On December 5th I attended my first guest lecture called, 50 Years of Gender Revolution. The guest speaker was Stephanie Coontz who teaches history at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. The event was put on and sponsored by the UH Manoa American Studies program. This topic was completely out of my areas of interest and I admit I don’t really know a great deal about this subject, and I guess that has something to do with the generation I was born into, but I’m not entirely clueless. And so, I walked into the lecture not knowing what to expect. But isn’t that exploring?
I was very impressed by Coontz’ scholarly background. She has appeared on various television interviews ranging from news outlets to shows like the Colbert Report. Her works and writings have been featured in the New York Times as well as Vogue Magazine. But despite her impressive background, I was slightly disturbed by some of the statements she was making. The reason that is so is it seemed like most of her lecture she brought up an overwhelming amount of statistics. Some of which were the rise in women’s salaries and the fall of men’s. Almost all of her of her statistics were something of men’s falling or decreasing while that of women’s increased or rose. Its not the volume of statistics that she brought up that disturbed me but the way she presented them. She stated that she was not rejoicing in these changes but I found that a little difficult to believe because of what seemed like joy in her voice.
I must make it absolutely clear that I am not a sexist nor am I misogynist and I firmly believe there cannot be equality if one side is elevated over another, even if that side has been on the lower end before, because then we’ll just have another case of inequality. I must say, I think it is difficult for me to understand it all or even appreciate these statistics because I am a male and primarily because I did not grow up in that time period and I did not see how women were treated and deprived of their rights. Despite the large amount of statistics, Coontz painted a picture of how women were treated. Overall it was an interesting and different and not what I’m used to lecture.