by Cheryl Price
Somehow, feminism got a bad rap, and I don't understand why. It further confuses me when women passionately insist they are not feminists, but yet are equally passionate about receiving equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity in the workplace and a fair share in everything in life.
Being a feminist does not mean you are a militant radical.
Being a feminist means women should be measured by the same standards as men. It means if thousands of dollars are spent on football scholarships, there had better be an equal amount spent on women's athletic scholarships. It means that, although schools should always try to attract the best and brightest faculty, there should be a significant amount of women, not only on staff, but with tenure. It means that when your classes in history, literature, political science and so forth present great figures in the field, women should be included on the syllabus as well as men.
Being a feminist does not mean women should get advantages simply because they are female. It does not mean you should deny academic scholarships to more qualified males just to fill a quota of females. It does not mean that women should be exempt from certain classes or requirements because they are female. It does not mean that women should be treated any differently in the classroom or on campus than male students are treated.
Being a feminist means breaking down gender barriers. It means colleges that have students of predominantly one sex, such as engineering or education, should make efforts to recruit students of the opposite sex and provide them with role models and mentors. It means all colleges should encourage women to form their own networking agencies, such as Women in Communications, to supplement the "good old boy" networks. It means that sororities should get every opportunity, and conform to every standard, as their fraternal counterparts. It means issues of special interest to female students, such as increasing the quality and availability of on-campus child care or parking lot security, should be addressed not only for them but for the benefit of all students.
Being a feminist does not mean all women should go to college and find careers and should never be full-time homemakers and mothers. It does not mean all men are evil and must be destroyed. It does not mean you have to be a Democrat, or even a woman. Feminists are male, female, black, white, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, young, old, gay, straight, rich, poor. Anyone who believes women are not substandard humans is a feminist.
I am proud to be a feminist. I am proud to believe in equal rights and opportunities for women. When I hear a professor or administrator make a sexist comment, I speak up. If I, or someone I know, is slighted in any way simply because of gender, I file a complaint. Women are perhaps our most undervalued resource. Women are our future.
Price is a senior hotel-restaurant management major.