Why the Male Chauvinism Panel Consists of Men, 1972
It may be asked why the Women's Center at Barnard College is sponsoring a panel on male chauvinism at Columbia and why the panel consists of men. These are three answers: 1) The charge that Columbia is a bastion of male chauvinism is a serious one. It is a charge which I personally have often and publically made. It is a serious charge because it implies that the attitudes which men have about themselves, each other and women are harmful, alien to humane values. Yet, as far as I know, a group of men at Columbia has never before publically discussed those charges. Nor have they, as far as I know, engaged in public questioning and debate in a completely open forum, except for an infrequent open hearing.
Public discussion, public questioning, public debate, even perhaps public self-analysis, can only be healthy. It may go on to illuminate deeper questions about} society at large. To put the Columbiaxcommunity into a broader context. 2) Women, as usual, are leading the struggle for their equality. This is as it should be. Yet, the problems the New Feminism raise are/problems which involve both men and women. Women cannot do all the work for men on these issues. Men should, I believe, help each other raise the level of masculine consciousness We organized a panel of men on male chauvinism in the hope of encouraging lots of men, through seeing distinguished examples, to realize their responsibilities.
3) The Women's Center is also putting together a legal referral service for women. The lawyers will be mostly Barnard graduates. The service represents one of the first times the alumnae of a woman's college have organized in such a way on behalf of women. The panel tonight is benefit for the Lawyers Committee. A modest benefit, to be sure, but we hope that whatever contributions come in will help the Committee start its work. We have eight panelists. Obviously, the panel is large, but obviously, it cannot represent all the opinions, departments, and interests at Columbia. We have tried for some, but not total, range. The panelists are:
Our moderators are two of the most enlightened and promising women teaching today: Professor Elaine Showalter and Professor Ann Harris. I want to thank the participants for their participation and the audience for coming.