UWO Women’s Center
Campus Center for Equity & Diversity
717 W. Irving Ave.
Oshkosh, WI 54901
Spring 2023 Hours:
Male Allies Blog
A Poem for Women
Written by Dan, Former Women’s Center Intern
You are appreciated
From your intellect to your dialect.
You are beautiful
No matter the size or skin tone.
You are courageous
Because you do not let words define you.
You are dazzling
Because you are determined.
You are exquisite
Because you are brilliant.
You are fascinating
Because you are who you are.
You are gorgeous,
Because you are strong.
You are honored,
As my time here at the Women’s Center is slowing approaching an end, I can truly say it has been an enlightening experience – and an essential experience for my personal intellectual growth as a young male. My involvement at the Women’s Center has broadened my understanding of feminism; it has engineered me to think of women perspectives more often, and the sophistication of many feminist authors that I have read has made me familiar with the different concepts of feminism. In my future endeavors I want to promote equality to all women and men in the workforce, in politics, and in society in general.
Byron Hurt, in Feminist Men, says, “I decided that I loved feminists and embraced feminism. Not only does feminism give woman a voice, but it also clears the way for men to free themselves from the stranglehold of traditional masculinity. When we hurt the women in our lives, we hurt ourselves, and we hurt our community, too.” (Women’s Voices Feminist Visions p. 716)
I truly believe in Hurt’s comment on embracing feminism and men freeing themselves of masculinity. Women can do as much a man can and as a society we have made great strides in pressuring this ideal society but there is still more room for improvement. As a people we need to continue to empower, embrace and inform ourselves on women’s issues in our society.
Women are the backbones of our families, the care takers of many, and the reason why we as a people are here in this world. By discriminating women from job opportunities, discriminating women in wages, and treating women as 2nd class citizens we will continue to hurt women in our lives and in our community.
The Women’s Center on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus is a great place to academically get involve, a great place to do homework, and it is great for resources on campus. It is also a healthy place for positive conversations, nice vibes and one can experience a warm feeling while in the Women’ Center because of the free tea offered.
An inspirational woman, Lauren Amarante, once said, “You could have a millions ideas, but they’re all worthless if you don’t get them done.” I am a very creative person with numerous ideas and my internship gave me an opportunity to create something tangible. I engineered a sustainable event for the Women’s Center about sex education. My goals for this event was to make it interactive, fun and informative for students.
In order to make a difficult topic more approachable and enjoyable, I created a Jeopardy game which allowed for group participation and an interactive learning environment. This promotes greater awareness about issues related to sexual activity, including the definition of consent, historical facts, media literacy, and how to practice safe sex.
“Let’s Talk About Sex”, was an event organized by The Sisterhood on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Because the Women’s Center Director is a co-advisor for The Sisterhood, I was able to utilize this Jeopardy game to meet the learning outcome needs of the program. I was fortunate to be the host for the event. The Sisterhood is open to all women on campus that seek to improve their personal and professional goals while focusing on leadership and career development, but is geared towards empowering women of color.
The event attendance was great, with a diverse crowd of thirty-nine people. There was also a health advocate from the campus health department in attendance to talk about proper use of male and female condoms, dental dams, and safe sex practices. The reviews of the game were pleasant to read and many students wanted to see more educational events, like the Educational Sex Jeopardy Game I hosted.
Some things I learned while assembling and preparing for the event were unexpected. The topics I chose were consent, safe sex practices, sex in popular culture, history of sex, and the social construction of virginity. As a male, this was educational for me because I never knew about how women’s bodies were discussed historically until I researched it for the jeopardy game. Also the information I obtained about the use of virginity tests to control women was eye opening.
For the game to be successful, I ensured that every question and answer would be easily understood by the audience. Sex in the media (popular culture) is a current, hot topic so I thought it was very appropriate for the Jeopardy game. This portion of the game was for the audience to reflect on a particular song and demonstrate their analytical skills by explaining what the song tells about sex and relationship issues. It was a deep and incisive section of the Jeopardy Game. This section was sexually enlightenment to males as well as females because the explanations of the answer were thought provoking.
Discussing a topic like sex can be radical for most and I wanted to make it were it was easy to talk about. For every question that was answered I gave a brief history contextualizing the answer, for example, the question would state “ The man who invented birth control in 1951”, and depending on if the team answered correctly, I would follow up on a brief history on the answer. “Gregory Goodwin Pincus received his BS from Cornell University and in 1927 he received his MS and PHD from Harvard University. He was doctor, scientist and biologist.” This portion of the Jeopardy game was really enjoyed by the audience because it was material that most never knew before.
Overall I believe the event was an accomplishment for me because I created an event for the first time and it was a success. I really have learned a lot while being here at the Women’s Center and I will definitely apply what I have learned in my future career and how I look at society as an educated black male.
The Women’s Center at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is a great place for women and men to connect and understand each other. The Women’s Center not only serves women’s issues, but also help to inform men on how to be allies to women. There is a need for men to be allies to women in order to achieve equality for all – and for the simple fact that there are struggles associated with being a woman in today’s world, even though great strides have been achieved. Some struggles include unequal wage gaps in careers, street harassment and trafficking.
My experience here as an intern has been interesting because I have been learning about the issues that women face in education especially, and how the Women’s Center’s events address them. I’m also interested in an independent research study that investigates the usage of the Women’s Center amongst African American females. The focus of my research would be to understand how to increase the usage of the Women’s Center amongst African American females on campus. From my readings, I have found that African American females share common experiences of being Black women in a society that denigrates women of African descent.
Because the two part-time staff at the Women’s Center are both white women, that could appear to create a barrier for African American women. However, the Women’s Center does have programs that deal with topics related to race and gender. The events I have attended are very inclusive and deal with many interesting topics that doesn’t exclude discussion about race and ethnicity. As a male ally, I think the Women’s Center events are very useful for all women no matter their background. For example, a Feminist* Film Series event with Reeve Union’s Diversity and Inclusion Programs, How to Lose Your Virginity, confronts one of the last prohibited discussions of sex in our culture. This film is relatable and touching for all women of all ages and ethnicities.
A book titled Black Feminist Thought, by Patricia Hill Collins, gives insight on African American women, and women in general: “A woman must be her own model as well as the artist, attending, creating, learning from, realizing the model, which is to say, herself (25). This quote is very visual to me and reminds me of how the Women’s Center models itself to women on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus. The Women’s Center is attempting to do just this in recognizing all women on campus. The many events sponsored by the Center address that women are capable of accomplishing anything they want too and how each must learn to be proud of who they are and where they come from. Students, faculty, and the community can learn and gain more knowledge on current issues dealing with women by attending Women’s Center events. For example, Fox Valley Take Back the Night, an event I recently attended that discussed taking a stand against sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence was a thought-provoking and informative event. It was nice to see all the allies in one huge room and on the march. The Women’s Center on the UW Oshkosh campus truly strives to help women and men learn to work, play and live together in ways based on mutual respect.