Freshman psychology student Paige Myers walked through the Angell College Center last Friday to find herself in the presence of a controversy she never expected.
No More! is a nationwide organization that stands for gender equality based on the idea of raising awareness in ending sexual, domestic and gender violence. There is a group on campus representing the organization as a club, and they have recently updated their display case in the ACC, causing a major stir on campus when people started to notice the new addition.
Myers and her boyfriend, sophomore Ethan Bartlett, were on their normal route through the center when they saw the new T-shirt hanging in No More!’s display case. Printed on the shirt was the phrase “We put the men in femenism,” becoming the topic of this controversy. On the shirt, the word “feminism” is crossed out with the group’s new spelling of the word scrawled above it.
“Is that a meninism shirt?” Myers asked, Bartlett responding with, “That’s what it looks like.”
Myers said she defines “meninism” as the opposite of feminism, saying that men deserve to be higher, more superior than everyone else.
Senior social work and gender and women’s studies major Marisa Velez said feminism, by definition, is a social, political and economic equality of the sexes. As president of the PSUC chapter of No More!, she said the shirt means the group is including men in the conversation of feminism because it’s not about just women’s equality, it’s about people’s equality.
“It is important that everyone has a voice in this conversation because it is such an important topic,” she said. “To not include men in those conversations is doing women a disservice because you can’t end something unless you have everyone involved included.”
Her second encounter with the controversy was witnessing female students in the ACC discussing the reasons they didn’t like the shirt — one female said she felt the shirt sends a mixed, more interpretable message that could easily be misinterpreted, as it has been already.
Male students commented on the women’s discomfort with what this group has presented for all of campus to see. Myers said she felt the men were oppressing the women in the highest form she has ever experienced. She claims they were making derogatory comments, such as, “They are only good for one thing,” “Girls on this campus are all whores,” and “If that’s how they are going to act, that’s how they should be treated.”
The discussion continued on the app Yik Yak with more comments made against women and feminists based on No More!’s T-shirt.
When sophomore information technology major Tyler Ellis heard about the conflict, he said he made sure someone of authority heard about it.
“The main thing I was worried about was the fact that there were these men who are going around trying to oppress these women because they were having conversations about feminism,” he said. “They were doing so in a very aggressive way, and that didn’t sit well with me.”
Later the same day, Myers was on her way back to her dorm to report what she had witnessed and stumbled upon another group of women that were upset about the same issue. She said that while trying to comfort them in front of the building, a male student walked by, calling the group “whores,” with no other dialogue included.
“When you think of someone that is going to go to that extreme to say something like ‘Women are just sex objects,’ you would think at this point with all of the education schools have to teach about equality, not just feminism, there wouldn’t be so many people still in that mindset,” Myers said.
Velez said the group is not trying to disrespect anyone or the community, but are simply trying to include everyone in the conversations that have been such huge issues in society today.
Email Lisa Scivolette at firstname.lastname@example.org