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Letter to the Editor: Article about female-only program perpetuates misandry, gender-binary perspective

By Chen Wang

Sept. 18, 2019 1:11 a.m.

Dear Editor,

I came across the editorial “UCLA can’t fan flames of fire begun by DeVos investigation against women in STEM” and I have some comments about it because the rhetoric in the article sounds misandrist and is based on a gender-binary worldview.

The article considers the female-only STEM programs a form of affirmative action necessary to change the landscape of the male-dominated field. The beauty of affirmative action is that it does not award a specific group solely based on their color or gender, but based on the extra effort and hardships they go through that others do not. But when a measure awards a group of people simply based on gender and excludes other groups, that beauty is lost.

It is also important for people to understand that the enemy of gender equality is patriarchal society – not all males. Likewise, gender equality benefits all genders – not just females. The rhetoric in the editorial, however, justifies denying males the resources accessible to females based on zero-sum thinking. This thinking is misandrist and supports a primitive view of feminism not suitable for the development of affirmative action and gender equality.

When fighting for the rights for past oppressed social groups, we need to avoid creating another oppressor. It would be safe to say that programs and scholarships explicitly for women deny opportunities to transgender or transexual individuals who identify as a male, or people who identify as a nonbinary queer gender. They are the people who are even more likely to experience discrimination.

If the female-only programs serve to break the glass ceiling, why bother building another one behind them?

Wang is a third-year sociology student.

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