Shout it, whisper it or scream it – just stop stifling these voices

Jackie Mantey

It started out weak and self-conscious, almost inaudible.

It evolved from the unspoken desires and queries of women sheltered by society and denied basic rights.

The whispers got a little louder at Seneca Falls, and talk of revolution rose from picket sign holders and bloomer wearers.

Shouts rang to record-high decibels during the ’70s as it ignored gender roles and broke the mystique their mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers had suffered.

The voice of feminism has a long, diverse history. While that voice has never reached the same level it did during the Age of Aquarius, it will be heard tomorrow, and hopefully with the outcome of the potential of being louder at Kent State.

The Women’s Studies Program is sponsoring a number of events in an effort to create a women’s studies major. Currently, the university only offers a minor in the program. They have said now is not the time for a women’s studies major, due to a supposed lack of interest and need.

Lack of interest?

Several students I have talked to are transferring from Kent State because the minor does not offer enough classes and background to work in the fields women’s studies can offer.

Lack of need?

Oppression is more than prevalent in today’s society. If you look hard enough, you can see women being oppressed by cultural norms and ideals everywhere. Advertisements, television, media, among others, bank on the exploitation of the female form, and a staggering amount of women and men buy into these stereotypes.

We need voices willing to stand up against the patriarchy and raise awareness for the benefit of women and men across America, and Kent State is stifling these voices from reaching their full potential without a constant and unwavering support for a women’s studies major.

What’s more, the university has a liberal arts major.

What is the point of this? I question why it is justified in rising Kent State’s academia, but a women’s studies major is not.

The negative connotation that comes with the word feminism has a lot to do with it. However, this is part of the cycle of the problem. People fear the word because of the stereotypes it has acquired through the years. Statements such as, “I’m not a feminist, but.” run rampant.

Debunking the myths of feminism is important for men and women whether or not they want to major in women’s studies. The insight these courses offer is invaluable. A consciousness of the issues of coercion that are bubbling below the surface are an important outcome of women’s studies curriculum.

It is not about victimization. It is not about man-hating.

It’s about awareness of issues that devalue women. It’s about the history of a divided minority. It’s about equality. It’s about vision and strength. It’s about respect for all.

If the university fails to recognize the need for a women’s studies major, it is not only neglecting the wants of many current and prospective students, but the needs of a whole society.

Shout it, scream it, whisper it – any way – we need the message out there that we are not giving up.

Open your eyes, and I guarantee you’ll open your mouth.

Jackie Mantey is a campus editor of the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]