The Dartmouth Observer
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
I wanted to start off this post with a delayed thank you to Chien Wen and John Stevenson for inviting me to be part of this conversation, and another delayed thank you to my fellow posters for their insight, eagerness in debating intellectual and political ideas, and open-mindedness. This blog is one of the wonderful but all-too-rare occurences of truly intelligent discussion about academia, politics and culture here at Dartmouth and outside of Hanover. I consider myself lucky to be a part of it.
I received an invitation from the Student Assembly a few minutes ago to share my ideas on door locks. Eagerly I went to the online survey to express my views. Quickly though, I sensed a strange bias. Firstly, I was suspicious of the survey's request to disclose gender. Who really cares whether men and women feel differently about this issue? After all, if some people feel unsafe (and with good reason, I might add: there have been not one but numerous incidences of women being harrassed and assaulted by strangers in dorm bathrooms: search the D's website if you don't believe me) then it's the College's responsibility to make people feel safer and more secure. Door locks do not impinge on anyone's civil rights, and they are common practice at virtually every college campus across the nation, with very good reason. Don't allow a few disgruntled students to make this into a bigger issue that it already is.
Secondly, in response to Brent Kesler's post regarding his personal experiences with depression: I certainly empathize with your difficulties addressing an often daunting mental illness, and I am glad that you are no longer in such a precarious position. However, I will say that, while I do realize that male depression is a serious concern, I do think that it is not only possible, but necessary to evaluate claims of victimization, and that in this case I think that the victims of patriarchal practices are firstly and predominantly women. Men suffer the side effects of their own system, undoubtedly. But men (not all men, of course, but most do buy into the patriarchy to some extent) perpetrate the vast majority of gender violence. Violence, I argue, that is physical, sexual, and mental, and which almost universally victimizes women.
Finally, for all those crazy guys out there who are taking Global Feminism with Means this summer, I found an excellent article about postmodernism and women/feminism. I don't think it's on the web, but its in the Oxford Readings in Feminism Series, Feminism and "Race". The article is entitled, "Exploding the Canon" (although it's not about the literary canon like I'd thought, in case you were wondering Chien Wen) by Jane Parpart and Marianne Marchand. It's excellent and also provides a concise, though perhaps limiting, idea of postmodernism.