Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Title IX on a silver platter

The Sundial, California State University at Northridge's student paper, published a column on Title IX by a self-proclaimed feminist. Now I am not usually one to criticize an individual's brand of feminism--at least not in a public forum--but someone who starts a column "I'm pretty sure Title IX was created to appease feminists such as myself" (italics mine) needs to look into how Title IX came about.
She goes on to write "I'm a firm believer that women should fight for the rights they receive. If you want something, do the work yourself--don't sit back and wait for change." I support the not sitting back and waiting for change part but the rest of it and the columnist's understanding of Title IX indicate a somewhat misguided understanding of feminist history. For example, the belief that we have to fight for any rights that are simply provided to others sets up a bad precedent, one that has been used actually in attempts to weaken Title IX: women just are not interested so they should not be receiving opportunities in equal numbers as men who, clearly, are more interested. In other words, we have to prove worthiness.
Also the columnist makes it seem like Title IX was just handed to feminists on a silver platter. Congress was feeling magnanimous one day and said "here, how about some equality in education for you ladies? Would you like that?" Feminists, like Bernice Sandler and activists from the Women's Equity Action League, fought for the rights Title IX brought. And so many others have continued the fight. The columnist is mistaken if she believes that since the law was passed feminists have moved on to other things. Today, as groups like Equity in Athletics, challenge the most basic tenets of Title IX, it is clear that the fight is nowhere near its end.

No comments: