Be Active in showing support
Women have fought for equal rights for decades. From voting to birth control to equal pay, women brought attention to these inequalities by burning their bras, carrying signs, publishing magazines and now overcharging men for baked goods.
On April 20, the National Committee on Pay Equity and Latin sorority Lambda Theta Alpha will sponsor a bake sale at University of Idaho where men will be charged 22 cents more for items than women. The date is significant because this is how far into this year that women would have to work to earn what men did through 2009. This event is meant to bring public awareness to a very real issue, but is it really effective?
First of all, bake sales, by their very nature, are associated with women. Even in these more enlightened times, when people think of baking they tend to think of women in aprons preparing cakes and cookies to raise money for the PTA, Boy Scouts, soccer teams and church organizations. So maybe having women in front of the Idaho Commons selling cookies and brownies in a historically traditional female role isn’t the way to go. It also isn’t the way to command attention. Remember, women used to burn their bras for this sort of thing.
In case those running the event haven’t noticed, many students at UI are apathetic. They see a table selling sweets and they may fork over the money, but the idea behind the event will be lost in moments as they receive their next text message, post their status to Facebook or turn up their music. So how do you get this idea to reach students like these? You make noise. You place things in their way that interrupt the chatter of their electronics. What happened to carrying signs and rallying support through public protests?
This campus has been far too quiet on many issues. Bake sales, chalk writing on sidewalks and homemade posters placed where students can’t see them are not doing the job. Make some noise, force people out of their trance-like states and call attention to a cause. Whether it is equal pay for women, increased student fees, intolerance or health care reform, subtle messages don’t cut it anymore. Those messages have to compete with all the other things holding people’s attention, and the way to do that is to command more attention. Gonzaga students did this recently to protest the banning of “The Vagina Monologues.” This was a silent protest, but the sit-in got in people’s way and forced them to acknowledge the problem.
People shouldn’t be afraid to stand up, or sit down for that matter, to bring attention to important issues. This campus has been far too silent in the past few years.