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Sometimes I really doubt whether a Women’s Center will succeed in the fullest sense. The fractured consciousness of ‘women’ on this campus suggests a lack of cohesion that may doom the Women’s Center to become mainly a bastion for white, upper-class, heterosexual, pro-choice women, hearkening back to the days of Betty Friedan and second-wave feminism. I hope I am proven wrong, and that ABHW, SAWC, the Hillel Women’s Group, AAWA, HRL, LU, Girlspot, etc. all embrace the undertaking and strive to make the center reflect their interests. Judging by the Crimson coverage, though, you’d think RUS and the UC are the only ones invested in the vision.
One thing that would boost my optimism about the project: more self-identifying men speaking up about the need for a diverse, vibrant women’s center. As we’ve discussed at length with regard to household labor, it’s about time people recognized that gender equality is not just a women’s issue. Why not get the major men’s organizations and traditionally male-dominated groups to draft declarations of support for the creation of a Women’s Center? To make things interesting (and to circumvent free image boosts for groups that merely dribble meaninglessly about how women should be given equal opportunity), you could specify that the declarations should include lists detailing the challenges women face that a Women’s Center could help ameliorate; how the undersigned group contributes to those challenges; and proactive steps the group is taking to become more friendly to all genders. Critical self-reflection and abdication of unfair privilege: now that’s what I look for in a man.