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October 09, 2013 - Image 4

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4A -- Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Wednesday, October 9, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

C l e Michioan* l 4:)atlv

Do I deserve to be afeminist?

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Federal inaction, local effects
The shutdown could have huge ramifications for higher education
T he current federal government shutdown - now in its second
week - is costing the state of Michigan about $18 million per day
according to the state's budget director. There have been many
"threats" and "warnings" from both parties, yet there appears to be no
end in sight. While there have been major repercussions across the board,
the shutdown has already induced huge ramifications for higher educa-
tion. If the shutdown continues, which very well may be the case, the
effects on University students could be astounding.

B eing an immature male and
a. self-identifying feminist
can be tough sometimes. I
mean, it's not
ination tough.
But still, as
someone who JAKE
strives to be an OFFENHARTZ
ally to all those
fighting misog-
yny-on the front
lines, I often find myself in trouble-
some moral quandaries.
What is my responsibility, for
example, ifa friend of mine cat-calls
a group of scantily clad sorority girls
outside of Rick's? What is my expect-
ed response to the "Bitch, make me
a sandwich" humor that still gets a
cheap laugh while watching foot-
ball? Duringmoments like this - fre-
quent as they are - is it my duty as
an Emma Goldman-loving, Jezebel-
reading male to halt the conversa-
tion, to condemn the comment as
sexist while debunking the myth that
all feminists hate men?
Regardless of whether or not
I have an obligation to speak out
against anti-women speech, I almost
never do. Admittedly, cowardice and
ignorance play a role in my silence,
as I am neither courageous nor
informed enough to intelligently
expound upon the ways in which
hate speech can contribute to often-
ignored gender inequalities. Even if I
were equipped with Mother Teresa's
bravery and Virginia Woolf's elo-
quence, I'd still be hesitant to assert
my feminist ideals in response to a
friend's demeaning language.
But, this has less to do with my
male-feminist identity than it does
with the fact that I - as a 20-year-
old with a juvenile sense of humor -
am sometimes a total shithead. Sure,

I make a conscious effort to avoid
the garden-variety misogyny that
plagues the vocabulary of some of my
peers, but in other respects I can be
narrow-minded and insensitive.
The truth of the matter is that
just as assholes can be feminists,
well-intentioned people sometimes
use sexist language to degrade
women. I'm not saying it's OK - it
totally isn't. I truly believe that
the seemingly harmless act of slut-
shaming girls outside a bar can
contribute to the victim-blaming
rhetoric that so harmfully pervades
our culture. That said, the moral
ground I currently stand on is sim-
ply not sturdy enough for me to feel
comfortable reprimanding a friend
for this all-too-common transgres-
sion. How then, do I define my role
as a male feminist?
For me, being a male feminist
means acknowledging that my
straight, male identity puts me at
place of enormous privilege in our
patriarchal society. It means rec-
ognizing that
societal con-
structions ofgen- There's n
der have led us
to falsely equate of Fem
ity with power can ca
and femininity
with weakness. Status
It means accept-
ing the fact that
words have the power to perpetu-
ate double standards - so that the
word "bitch" being synonymous
with both non-submissive women
and effeminate men is problematic.
Part of me, though, realizes it's
unfair to.expect everyone to know
or agree with these basic tenets
of feminist theory. Discussions
of social constructions and the
patriarchy take place in University
classrooms so that - just as privi-
lege begets privilege - privilege
also begets the study of oppression.
The part of me that realizes this is,

in many ways, responsible for my
rarely criticizing those who verbal-
ly encroach on my feminist ideals.
Therefore, the matters that I'm
passionate enough to espouse publi-
cally tend to be of the sort that any
basic egalitarian would be outraged
over. It's absolutely appalling to me
that one in four women will be vic-
tims of rape or attempted rape before
graduating college. It's embarrassing
that - 50 years after President John
F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay
Act - women are still paid on aver-
age 77 cents for every dollar made
by men. It's more than unforgivable
that educated members of the media
think women breadwinners are anti-
science and it's a crying shame that
rich, old - uterus-less - men insist
on controlling the debate about abor-
tion. while feminism seeks to illumi-
nate these systematic discrepancies
as institution-based, the mere recog-
nition that all persons deserve equal-
ityisn't cause for radical association.
Do I deserve to call myself a
feminist then,
or is my self-
President identification
just some men-
inism IJ tal gymnastic
to exchange
ll for a accountability
for credibility?
report. The answer
to that ques-
tion remains
uncertain, as there's no President
of Feminism I can call for a status
report. In the meantime, here's
hoping our culture will one day
reject rigid gender norms and all
forms of subjugation, that unequal
pay will soon be a thing of the past
and rape statistics won't make me
wish my little sister would just go to
college online. When that day does
come, this petty matter of labeling
can finally be put to rest.
-Jake Offenhartz can be
reached at jakeoff@umich.edu.


