Men in LAW

Olivia Baker In 2015, a movement known as “Who Needs Feminism?” surfaced on Tumblr. Contrary to what the title seems to entail, people were asked to write about why they need feminism, why it should be a universal belief. To some, it may come as a surprise that men contributed to the campaign. After all, it’s not an uncommon belief that feminists spite males. But we don’t. Nor do we believe anyone should. Feminism is the advocacy for equality of the sexes— socially, politically, economically, and systematically. So, yes, males participated too. These men are considered allies to the feminist cause. When one thinks of an alliance, perhaps countries come to mind— perhaps wars. Allies, in reference to our school, however, are those that belong to affinity groups, despite identifying as something different than the majority of the members. Their reason? To unite and stand with the oppressed. There are allies among us, among your classmates and teachers. And they are trying to make a difference in the segregated milieu that is the Latin School. Rishav Dasgupta ‘18 is a noted ally. Easily one of the most influential members of LAW, his presence is profound. He frequently shares articles and he’s organized luncheons, but these are only small actions in the grand scheme of all of his contributions— not to mention that he is one of the club’s most active members. And yet, he is one of the only males there. “I believe being in the club introduced me to similarly minded people more than anything else,” Dasgupta said. “I find that LAW is very inclusive and has folded me into one of its ranks.” Feminism seems to run in Dasgupta’s veins— Mira Rani Devi, his grandmother, was an active advocate for women. “She was one of the first women in India to get a divorce. She brought up my father independently and imparted extremely feminist values,” Dasgupta said. Dasgupta explained that his grandmother received her education from “ancestors who were some of the first people in India to found a school for girls, fight against the mistreatment of widows among many other social issues.” Ian Cummins ‘17, also an ally for the club, claims that “[LAW is] a lot more than people make it out to be.” In reality, it’s not girls just talking about feminine things— it’s a lot more than that, he explained.   Dasgupta and Cummins are not the only allies at Latin, contrary to what it may seem. Some would even consider themselves allies without even attending affinity group meetings. But we need allies. According to Nick Duarte ‘19, member of LASO, allies are especially significant. “I would say allies are almost as important as those of the affinity themselves. Allies are the secondary catalysts of more people understanding a person’s struggles of any affinity. An ally can always be appreciated as long as they are empathetic and open minded, but the step further is always finding ways to get others to be equally as open minded,” Duarte said. Affinities need people— who many not necessarily be facing the same struggles— that will stand alongside them. A sense of compassion and sympathy is essential to an alliance. An affinity needs people to acknowledge the imbalances in our society. They need vulnerability, and they need us to break the boundaries of belonging. Because the fabric that holds society together is worn, we are gradually becoming more divided as our differences are amplified. If alliances that break the norm are threads, then maybe we can sew our society back together. Ultimately, as a group of young adults, we need our affinity groups and clubs to be a microcosm of what we want to see in the world— unity and tolerance. We can only achieve that by showing that we care for one another. We can only achieve that by showing we love one another. We can only achieve that by creating alliances. In essence, we need allies because it is the first step. In times when it seems like those in power are trying to separate us by things that are out of our control, we need an intersection of differences and commonality. While LAW is only one of the several identity clubs at this school, it’s the starting point. We can work from there. “Being an ally for LAW is something everyone in the community, who doesn’t identify as a woman, should look to do,” Cummins said. As for Dasgupta, his message encapsulates the idea for all the males reading this: “I have seen a lot of stigma against feminism in the male community. Feminism preaches equality between men and women […] It is okay to be a feminist, and seeing your fellow human as equal does not make you less of a man.” Being an ally doesn’t make us less human. If anything, it can further humanize us. ]]>