Rebecca Walker
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SPEAKER WANTS TO CHANGE FACE OF FEMINIST ACTION
By Lori Lewis, © The Daily Targum, July 03, 2003



 

Rebecca Walker, who Time magazine named one of 50 future leaders and is founder of The Third Wave -- a national non-profit organization for young women -- gave a discussion about the "movement towards militarism" Wednesday.

The office of Student Involvement and Programs presented the event titled, "Men and Women: Tell the Truth and Change the Face of Feminism." However, the theme for the night was "Stop the War (on men): Peace begins with you."

 

Media Credit: Jared Makowski/Staff Photographer
Activist Rebecca Walker speaks about feminism Wednesday in the Rutgers Student Center Multipurpose Room on the College Avenue campus.
 
     
 
  "Men are attacked before they are born," Walker said. Society teaches them they need [to] be hard, strong, courageous, tough and not afraid to kill or to die. They are "little soldiers from a very young age," and by age 17 -- the age of enlistment -- there is a "complete freeze on who [they are] holistically, [a] complete alienation from self." This is why, she said, they are able to pick up guns.

Walker spoke about the influence of pornography on male sexuality. She said men are taught to detach themselves from sex. In ancient tradition, sex was a holy act -- an act of healing. In order to "heal wounds that have taken root in woman's womb," she said men must be more attentive to a woman's sexuality, the "female energy." Pornography, she said, continues to restrict rather than expand that sensitivity.

She went on to discuss pieces from a book she is currently working on about this topic, based on her theories. To do research for the book, she spoke to many men to "hear their story." She said "every man has a story of intense violence," whether it is being picked on in school or being "brutalized" by their own fathers for failing to conform to the male stereotype.

Women, according to Walker, contribute to this warped version of masculinity by not seeking sensitive men but expecting them to behave with macho personas. If there is to be a change, women need to "support the men who are doing it differently," she said. Women must begin by "eroticising" this "new masculinity" they say they want.

Lashawn Garnes, a Livingston College senior, said although it felt like somewhat of a "hippie event," she found some valuable lessons. The main message for her was, "It's OK to feel pain, happiness, joy or to feel nothing at all; it's OK."

 
         
         
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