Initially, my college career did not start on the campus of UAlbany. I attended another university my freshman year of college. Any freshman in history can resonate with that first obscure week or even month of settling in. Luckily as we have here at UAlbany, my previous institution held the very much needed freshman seminar! I left home anxious, ready to embark on my college experience, only to receive another email letting us know that a “Ladies Only” meeting was scheduled. I did not think much of it at the time, finding the idea of such a meeting to be funny. The fact that they had to separate us from the males and explain the extra cautions we had to take to protect ourselves and each other, simply because we were born with different bodily makeups was actually not much of a laughing matter.
I resided on campus, University Terrace was the name of my dorm building. My resident director referred to all 476 female students living in that dorm my term as “UT Queens”. We did not have a curfew, but really, we might as well have. There were no males allowed, no visiting hours, no leniency when it came to the guys. Every female was literally hawked over (funny thing, the university’s mascot was a hawk.) and sheltered from the guys attending the university. In retrospect I marvel, ” Were we not UT Queens?” Why were we not able to make responsible, respectable decisions ourselves? After all, we did make it to college. What were we being guarded from? It is those specific actions that diminish females’ chance of equality unknowingly. Right off the bat we are protected and cushioned, from nothing really. The misfortunes females can stumble upon can happen to anyone. Excluding certain things that our anatomies make impossible to occur between the other sex, we are just as able as the guy sitting next to us in class.
Here at UAlbany, it may not exactly be the case, being that all dorms are co-ed, however sitting in an 8:45 am lecture as tired and annoyed as anyone else, it is the female that falls subject to being “hit on” by an admiring colleague. Recently when participating in one of the workouts in my 10:15am Italian class, after introducing myself in the taught language; my partner felt comfortable to say, “You look good for being up this early”.
Thanks, but really no thanks. Ultimately I did not attend class to be flattered. I came to learn and preferably not to deal with flirtatious gestures so early in the morning. Bringing me to the inquiry: How can we as female students reclaim our personal space in public? It has been questioned and addressed throughout generations in many societies over and over – the negligence of women rights. It is nothing new.
The video above was posted because of its relevance to this blog post.
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With that being the case, perhaps we can try something new! In order for college students to become the next operational generation, we must use our power. It is in our hands! Many are familiar with the quote, “you have to give respect to get respect”, but it does not seem that everyone is guided by that saying; We must remain adamant about our rights, our space, or whatever it is we need to be truly seen until it is eventually acquired. Instead of getting an attitude, as I sometimes catch myself doing, if each female articulated her dislike on matters of equality every time offences occurred, society would have no choice but to respect our choices. I do think it is unfair that we even have to express our resentment as it should already be understood. Yet if something has long been taught to be acceptable, it is in our favor to correct the behavior.
Overall, it seems second nature to aim to protect our females; in retrospect I have always had to report my whereabouts, or “stay with a partner”. Perhaps the goal should be to teach those who don’t realize the misbehavior in their actions to respect rather than protect us women. Males are not the only ones responsible for the unjust treatment of women, there are females that can be held accountable for our struggle to equity as well.
It is as simple as treating others as you wish to be treated. If we asked a guy if they’d like to be approached in a coquettish manner endlessly throughout their day, we would probably get a chuckle and a “yes.” We know that, in reality, they would, more than likely, feel just as annoyed and insulted . All in all, explaining that to whomever, regardless of how much time it takes and how much such a conversation may be out of our comfort zones, we cannot expect change without lobbying for it!
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About the Author:
Asha P. Class of 2016 | Transfer Major: Communication Minor: Psychology Spring 2016 Blog Theme: Woman A Loud