Opinions

Women's centre not necessary

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Many aspects of the Canadian feminist movement have become anachronistic, consumed with petty goals. This was not always the case.

Feminism was used as an organizing idea to fight for the rights and equality of women. The righteous goals of feminism have since been entrenched in law, including voting rights, sexual harrassment, and protection for rape victims. There are aspects of feminism that must remain prominent as anything preventing or detering violence against women is an important part of our society. Women's shelters need to exist as long as men have the ability to physically and emotionally dominate women.

The feminist project, conceived in the liberal tradition, has, in large part, succeeded.

Recently, however, Calgary saw an example of unreasonable feminism. A motion was put forward to change the official name of representatives in the Calgary city council from Alderman to Councillor, using the rationale that other councils had taken this step and, in the spirit of equality, Calgary should do the same.

The motion was rightly defeated. It is good to see city council is not intimidated by the forces of political correctness.

Here at the University of Calgary, we have seen another example of feminists trying to do good, but instead overstepping the needs of their constituency. There is currently a campaign to establish a women's centre at the university. The argument for the centre goes as follows: other universities have a women's centre so we should as well; not because we need a centre, just to keep up appearances.

A women's centre would be a total waste of whoever's resources it consumes. Just look at the position of women in the university where our Students' Union president and the majority of students are women. A women's centre is understandable where women are a minority or face some kind of difficulty in achieving their goals, but the U of C is not one of those places.

Instead of looking at Canadian society, today's feminists should focus on people who really need the important ideas feminism has to offer. This means looking to places where women are truly disadvantaged, to places where patriarchal authority is still dominant. Liberal feminism needs to be spread to places around the globe where women face genital mutation and honour killings. This can be accomplished by lobbying the Canadian government, or by promoting micro credit programs.

Micro credit is a program where disadvantaged people gain access to small loans to develop their own enterprise and is geared towards women.

Allowing women to become self-employed, and as such independent, is the first step towards more significant gains. Freedom of any sort always starts in the financial sphere, and through financial freedom women can gain political, social and emotional freedom.

In Canada, we have realized the important goals of the feminist movement, it is time we give this gift to others rather than obsess over petty details.

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Comments

I wish to commend the writer of this article for exemplifying, in part, the goals of Third Wave feminism, which involves diversifying the goals of freedom across boundaries of class, race, nationality, sexual orientation, and physical ability, among other things. As you point out, many goals of the Second Wave, such as protection of women in the law and institutional structures, such as women's shelters, have been achieved (to what degree is the question). We would indeed be correct in supporting cross-cultural networks that already exist, which fight valiantly against abuses of women, sometimes in their own homeland. We're out there, and we're fighting. I would, however, like to point out that pariarchy is at core an idea. Words can promote, counter, eliminate, create, transform, and silence an idea. Words are powerful, and they pervade the unconscious insidiously. If someone were to tell me that I have a right to be where I am and to do what I am doing, but I have to call myself a man in order to attain this right, I would definitely say - YES, words matter. My true and full identity is something worth fighting for.

Sincerely,
Christina Mann,
Activities Representative
Womyn in Action

As a former University of Calgary student, as a woman, and as a feminist I wish to respond to this article by clarifying some of the reasons that a Women's Centre at U of C is necessary.

The University of Calgary is an institution that upholds the ideology of patriarchy, promotes hegemonic masculinity, and supports sexism.
The recent Whiskey night club advertisement featuring a sexually objectified image of a woman with a button reading "Get me drunk and see what happens" is a prime example of the University's 'pro-women' anthem. The under-representation of female professors and upper management also reflects this fine institution's committment to gender equality. The posters that so regularly occupy the spaces above the major stairwells in Mac Hall that, more often than not, feature images of scantily-clad, provocatively posed women promoting one event or another is yet another example of the 'woman-friendly' U of C environment. Myriad courses that make no attempt to include women in the material must simply reflect feminism's success. We MUST have already learned how 'that other half of the population' has contributed somewhere along the way in this equality-focused academic institution. The prevelance of gender-bias, exclusionary language in so many of the courses, the University's notices, this fine newspaper, these must all be examples of the women allowing for some loosening of "political correctness." And the cut-backs to the University's "Safe Walk" program can only be an indicator that feminism has been so successfully integrated into campus life that rape and sexual assault stastics simply do not apply to the university of Calgary.

