This article is inspired by yet another incident where my own eavesdropping ended up igniting a vicious rant.
Recently, in Mustang Lounge, I was pretending to study while procrasti-scrolling through every website I’ve ever subscribed to, as per usual, when two girls sat down across from me. They began talking about the American election, and their own political views. Though I try to remain open to the discussion of politics from a variety of viewpoints during my eavesdropping, this was over my head. The first girl turned to her friend and said “I think all women that have ever been in power are stupid. I’m so anti-feminist.” This resulted in a slew of giggles over the shared anti-feminism that the two girls just discovered.
Meanwhile, I swear my jaw hit the floor, aggressively enough for the second girl to look at me and whisper to her anti-feminist buddy “I think she’s a feminist.”
This is not the only time that I have been concerned about the anti-feminist mindset of those on the Western University campus. Several recent, shocking events on campus demonstrate the need for education on feminism and its purpose and importance in society. Take, for example, the “Western Lives Matter” incident that hit recent news, in which three Western students posed in front of a banner reading “Western Lives Matter” as a response to homecoming being cancelled, and moved to a later date. This incident blew up on social media and the boys were defended as ignorant to the racial implications of their banner, regarding the actual Black Lives Matter movement.
Perhaps the girls in the Mustang Lounge were ignorant to the fact that the social institution they were sitting in was only accessible to them due to the efforts of feminists throughout history pushing for women’s access to education. Perhaps the boys who posed in front of this banner really were ignorant to the implications behind their demonstration. I would like to challenge Western— let’s stop being ignorant, and let’s stop using ignorance as an excuse for our behaviour.
If I had to sit through Astronomy 1020 (T-God for bell curves) to learn about the way that stars work, I think that we should mandate a Women’s Studies credit at Western University to learn about how feminism works. Let’s stop using ignorance as an excuse for the racist, sexist, and oppressive events that occur around campus daily, and let’s educate our students on the importance of feminism and its roots in history.
Let’s stop saying “they didn’t know” and let’s start saying “we are teaching them.”