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viewpoint

Equality is masculine

| Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I’ve never really identified as a feminist until I began taking two classes: “Marriage and the Family” and “Economics of the Family.” After reading a couple of research papers, I come to the conclusion: women have it rough. The list of woes that women face is lengthy: the objectification of women, the expectations of women being the primary parent, discrimination in the workforce and many more.

Since beginning this term, I’ve become more cognizant of what people write and say. It bothers me. Men casually talk about their previous nights’ hook-ups in the dining halls. They ask each other about whom they’ve been with and whether or not the girl was good-looking. There was a men’s dorm that distributed shirts that read, “A gentleman is simply a patient wolf.” Parties are frequently described and promoted by saying there will be a lot of women available, “single and ready to mingle.” This is a culture we need to change.

There are people who tell us to look at how well we are doing compared to the society that existed decades before us. That’s like getting a 65 on an exam and telling your parents that the lowest grade was in the single digits. We should be striving for that A. We should be comparing ourselves to a society where men and women are equals and make that our end goal.

As men, we can help achieve this balance by being more wary of what we say, more conscious of our actions and more willing to speak up for our female peers. There’s an on-campus group called Notre Dames, and they discuss issues that affect women whether here at Notre Dame or around the world. I implore you to sit in on their meetings and hear what they have to say.

A lot of guys aren’t identifying with feminism because they fear it encroaches on their masculinity or manliness. I’m sure women aren’t asking men to give up their rights or to bow down at their feet. They are asking for more fair treatment and equality that they deserve. By not being a feminist, you are not helping anyone. In fact, the silence perpetuates the problem since you are inadvertently condoning sexist, misogynistic behaviors. The world needs more male feminists to speak up.

In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx message, she says feminism is striving for “the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” Believing in equality is the masculine thing to do. Fighting for equality is the epitome of being a gentleman.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Wei Lin

Wei Lin currently serves as an Assistant Managing Editor for The Observer. He served as the Photo Editor on the 2014-2015 Editorial Board. He is a senior Accountancy, Economics, and Chinese triple major living in Knott Hall. He hails from the borough of Queens in New York City.

Contact Wei