The federal government shutdown has
paused the U.S. Department of Education's
Office for Civil Rights' current investigations
of universities suspected ofviolating mandates
of Title IX - the federal gender equality law
- by mishandling of sexual violence on their
campuses. The processing of Clery Act com-
plaints - filed by students and faculty about
college's reporting of safety and security -
as well as follow-up on resolved complaints
and reforms in college policies have also been
halted. Crimes concerning sexual assault
are extremely time-sensitive issues, and not
addressing them in a prompt manner might
undo the steps that have been taken to make
collegiate handling of sexual violence more
transparent and fair.
Federal research funding has been stalled,
and all associated agencies have had to close
their doors. Federal scientists - deemed
nonessential - have had to drop their work,
meaning the large community of researchers
at academic institutions were forced to halt
their ongoing projects. The University itself
might see reduction in federal research as
federal sponsorship accounts for about 62 per-
cent of the University's total research volume.
Research projects funded through contracts
rather than grants, or awaiting federal regu-
latory approval, are on hold. The University
has also stalled the process for obtaining new
awards for research. In addition, many federal
electronic databases regularly used as schol-

arly resources in academic work and research
papers aren't being updated, including those
of the Library of Congress, the U.S. Census
Bureau, the National Science Foundation and
the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S.
Department of Commerce.
Military service academies have also been
affected. Some immediate consequences
include shutdown of the U.S. Merchant Marine:
Academy in NewYork, along with classes being
cancelled at other academic institutions.At the
schools still holding classes, such as the Air
Force Academy, students can't access books at
the library, tutoring centers or resources from
the mediadue to cuts in academic sources. Here
at the University, the Gerald R. Ford Presiden-
tial Library on North Campus remains closed.
These serious impediments are, however,
fairly immediate - an elongated shutdown
could cause immense difficulties in numer-
ous other areas. The need-based Pell Grant
and federal student loans have been affected
- most of the employees overseeing the pro-
grams have been furloughed - making it dif-
ficult for recipientsto get answersto questions.
However, a longer shutdown could reduce
federal funding in this area. Federal funding
also goes beyond tuition for some college stu-
dents; food subsidies, grants and loans for stu-
dent housing all come from the government.
These disagreements must end to eliminate the
stranglehold on college students and the rest of
the American people.


Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan, Eli Cahan,
Eric Ferguson, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts,
Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
How learned to be white

A student-friendly GOP

Critiques of the Republican Party haven't
been in short supply lately. Awkward sexist
gaffes - hello, legitimate rape - and a stub-
born government shutdown have led many'
to throw their hands up at the second largest
American political party. But, even though it
looks bad, the Grand Old Party isn't beyond
repair. If the party wants to win over tradi-
tionally liberal students - who have been
turning out to the polls in record numbers
- they have to ditch backward policies and
update their platform to accommodate a
changing world. Here are a few suggestions
to help the Republicans do just that.
First, stay out of our bedrooms. The "party
of personal freedom" has no business telling
us when we can or cannot use birth control or
who can marry whom. According to a study
by social work Assistant Prof. Michael Wood-
ford, 68 percent of heterosexual Michigan
students support same-sex marriage. Oppos-
ing equal rights has always put the offend-
ing party on the wrong side of history. If the
Republicans want any sort of resurgence
among students, they must reverse this trend
of ignorance and inequality.
Perhaps most pressingly, take charge of
the healthcare debate. Most Americans still
don't like the Affordable Care Act, or at least
don't fully support it. While it's great that
the ACA gives healthcare to more uninsured
Americans, the bill is still nothing more than
a Band-Aid fix. Until hospitals stop charging
insurance companies - and now the govern-
Ment - $70 for an antibiotic that costs six
cents to manufacture, the healthcare debate
will not end. If the Republican Party can
come up with a solution to do away with this
ridiculous inflation and lower healthcare
costs across the board, it will surely expand
their constituency.
But that means they must shut up and
compromise. According to Federalist Paper
10, a democracy is supposed to mediate
between different factions. By design of the
idolized founding fathers, the Republicans
can't get their way all the time. They'll need
to work with the - gasp! - liberal agenda if
they expect the liberals to work with theirs.
Maybe they'll even stop a few government
shutdowns in the process.
Next, stop being sexist. Most Republican
politicians don't want to marginalize women,
but sometimes that's what their policies do.

