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Op-ed | ‘Manrights’ flier is not funny, seriously

Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 08:11

 

Yesterday, I spotted a disturbing poster as I was walking through campus. The sign asked men and “hot lesbians” to come together for a general interest meeting to discuss “manrights.” Although I have since learned this meeting is, in fact, fake, this cannot and should not be brushed aside as a dumb prank. Regardless of whether these posters are intended to be a joke, this is a very real ideological attack on feminism and the women of Tufts University.

I just have to ask the creators of this poster, what part of feminism doesn’t work for you? Are you so offended by us working to make campus a safer space, speaking out on behalf of the one in four college women who will get raped or be a victim of attempted rape? Is it our demand of equal pay for equal work, instead of the current 77 cents for every dollar a man makes? Could it be our work to create an open dialogue about sex to promote safety and end slut shaming? Or maybe it’s our fight against the patriarchal structure that enforces oppressive gender roles and heteronormativity? Are these the goals that are so terribly infringing on your “manrights?” I ask you to truly consider how this joke of yours aims to undermine the serious progress we have made towards gaining equality for all genders and all sexualities and the continued struggle we face on a daily basis.

Now, I don’t know the motivation of the individuals who created these posters and painted the cannon with the phrase “manrights.” I don’t know if they even know about the (very real) Men’s Rights movement. I don’t know if they understand the concept of privilege. What I do know is that their ignorant prank openly mocks the millions of people around the globe who fight against patriarchy in all its forms. It attempts to repurpose queer women’s identities by fetishizing their sexuality as a performance for straight men. The message of these posters undermines progress and mocks equality.

You ended your poster with a quote, albeit a fake one. In return for that compelling piece of prose, I’ll leave you with a quote, as well. It comes from the Good Men Project, a group aiming to combat the anti-feminist discourse of the contemporary Men’s Rights movement, which your posters and fake quote seemingly support: “When you believe that we live in a female-dominated world where (straight, white, able-bodied, cisgender) men are the most oppressed class, it tends to make you wrong about pretty much everything.”

Does this op-ed now classify me as a “feminist killjoy?” Maybe. But if this is what Tufts students think of as joy, we have a much larger problem on our hands. As a feminist, as a student organizer, as a member of the Tufts community and as an ally to all marginalized groups, I cannot simply ignore these posters and write off their message as a dumb joke. This ignorance and backwards thinking should not be tolerated. Not on my campus.

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Aliza Gordon is a junior majoring in women’s studies. She can be reached at Aliza.Gordon@tufts.edu. 

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