Division is not a solution for oppression

By
November 6, 2003

Having come here this semester from a co-ed school, I can’t say
I have a problem with the gender demographics here at Mills. And I
can’t help but be surprised and a little alarmed that some girls
here do. At UC San Diego, my home for the past two years, I had
classes with both men and women and experienced not the slightest
hint of oppression from these male classmates. They were my
friends, some of them incredibly close ones, and coming from a
different place in the world, they showed me a perspective that I
as a female sometimes miss. To shelter ourselves in an all women’s
environment should not be considered the only solution to a
perceived gender oppression, to comfort ourselves knowing men will
not sit next to us while we are eating dinner will not solve
women’s plight. It is naive.

I have always believed that one cannot be oppressed unless she
allows herself to be. In a society that prizes its freedom and
democracy, no one can be left behind unless, out of timidity, they
do not seize the opportunities they are offered. Men, especially
the kind ones on the Mills campus, cannot oppress you if you refuse
to be kept silent. Speak your mind in class, do the best you can
do, take control if the situation calls for it, but do not
constantly remind yourself that some backward individuals somewhere
might consider you subservient. The only outcome will be an
alienation of a group of people who could be your friends. To look
at someone and expect they will oppress you before they have opened
their mouth is discrimination in its most base form. And the
backlash that will result will lead to yet another misconception
about the gender oppression in a school where women still far
outnumber the men.

Of course we females came to Mills expecting a gender exclusive
campus. We were told this would be so. But seeing that, in our
modern times, our budget will not survive without the contribution
of a diverse population of people, I think Mills women need to
accept men as their equals and appreciate the contributions they
will bring to our school. Go talk to some of them before you tell
them to leave. You might not want them to when you realize they are
good people, and that the oppression probably exists only in your
own mind.


Division is not a solution for oppression was published on November 6, 2003 in Opinions

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