The idea that the apparent "success" of "liberal" feminism leaves nothing left to do but pursue an imperialist agenda of 'righting' the 'wrongs' of other cultures is exactly a notion which arises from a patriarchal paradigm. The issues that plague Canadian society should be addressed - gender inequality, white supremacy, the continued mis-treatment, mis-representation, and lack of education in regard the First Nations' peoples, prevalent heterosexism, the list does go on and on... And "we" should not wander, self-righteous and arrogant, into other parts of the globe and tell "them" how to do it "our way" - the "right" way. Until equal access to power and freedom from oppression is accomplished feminism has not "been successful."

The author's conclusion that feminism has accomplished all it needs to in 'western' societies is flawed. The battle in City Council was not fought because the title Alderman had been changed elsewhere. It was fought because the continued use of exclusionary langauge has a psychological impact on the people who hear it - it perpetuates the notion that the Councillors are all, in fact, men. Women gaining suffrage, having "equality" in the eyes of the law, or access to economic opportunity does nothing to end the interlocking systems of oppresssion that continue to affect the lived realities of women at the University of Calgary. The prevalence of white supremacy, heterosexism, and misogyny at the University of Calgary may not be apparant to those people who have privilege but it is certainly evident to those who do not. I am certain that with the creation of a positive women's space many female students, faculty, and staff would have access to resources that are not presently available. ie: information about safe and effective birth control (perhaps the author thinks the colored, flavored condoms in the washrooms are enough?)

The University of Calgary is, in essence, a large Men's Centre. The campus is riddled with messages (images, language, advertisements, and course material) that reflect the University's committment to a patriarchal, white supremist, heterosexist, misogynist agenda and the fine president's continued aloofness to the Women's Campus Resource Centre is proof enough of this agenda. The response that the writer of this article has written may as well have been personally endorsed by the president based on his inaction.

Let me be very clear about something, I am not calling for censorship - absolutely not. But while the writer of this piece has a medium for expression where will the many articles, poems, songs, stories, and art works that reflect the responses women may have to it be posted? Here, on the pages of a newspaper that runs ads which objectify and degrade women? On the walls of Mac Hall where similar messages are the norm?

With a Women's Centre on campus the University of Calgary would create safe, respectful space for women to come together and to form community. It is an illusion to believe that the hallowed halls of U of C invite women to feel equal in power to the men around them. The institutionally sanctioned sexism has its best example in the December 6th Memorial - a memorial for women, a day of remembering, a day to bring awareness to issues about women and about the violence that focuses on women, women in institutions of learning in Canada -at which the president stands up and speaks. The man who is president of the University of Calgary speaks out about violence against women and then does not address the issues that promote that violence on the campus.

I am relieved that in the eyes of the author I have "equality" because I would hate to know what his conception of "inequality" looked like.

The majority of sexual assault cases are between women 16-24 and only about 6% of assaults are reported to the police. College-aged women are at an extremely high risk to be a victim of such a crime. I think those stats are incredibly disturbing and if you're going to try and tell me that it's not important to have a safe place for women to come on campus after suffering something like this, then you've probably never spoke to someone who's been through it. The sad thing is, statistically, you probably know someone who has.

The other thing to keep in mind is that a Women's Centre is not just for women who have been physically or sexually abused. It is meant as a safe place to gather information. I agree, all your ideas of self-employment are great, but, what better place to have all the information for opportunities like that then a Women's Centre?

The point that every other University has a Women's Centre is not meant to make the centre sound like a pair of earrings for the University to show off... It is demonstrating that there is obviously a need for a resource centre on campus; the demand is there. It is ignorant to assume that this movement is fuelled to upkeep the Universityís ìappearanceî. Hundreds of women on campus that have been treated unfairly, to various extremes, this year alone who would be eager to explain this to you in a less courteous manner.

I agree that many awful things are happening to women all over the world, and it would be amazing if we could work together to put a stop to that. It's great that women are able to operate so many power positions within the Student's Union, but important to realize that just because itís not as blatant as it once was, gender inequality still existsÖ Illustrated by the fact that sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse is occurring to women every weekend for sure, perhaps every day. On that note, having a Women's Resource Centre allows access to many books, pamphlets and other useful forms of information dealing with local, national and world wide issues regarding womenís rights. It would not be a "total waste" it would be an efficient way of expanding our reach on campus and well beyond Calgary.

We have come a long way in the battle for equality and we still have a long way to go. Inequality in any form suffered by one woman, affects all womenÖit's important to rise up in unity and fight together. A Women's Resource Centre serves many purposes, not just these ìpetty detailsî (as you seem to be describing rape, incest, molestation, sexual & physical assaults) but also for establishing solidarity. A recognized centre will make fundraising much easier and well as give our University access to many books, and other information to further this worthwhile cause.

Dear Gauntlet,

I am not submitting this letter for publication, but rather to express my dismay over the publication of the above noted editorial.

I find it ironic that during Women's History Month The Gauntlet would publish an editorial on why the need does not exist for a Women's Center on campus. I find it disappointing that the resistance to women's space in Canadian society and, apparently, on our campus, has remained relatively unchanged during the duration of the women's movement in Canada.

Mr. Jankovic argues that there is no need for a women's center on campus because women have been granted full equality in Canadian law. His argument, however, is based on the erroneous assumption that because equality is promised in law it is guarantee in practiced. That assumption is exactly the reason why a Women's Center needs to be RE-established on campus. Despite years of feminist activism and much social change, almost every important political, social, cultural, and economic institution is still dominated by men. Yet, few people are aware of the many ways in which women still face systemic discrimination and sexism.

After reading Jankovic's editorial it seems evident to me that a much more prevalent and active women's movement must exist on campus. Women and men must be readily available to challenge erroneous assumptions, such as the one put forward by Jankovic, and to work against the practiced, if illegal, discrimination of women in our society.

Mr. Jankovic is correct; women's legal rights include reproductive rights, workplace equality in recruitment, promotion, compensation, division of labor within the family, recognition of household labor, improved statutory provisions regarding family violence, child support, and child care. Yet even with such significant gains in law, women are still not treated equally.

Case in point: existing gender inequities in employment. Canadian women only make $0.73 for every $1.00 a man makes, even when they do the same or similar work; women are promoted into management and senior executive positions at far lower rates than their male counter parts; women make up 70% of part-time workers; they have fewer benefits and less secure jobs; women occupy only 23% of executive jobs and make up only 16% of those earning $100,000 or more annually; of the top 500 industrial companies in Canada only 13 women hold the position of chief executive officer and only 7.5% are on the boards of directors; women represent only 27% of all doctors, dentists and other health-treating professionals; and women constitute a disproportionate share of the country's low-income population.

If Mr. Jankovic believes that men and women are treated equally under the law, then he must believe that women are, indeed, a far lesser sex for being such failures in the work force and in other facets of society. Attitudes such as his cannot remain unchallenged. Without a venue through which to promote the advancement of women students in every facet of campus and societal life, sexism and the systemic discrimination of women will continue to be rendered a "petty" issue by such gender specific terms as "aldermen" and by such unknowledgeable assumptions as Mr. Jankovic's.

Regretfully,
Michele Decottignies,
Student of Drama
Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts

Yet I still make seventy percent of a man's dollar. Mystifying, isn't it? There is nowhere on campus to go if I am are raped and do not want to contact the police. Another winner. My best bet to find birth control and abortion resources is to stand in a campus bathroom, copying down information off a pink sheet on the wall as people wander in and out. Fantastic. The Gauntlet thinks printing ads that are degrading and demeaning to women is fine (doing the same to a racial minority would be wrong). Swell. Women's Centre, please.