Common-sense policies such as equal rights
and pay shouldn't be divided by partisan
politics. They also need to leave the abortion
issue alone. No legislator has the power to do
anything about Roe v. Wade. The Republi-
cans would be wise to ignore this issue and
spend their political capital elsewhere.
This capital would be best spent playing
to their strength - the economy. Polls con-
sistently show that more Americans trust the
Republicans to handle the economy. Repub-
licans need to stop fighting with Democrats
over social issues and work on ways to reform
the many government structures that inhibit
economic growth.
And they can do that by working the media.
The Democrats frequently play the "cool kid"
card by appearing on talk shows and new
media outlets frequently visited by students.
The Republicans rarely, if ever, appear on
non-traditional news. sources - as in, any-
thing but Fox News. Some of President Ron-
ald Reagan's success can be attributed to his
ability to use media to his advantage. Instead
of complaining about media bias, modern
Republicans need to use new media sources
to change their stuffy public image.
And lastly, Republicans need to sup-
port education. Education is a capital good
with strong spillover benefits. Good schools
can singlehandedly reduce crime, reduce
income disparity without having to redistrib-
ute wealth and ensure long-term economic
growth by investing in future laborers, lead-
ers, professionals and capitalists. There's
absolutely no excuse for the Republicans
not to support every effort to improve edu-
cation and education funding at all levels.
Strong primary and secondary schools give
students a solid foundation for later work
and education. Strong public universities
help get promising impoverished students
into quality institutions. The students then
often go back to their original hometowns or
cities and elicit real change for those areas.
It's clear that meaningful education can do
,more to solve social disparity than other fed-
eral programs ever could. It could also reduce
welfare dependence.
These goals could legitimize the Republi-
can Party and make it slightly more attractive
to younger generations.
Victoria Noble is.an LSA freshman.

At birth, I entered the lifelong
process of blindly learning what
it means to be white. Life coaches
bestowed the notion of whiteness in
me - my parents, peers, teachers,
institutions, media, song lyrics, legal
system, schools and countless oth-
ers. Through an unspoken process of
socialization, I have learned how to
be white.'
At just four months old, my par-
ents left a country filled with blood-
shed, hatred and nationalism in the
hopes of finding a utopia called
America. Instead, they found the
same deathly and suffocating grip
choking the people of the United
States. It was no longer just religion
that simply divided people: It was
race. *
At age two, my parents were
already socialized by American
society which included adopting
the notion of separation and oppres-
sion along racial divides. They soon
learned that this country was quick
to assume, doubt, ignore, belittle,
torture and deny based on the color
of one's skin. Now, America looks
onto Bosnia and its civil war as a
senseless affair between ignorant
Bold statement from a country
with a similar history.
At age five, Ruby and I were
lumped together in preschool,
because our teacher assumed that
her non-white dialect and my non-
English accent went well together
and made us equally un-American.
At age seven, I desperately wanted
my hair to be braided with pink clips
and beads on the ends, but an unspo-

ken and uncomfortable exchange
between my mother and the hair-
dresser ensued that proved silent
resistance could be overlooked in
order to appropriate someone else's
At age eight, my parents climbed
the social ladder and moved away
from the poor inner city.
At age eight and a half, my parents
started to lock their car doors when
they wandered back to their old
At age nine, my whitewashed
town grew afraid of others after 9/11.
At age 10, my father pointed out
the factories piled in Detroit and
told me that all I would have to do
in order to avoid the assembly line
would be to work hard in school.
At age 12, the evening news
showed white individuals and lumps
of color.
At age 13, I learned the world his-
tory of white conquerors and saviors
who acquired God's duty to spread
civilization to the rest of the world.
At age 14,I moved to a rich, white
area to go to a better school, and soon
learned to ignore the too-close-for-
comfort "ghetto" separated by an
invisible border of high taxes.
At age 15, the cool kids in high
school bonded over creating their
own racial slur.
At age 16, my role models included
all of my teachers at school - all of
them white.
At age 17, I let my head bob to the
rhythm of lyrics and beats produced
by a different race: by a different
world ridden by a struggle I will
never experience.

At age 18, I watched the masses
of my affluent white peers receive
academic awards while the handful
of black students received athletic
At the University, I thought the
campus was very diverse and wel-
At the University, my he'artbeat
quickened when a black man was
walking towards me at night.
At the University, my slight accent
attracted inquisitive comments, and
my response of being born in Bosnia
made me seem interesting and cool
while immigrants of color received
snickers and were negatively regard-
ed as "fresh off the boat."
At the University, my white guilt
drove me to smile excessively at peo-
ple of color as they walked by.
At the University, no one demand-
ed that I speak without an accent,
while others rolled their eyes when a
foreign GSI entered the room.
At the University, I am heard, lis-
tened to and respected.
At the University, myvoice belongs
to me and does not speak for all peo-
ple of my same identity.
At the University, I am free to be
me. No questions asked. No assump-
tions made. No threats hurled.
At this very moment, one question
lurks: What I am to do with what I
have learned?
What would you do? I dare you to
take ownership of your education.
Disrupt the cycle of bombarding
messages, teachings of white norms
and suffocating reinforcements.
Maja Tosic is an LSA senior.

Think about it this way. The American
people do not get to demand a ransom
for doing their jobs."
- President Barack Obama said regarding his phone call with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Obama said in a news conference that he would not negotiate over raising the nation's debt limit.



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