thing to do. This movement belongs to women and it is theirs to control, regardless of the role that men are given in the struggle to combat gender inequality. I can only offer my solidarity to those who are willing to accept it, and my enthusiasm for a world where women do not have to feel uncomfortable or threatened by masculinity.

I'd like this last blogpost to begin a longer conversation over what needs to be done, and how to go about exacting change. I am curious as to what you all think about this issue, and how it should be addressed. I encourage everyone to use the knowledge from this semester and apply it to their everyday life. How can you exact change in your own life? Sometimes the little things matter the most, and the more that we can do, the more will be accomplished.

Please feel free to comment with your thoughts! And thanks for the hard work thats been done on this blog all semester.


  1. I think that the first thing that needs to be done is to be honest about the obstacles that women have faced and still continue to face. We can't move forward as a society when part of it feel that women complain too much about the injustice that they face. And it's not only some men that are doing it. Some women feel that being a second-class citizen is a good thing.

    The Equal Rights Amendment most prominent opponent in the '70s was the "STOP ERA" campaign that was headed by Phyllis Schafly. She was, ironically, a mother and a lawyer. STOP was an acronym for "Stop Taking Our Privileges", which referred to the gender specific privileges that females have. I am willing to acknowledge that women and men have fundamental differences, but should one gender have certain privileges over the over?

    And it was not just some random campaign that suppressed an important piece of legislation. To this day, the ERA hasn't been ratified. This makes me wonder about how we still have to go as a society if a simple amendment stating that a female is equal to a male can't get support. We all have to acknowledge the facts that we still have problems. Only then can we have meaningful solutions, like the passing of the ERA.

  2. Alex, I agree with your sentiments entirely. It will definitely be difficult to see dramatic changes in gender equality, especially in the very near future. In order for equality to truly be accomplished, it can't be just a few people acting in certain ways, but rather the entire society must evolve, which I believe will take a very long time. As long as there are still people alive who experienced a completely different era, I don't know if it will ever be possible to achieve complete equality, because those people would retain some memory of the old way. For example, I know that I can't even imagine what a completely equal society would look like, because all I know is the one I live in now. Does anyone agree with me on this? Sure, we can make steps toward full gender equality, but I believe it is something that will evolve over time, and not just suddenly one day.

  3. Emily, I completely agree with your belief that no matter how much society attempts to transcend the status-quo through legislations, campaigns, or any other sort of movement, the belief systems endowed to each generation by those before them will be engrained within their minds, even if just subconsciously. Each proceeding generation will forever bear witness to the customs and tendencies of those before them, and these will tend to be reflected within their own; it's a matter of human nature. The question is one which undoubtedly needs to be answered and prioritized within society; but it is one of those controversial questions that will requisite the most extreme of measures to be dealt with. And, like Emily, I can not even imagine what a truly equal society would be like—it's unfathomable. Our society is so entirely defined by the hierarchical structures and preconceived roles that every aspect of our government, our schooling systems, and every organization within out society could not be possible within an entirely equalized society.


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