This is a JOKE, right? The author of this article isn't REALLY of the opinion that feminism's purpose has been fulfilled in Canada, and at the University of Calgary; they don't ACTUALLY believe that we, as a society have conquered gender based inequality, and no woman need ever hit the "glass ceiling" nor be afraid to walk across campus to her car at night, nor try to participate in a society where many people still hold to patriarchal attitudes and her efforts will be rewarded by a "there, there dear..." pat on the head.
The IRONY of this article.....this is sooooo clever! HERE IS PROOF the the University of Calgary REQUIRES a Women's Center. IMMEDIATELY. Because if this author is really of this mindset, the women on your campus have got it tougher than even THEY may realize....if this sort of attitude, spoken or, worse yet, just underlying and permiating exsists at that university, the work isn't done. It's barely been started.
And GOOD GRIEF.....genital mutilation is something that should move our society to absolute outrage not because we are women, or feminists, but because we are HUMAN. If the author feels that because women in Canada don't face this kind of human atrocity, feminism's purpose is rendered "anachronistic", even in part....
Nah. This is a JOKE for sure. Right?

People, please be good academics and cite examples or sources when you make defamatory remarks about the university. I'm sure we all know the difference between a reasoned argument and an emotional rant; let's keep this intellectual.

Also, please avoid plagiarizing directly from the September Whiskey e-mail forwards. There are reasons why those particular texts are no longer in wide circulation.

-Ben

An interesting fact, the U of C had a womyn's centre in the 1990's, the centre shut down a few years ago due to lack of interest and lack of participation.

There was a Women's Centre on Campus in the 1990's, that's correct, Mr. Anonymous...I know who you are.....it WAS NOT due to lack of interest. It was because the centre was moved to the basement of Bio Sciences as Mac Hall was being renovated, the Women's Centre was untruthfully told that they could move back into Mac Hall once the renovations were completed...so really we're just waiting for our space....when can we move back?????
It was literally impossible to run a Women's Centre from a closet-sized, inaccessable space in Bio Sciences, women had no idea the centre was even down there in the basement. A Women's Centre on campus must be in a high traffic area where women can access the resources conveniently. Of course it will look like there is no interest when no one knows where it is or that it is even there. Obviously there is interest now, women at the UofC have been asking for a centre for the last year.

Michael Jankovic's article proves the absolute need for a centre, such ignorance shows that a centre which would offer women and men education and resources concerning gender inequality is in IMMEDIATE need. My greatest fear is that a woman may read Mr. Jankovic's piece and not have any where to go to inform herself about the true inequalities women face in Canada and more specifically at the University of Calgary. A women's centre would provide a woman with the information that women make 70% of what a man makes in Canada and that sexual assault, and violence against women run rampant in our society. A Women's Centre would offer a woman safe space to talk about these issues and how she can fight against them in our society.

I find it particularily ironic that a MALE wrote the piece for the Gauntlet on how a Women's Centre is unnecessary on the UofC campus. Does this not further prove the male domination in our society, a male trying to step in and tell feminists what feminism should be focusing on? Feminism is NOT for you Michael!!! Of course genital mutilation (not mutation) is one of many issues feminists focus on. There are many global and local issues which require feminist attention. Feminists at the UofC have decided this is a MAJOR issue and the need for a Women's Centre is obviously crutial, a centre would enable UofC feminists to focus our attention to larger, global issues. Mr. Jankovic I would love to focus my engergy to stopping genital mutilation, but when I am simply fighting for the basics of a space to gather with my fellow women how can I focus my attention elsewhere??

Sincerely,
desiree kopp
Psychology Student

desiree>

You are not holier than anyone else, and your inability to focus attention on multiple tasks is no ones fault other than your own.

You will find that there are women who distain the movement as much as Michael (see this comment for an example).

The campaign for the Women's Centre is predicated on many facts - none of which include a need to "keep up appearances." While the posters around the University may say: ìMost Other Canadian Universities Offer a Womenís Centre ñ Why Donít We?î, they are meant merely to make people start thinking about their environment, and to allow people to begin questioning what type of services our University does and doesn't provide. Simply because the President of the Student Union is a woman and because over 50% of students are female does not in any way indicate that equality exists on our campus. Nor does it mean that the climate on campus for women is as it should be. Services that a Women's Centre would provide potentially include peer counselling, referral services, resources, discussion groups and workshops. The Centre would provide a safe space for women to gather and share their experiences, network and build a community that is open and run by a collective group of women (including students, staff and faculty).

