The Collegian
Saturday, April 20, 2024

WGSS should lose the "W"

Richmond College '10

The recent uproar and controversy over the inappropriate e-mails degrading women on campus has led to a variety of responses and suggested solutions, most of which miss the point no matter how well intended. The best attempt so far has been articulated by Hayley Swinson's recent article.

The administration's persistent emphasis on political correctness, delayed reactions and misguided proactive steps have allowed for such problematic situations to arise time and again. As Swinson points out, whenever such distasteful circumstances exist, the administration's approach empowers the offender by making sure everyone knows about it and is sufficiently offended and then has the opportunity to voice their disgust. After that, they go back to doing whatever a Bias Response Team does while it waits to respond to more bias.

I'd like to suggest that with this particular scenario involving egregiously misogynistic behavior, we find a new approach that would address the actual problem rather than put a band-aid on it or just sweep it under the rug in an elaborate ceremony. For example, scapegoating and hiring expensive Harvard Law professors are not going to permanently change underlying social problems. This problem has to be addressed from within - on the grassroots level, so to speak. All I've heard so far is how all the women in WILL and sororities were outraged. So does that mean Westhampton College ladies are the only ones affected? Can I be offended, embarrassed and repulsed? Perhaps, but I'm still a male, essentialized as being patriarchal, aggressive and with an inherent propensity toward domestic violence, oppression and mistreatment of women.

Unfortunately, WGSS (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) has really done nothing to prevent this from happening in the first place. No, we don't need a MILL (Men Involved in Living and Learning) but there's no denying that men have been fundamentally left out of the picture and the conversation. Do you see any guys in your WGSS classes? Are there even any WGSS classes that address masculinity other than to attack it? For all they do to promote feminism and alternative definitions of femininity, you'd think they'd be more willing to accept that there are different types of masculinity as well. What about a class on what it means to be a gentleman?

RC men have to be let into the conversation if you want to truly challenge their perceptions and misconceptions. Otherwise, WILL will just continue to preach to the choir.

In conjunction, Richmond College has to step up and find ways to better promote the true meaning of being an RC man. Sure, chivalry might be gone, but what happened to honor, respect and dignity? Men's development has to be about more than just a Wellness class on men's health. Of course, it would be nice to think that RC men already have higher standards given that they got in here, but I guess that's not much of an admissions criterion anymore. We don't need any more gen. ed. requirements or diversity workshops, but there must be a way to instill true virtue (a word that comes from the Latin for man) as Richmond College started out doing in 1830 - otherwise, nothing sets us apart from any other guy and the university ceases to fulfill its purpose.

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