Letter to the editor

Feminism not a simple issue

I am writing a disappointed response to Allegra Tepper’s article, “Benefits to New Sexism Blur Lines of Equality,” published in the Daily Trojan on Sept. 28.

I find it impossible to consider this a thoughtful exploration of gender experience, as the author introduces her argument by showing utter disrespect toward feminism.

She says, “We all know the historical saga of sexual liberation,” suggesting first that everyone has knowledge of women’s history (which just isn’t true), referring to the generations of scholarship and civil activism that are feminism as a “saga,” and distilling the gains in equality to “sexual liberation,” complete with a mention of the “bra-burners,” which out of context only reinforces shallow perceptions of feminists.

The author says her article is not a “feminist rant,” revealing the kind of prejudice toward feminism that keeps the average person in the dark as to the true mission of the majority of feminists:  equality.

Tepper calls a recent Zeta Beta Tau’s party a “microcosm of Millennials content with the double standard,” claiming that women who accepted discounted entry at one party at one college in one city in one country speak for women everywhere.

The author also ventures, “I think we can all agree that for the most part the population of women picketing for equal opportunities … has significantly diminished.”

It’s dangerous to assume that all her readers agree on this contentious subject.

Women assume agency all over the world; every day, more and more organizations, businesses and governments are hearing the call of hard-working, outspoken women. Women don’t just picket. They write, speak, create art, unionize, run for office and do thousands of other things to seek and demand equality.

Let’s not overlook the fact that the “special treatment” women receive upon entrance to clubs and parties is entirely for the benefit of the men who host these parties, the ones who want a heavy female to male ratio to better their chances of a hookup. A woman accepting this offer does not hold more power than a man but rather plays into the male-dominant power structure at play.

The author closes her article by asking, “Who is advocating for the men?” Certainly feminist scholars study not just the needs and struggles of women, but rather the gender roles defined for both sexes. That said, although women have made significant and hard-earned gains (especially in the Western, middle-class world), women still make 75 cents to the dollar that men make. Women own 1 percent of the world’s property and control less than a third of the world’s wealth.

Yes, it is important to look at sexism as it operates both ways. But it is first important to be well-versed in the history of women’s struggles and of gender in society.

Although young college women might receive a free drink at a party, women across the globe (and on our own campus) experience daily inequality, the realities of which Tepper’s article neglects to engage with entirely.

I found this article to be only a shallow rendering of gender study, an affront to feminism and feminists, and a reinforcement of uninformed opinions on gender inequality.

What are we to learn from such a surface look at such a complex issue?

Haley Huntley

Senior, creative writing

3 replies
  1. M. Lee
    M. Lee says:

    Excellent response, Haley!
    Allegra Tepper certainly has a lot to learn and needs to get some real world experience.

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