Dear Editor,

I am a female student, a senior at Binghamton University. I have never before felt so strongly the need to voice my opinion on something published in the Pipe Dream. Recently, an article on feminism, as well as a response to the original article, were posted. In reading both articles, I find that both authors have a fundamental and serious misunderstanding of modern feminism. Their confusion is understandable, and shared by many. Modern feminism is not about bra burning, and it’s not about hating men, and it’s certainly not about “seeing women as victims, and men as tyrants.”

Modern feminism, in a very basic sense, is about asking for equality for both genders. Both women AND men can label themselves as feminists. It is not about dragging men down so that women can stand atop them and proclaim victory. It’s about leveling the playing field. I see the original article as a little too glass half empty, and the response as a little too glass half full. If you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, then the glass is just plain empty.

The truth is that our culture places very little value on women, and the evidence is everywhere. Please note, I’m not placing blame on any particular group. Individuals are certainly capable of rising above this, and I know plenty of truly decent men who exhibit an attitude opposite to this cultural norm. I also know women who spend time devaluing themselves in a twisted effort to find some self worth. I think it’s obvious that we have taken a very strange step backward in the movement toward equality among the sexes. I think the political positioning on recent women’s rights issues is still solid in the minds of anyone paying attention to the news in the past two years. The point is that while we waste our time arguing about how full the glass is, a greater power is working over time behind the scenes to put women back in their “place.” We should be using this time to explore options that would place the feminist movement forward. I would like to believe that at this time, the feminist movement stands for much more than equal rights for women, but that it’s about equal rights for everyone – men, women, LGBTQIA, minorities, etc. This is about moving forward together and correcting those things are just not acceptable in our modern society.

In summary, while I commend any woman willing to raise her voice and discuss feminism, I have to question the aim of those two recent Pipe Dream articles. I think it would be more useful to spend some time analyzing the way our culture treats gender in general – objectifying women and demonizing men and ignoring those who deviate from the accepted sexual and gender norms. A discussion of this would be immensely more effective than one dimensional articles based on a confused view of feminism.

Side Note: It would be extremely beneficial for anyone not convinced that our society devalues women to take a look at a documentary that came out in 2011, Miss Representation. In addition, the foundation behind this film, The Representation Project, is coming out with a film later this year analyzing American masculinity. I would highly recommend checking out their website:

Mariah Haley

Class of 2014