Patriarchy has not disappeared from Canadian society. The reason why people may believe this is because sexism has become so entrenched in our culture that we are not able to recognize it. It has become normalized so that it is not even questioned. To do so would make one seem outside of the norm. Todayís feminists do not obsess over ìpetty details,î instead, they fight the structures that oppress all. Without feminists, women would not have been able to vote or work. But feminists are still needed ñ not to provide womenís shelters, as Jankovic believes, but to completely stop not just the physical and emotional domination of women, but oppression in all spheres.

Tell me Michael, did you forget to do your homework before writing that editorial? I think so. Firstly, the need for a women's centre on campus is not to "keep up appearances". No, the purpose of a women's centre on campus is to provide support for women in an increasingly patriarchal society. Or did you forget that equality does not exist? Forget the law Michael, the reality of women's existence is something like this: women are raped, women are beaten, women desire information on birth control, women desire resources and most of all women desire a safe space to overcome the many inequalities pervasive in our society. This list is not exhaustive, nor does it apply to the needs of all women. However it provides a few reasons why we need a women's centre and certainly questions the logic in your article Michael...tsk tsk....looks like we need a women's centre more than ever.

Tell me Ashlee, did you forget to do your homework before writing that comment? I think so.

Firstly, society has become decreasingly patriarchal, thanks to the work of /real/ feminists before you. Or did you forget that pairty under the law actually exists now?

Forget reality Ashlee, the reality of women's existence is something like this: women are intellectually inept, women are not persons, women are completely clueless about their bodies and reproduction and most of all women desire a safe space to overcome the many inequalities pervasive in our society BY HAVING A CENTER THAT IS JUST FOR THEM, AND NOT THEIR MALE EQUALS. This list is not exhaustive, nor does it apply to the needs of all women. However (I will make a leap of logic in this sentence and say that) it provides a few reasons why we need a women's centre and certainly questions the logic in your post Ashlee (and I will add a condescending) ...tsk tsk.... (instead of an actual argument, for added insult). looks like we need a women's centre more than ever, where your ideas would make sense to /somebody/.

Wow, I'm really blown away by the level of anger shown in some of these comments. That so much vitriole is aimed at women who recognize a need in their own and other's lives and are willing to work for it, for collective good... It amazes me. There's a lot of anger in our society aimed at women (especially feminist women) and minority groups, based on the advances these groups have fought for and partially won over the past several hundred years. That in itself is a reason, for me, why safe places are necessary for targeted groups.

I also believe a Women's Center is a desirable addition to campus life, for many reasons, including those stated by every person who posted in favour of the Women's Centre, and often because of those expressed by people who posted against the Women's Centre, or against individual comments. But there are other reasons, one of which is that a Women's Centre would enrich the quality of life on campus for over half the undergraduate population. Isn't that a good enough reason?

We all deserve safety and equality, but until those ideals are realized, special measures should be taken to ensure that the struggle for them continues.

Please remove all those anti-womyn comments that threaten myself and the womyns cause.
Our opinions should not be subject to this much criticism from men, who don't know what it's like to be womyn.

I must say that the body and content of this article serve to highlight the fact that the author has little conception of the actual purpose of a women's center. There are a plethora of reasons for the presence of a women's center on campus, although I will only highlight on one.

The prevalance of sexual harrasment, assault and rape that goes on at, or between students who attend school at UofC is unbelievable. Especially in places like the den and residence. No matter how emancipated you feel women may be it only takes one man overpowering one woman to make a women's center necessary on our campus.

Alessandro> If a left-handed bagpipe repairman gets raped on campus, then do we need a left-handed bagpipe repairman's center?
Your reasoning is flawed.

It is quite apparent to me that Jancovick could not possibly have fully thought through this article, and this type of thought process may be useful before he spews off opinions such as his, in particular, ignorant opinions that he happens to be sharing with the entire campus community. I encourage him to take some time to educate himself on the next topic he writes about BEFORE writing the article, maybe even having some direct experience with the issues at hand. After all, I do not imagine he has much experience being oppressed off or on the University campus for being female. Though I would be interested to hear about them if he has.

Ahh yes, these comments reek of the incompetent debater who attacks the person and not the ideas they propose. Though almost all opponents parrot that the writer is being uneducated, few rebutt his points, and fewer still offer their own. No one presents informative items such as the percentage of students who wish to pay for a womens center, quantitative or qualitative data about how womens centers across Canada have improved the lives of students, or any kind of plan that would outline the nature of the operations of such a center at the U of C. No, these comments are mostly filled with the following argument:

P1: Women were oppressed
P2: ???
C: We need a womens' center

Though I'm sure such a device would benefit the morale of a certain segment on campus, no one has yet explained how a womens center would benefit women beyond that, or fix the perceived oppression.

I would like to thank and commend everyone who has taken the time to post intelligent rebuttals or supporting arguments in regard to this and any other piece run online or in the paper.

I would, however, like to address a disconcerting opinion that is particularly prevalent when it comes to this article.

The idea that Mr. Jankovic is sexist, or that this paper is ignorant, because he wrote what he wrote or we published it is simple, narrow-minded and ignorant.

Much like many people support the women's centre and have a plethora of reasons for doing so, Jankovic does not support it and states his reasons. These reasons do not stem from a malicious attitude towards women, nor do they stem from a perspective that women are in any way inferior.

While you may not agree with what he writes, don't be so petty and petulant as to suggest he has no right to be critical of the women's centre movement or so beligerent as to suggest it is the paper's duty to censor him.

He has done no wrong by women on this issue, nor have we. He has simply expressed an opinion and we have simply published it. Confront your opposition as you see fit, but don't resort to trying to silence it.

Bailey, you are incorrect. Certainly a student paper should provide a forum for a multitude of voices and opinions. Freedom of speech should definitely be exercised here. But when you, as editor, intervene in that free exchange to defend one party, to take a personal position in his defense, you, and the paper, have compromised what should be the neutral position of the paper. Mr. Jankovic has the right to hold and express any opinion he might have about a Campus Women's Centre - having that right does not guarantee that it will not be exercised from a position of ignorance. Mr. Jankovic should have thought long and hard before entering this fray. He should have asked himself why he, as a young man, feels that he has any actual authority to tell women that their expressed needs are "petty", that he knows better than they what they really need and deserve. The comfort he feels in voicing these (ignorant, misinformed, and misogynist) opnions derives from a patriarichal social structure that allows, and encourages, men to believe they have the superior knowledge. That he feels so comfortable in his position, and that you have no reservation in defending him, are indications in themselves of why a women's centre is still so necessary.

The fact that you (Bailey) support this writer's "free speech", is very disheartening to read. Did you even read his article? Did you edit it? If you did edit it, it must have at least occurred to you that his explicit intention was to offend certain readers, while drumming up support from others (like the "Anonymous Coward").

My question to you then is, do you support his views? Simply put, you and your writers are in a position of privilege. This means that you must exercise an even greater amount of responsibility with that privilege, to NOT offend, marginalize, belittle (in reference to the "petty" comment), and discriminate against the collective experiences of your readers.

I for one would prefer that women ran the whole planet! At least then minorities and other women may have greater, and more equal opportunities for advancement. Haven't men in positions of power and authority, done enough damage already? Ahhh, but the deck is stacked in favour of male dominance, and I suppose you thought that we all needed a little reminder of that by even printing his "article".

To be fair, why don't you get your writer to exercise his "free speech" and TRUTHFULLY comment on Canadian Immigration policy, Systemic Racism, or Canada's History of Slavery, to name a few. Or are these topics too "petty" as well?

Question:
Why does the existence of a Women's Centre on campus threaten some men so much?

Answer:
"I'll take, "Loss of Power" for $100 please Alex."

Derrick and Bailey Questioner,

I am not in any way defending Michael's opinion but rather his right to state it.

Bailey Questioner: You are correct, a student paper should provide a multitude of voices and this is just one of them. Two weeks ago, Emily Elder wrote a piece for us that was critical of our approach to advertising and we were more than happy to run it. Emily and I have discussed the topic on a number of occasions. She is also currently working with our Features department on a piece about the Women's Centre movement.

By the same token, Jankovic has an opinion in regards to feminism and a women's centre, one not born of a sexist viewpoint or disdain for women, contrary to the prevailing opinion in these responses, and I have no problem allowing him to express it.

The Gauntlet is a forum for student viewpoints and student discussion and I will always support that vehemnetly. I am not defending Jankovic's viewpoint, I am defending his right to express it. Much like I defend Elder's right to express hers and anyone else who takes the time to contribute to the paper.

Derrick: Have you bothered to read anything else Michael has written for us? He is not an antagonistic columnist who goads groups to get them to react. There are a number of those who have written for the Gauntlet in the past and there will undoubtedly be more in the future, however a simple 15 minute glance at Jankovic's previous columns will reveal him as an intelligent, thoughtful individual who seeks to state his opinion for the sake of stating it, not for the sake of riling people up.

I have said my piece on this matter and won't post any further. I support all of my writers (and future writers) in the sense that I respect their willingness to contribute to discourse on campus, much like I support those who take the time to respond intelligently to their opinions.

I have no respect for emotional rants, regurgitations of others opinions or those who seek to silence opinions they disagree with.

It is absolutely inappropriate that the editor of a newspaper would make comments such as these:

"I would, however, like to address a disconcerting opinion that is particularly prevalent when it comes to this article."

This editor is concerned about silencing and judging others' opinions, yet judges the opinions of those writing in response to this article.

"The idea that Mr. Jankovic is sexist, or that this paper is ignorant, because he wrote what he wrote or we published it is simple, narrow-minded and ignorant."

Again, I am amazed that an editor would write things like this. It is the right of people to think the author of the article is ignorant and sexist, and it is in no way the editor's place to defend the author's character. It is very possible the author is sexist and ignorant, and his article can still be run and people can still respond to it. It is very odd that the editor is defending this person.

Secondly, the editor tries to present him/herself as only defending the right of the author to write their opinion and the paper's right to print it. However, repeatedly, the editor strays and defends the author's motives and attacks dissenters.

"Much like many people support the women's centre and have a plethora of reasons for doing so, Jankovic does not support it and states his reasons. These reasons do not stem from a malicious attitude towards women, nor do they stem from a perspective that women are in any way inferior."

Again, this is unsubstantiated and out of line. The editor has no way of knowing the author's personal reasons for penning this article. The author may very well have a malicious attitude toward women. This paper can still run this article and defend the right to run it, but this paper does not have the right to define the motives of writer's.

"While you may not agree with what he writes, don't be so petty and petulant as to suggest he has no right to be critical of the women's centre movement or so beligerent as to suggest it is the paper's duty to censor him."

Calling the people who responded to a controversial article, "petty and petulant" is highly unprofessional. Editor, do not you question the fact that you are even taking part in this discussion?

"He has done no wrong by women on this issue, nor have we. He has simply expressed an opinion and we have simply published it. Confront your opposition as you see fit, but don't resort to trying to silence it."

Here an opinion is being expressed that is very much a personal view. The editor says the author has wronged no women, yet obviously he has at least morally and/or politically offended some women. Editor, you seem wrapped up in trying to defend your paper, yet you repeatedly defend the motives of the article author. The only possibly acceptable way you should have gotten involved in this issue, in your capacity as editor, was to state simply that the views of individual articles are not the views held by the paper, and that you believe in freedom of speech. The insulting comments you make towards dissenters to this article act alone to silence other people's opinions. Opinions can be ignorant or unresearched, and the paper can still print them; however, it is not okay for the supposedly impartial editor of a paper to define the motives of authors and then verbally attack people who disagree with an author.

First, I would encourage people to keep the discussion on the topic at hand, and not to resort to personal attacks that prove nothing other than to show personal incompetence at debate.

Second, in response to e-mails about the subject, I WILL NOT remove any comments for the only reason that you think they "undermine the feminist position," whatever that means. Nor do I respond well to threats based on information gleaned from the telephone book. Your arguments will have to stand or fail on their own merits. Sorry.

Third, I encourage you to read carefully before replying, and possibly to sit and reflect on your responses before posting them. You may find that what you think you read, and what you intended to write are not what appear on the screen, though I will not stop you from embarrassing yourselves.

-Ben

Just because women comprise of half of all students doesn't mean that we don't face oppressions based on our sex. Women comprise of half of the population in general and certainly that never prevented us from being oppressed- we may arrive on campus in equal numbers but in how many classrooms do women dominate men? In all of my political science classes, regardless of gender parity, men dominate conversations and take up WAY more space- even when they don't intend to.
Don't tell us that the real problem is needing to spread liberal feminism around- that's both ignorant and imperialistic. It is not up to the women of the industrialized countries to 'free women' from 'less civilized' nations- Laura Bush's pleas for the women of Afghanistan are more about racism and justification for war than they are about feminism. I'll leave it up to the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan to set the agenda for their particular feminist goal. And don't tell us that women in industrialized countries are 'free'. We live in a culture where men produce 90% of culture and politics, where men own 99% of major property, where the G8 leaders who met in Calgary were all MEN. Western women don't have to be mutilated under repressive regimes- we do it on purpose! through plastic surgery, a fact that many feminists from the Global South have noted with irony.

Of Thatcher, Campbell and Fiorina, none needed a womens' center to get to where they are/were.

It is easy to internalize success and externalize failure. It can be difficult to take responsibility for one's own actions.

As I stated in my direct e-mail:
Maybe this is one of the reasons the U. of C. is what? 36th on the list of Universities to attend in Canada?
Disgusted Calgarian
Ruth McMurray

"Derrick: Have you bothered to read anything else Michael has written for us? ...bla bla bla....however a simple 15 minute glance at Jankovic's previous columns will reveal him as an intelligent, thoughtful individual who seeks to state his opinion for the sake of stating it, not for the sake of riling people up."

Are you saying Bailey that you didn't think that it would "rile people up" what Jankovic said? To prove a point, why don't you read the article out loud amongst a group of womyn and see if it riles them up. As for reading Jankovic's other articles, you know what they say about first impressions. While he might be able to write or speak intelligently about other topics, his opinion in this article simply put, is OPPRESIVE TO WOMEN! And try as you might to defend his intelligence, I personally think it is an unworthy cause. He benefits from Patriarchy, and in my view, he likes it that way. He'll do whatever is in his power, which includes being given the opportunity to write for the school newspaper, to make sure that he does not lose that power and privilege. He has a right to his opinion, as you do, as I do. However, my opinions support my fellow female students, because as a man of colour, I know what oppression is. And it is Jankovic's opinion and men like him that seek support to continue with oppression in this country, simply because it benefits their social position to oppress.

You can make concessions for him as much as you want, it will not change his point of view, nor will it change mine.

However, I will give you this praise. Upon further reflection, I am glad that you ran his article. Canadian's love to believe that racism, sexism, and all the other negative 'isms' don't exist in society any longer. By publishing his article you have stirred up so much support and neccessity for a womyn's centre, that it may have a counter affect on his wishes to NOT have a Centre. So Bravo! Keep em' coming! Maybe you could get him to write about Affirmative Action next, because all that is happening here is you guys are providing fuel for the fire.

I am dismayed to see this discussion of a relatively important issue degenerate into ad hominem attacks thrown back and forth between two seemingly pre-ordained factions.

Here's a newsflash: You don't have to be a mysoginist to oppose a women's centre. In fact, many women disagree with it. Does that mean that they're stupid or old-fashioned? No! It simply means that they are astute enough to see the true nature of the proposal - a wanton squandering of resources to placate a whining, outspoken minority of the population.

Please! Wake up and realize that extremist feminism is ruining our society, draining what little excitement was left by depriving us our our humanity. Feminist zealots have reached new lows, attacking their stated allies even on our campus!

There are places in the industrialized world - my temporary home of Japan, for instance - where women don't even realize that they should be afforded the same basic rights as men. Not to mention the millions of women in the world's developing world who are treated like animals. Pull your heads out of the sand - The battle on the home front has been won! It's time to shift your attention to places in the world that still need help.