Empowerment of women cannot exist within the MachineBy Lindsay Macher | 02/29/2016 3:06pm
Just last year I shared the Crimson White article asking sorority women why they continued voting for the Machine. It was a question I asked myself every day. Sorority women hold their own power and voices, yet the Machine controls their vote and positions in SGA and has condoned violence against them, all while gaining their support to suppress these ideas and voices.
In just my three years at this university, I have witnessed the Machine’s response to controversy within this sorority system. My freshman year, the integration of sororities was “proof” that it was not racist. My sophomore year, the expulsion of the Chi Omega member proudly proclaiming that her sorority would preserve their whiteness was “proof” they did not tolerate racism. This year, the Machine has responded to the decades of grievances of their lack of inclusion by putting forth white female SGA candidates as “proof” that they are progressive.
Last week at Black Girls Rise, Amanda Bennett spoke of the difference between white feminism and black feminism, saying that white feminism is based largely on white women advocating only for themselves, and placing their objective on becoming the white man. This means that instead of taking an approach of “as women, we can and will do it in a way that is unique to each woman,” the approach of “if I want to be successful, I must ‘think like a man’ and success will come from mirroring the behavior of a man” is taken as the path to equality. This has been the face of white feminism, whether these candidates identify as feminists or not, since its beginning. Machine women, whether running or voting, must understand something. No woman can be involved in an oppressive institution such as the Machine and claim to want to empower women. The very institution Machine women are a part of preys upon women of color, poor women, trans women, the LGBT+ community and everyone else the Machine harrasses and takes advantage of simply because these individuals exist, and simply because the Machine’s structural power says they can.
Gaining access to nominations for major positions such as President, Vice President of Financial Affairs, Executive Secretary, and Vice President of Academic Affairs is not a celebratory accomplishment in this particular instance. If a woman’s successes are built on the backs of other women, not only does this success mean nothing for the empowerment of women, it means the woman has taken the role of the oppressor. Do not claim to be pro-woman while in the Machine. There can be no such thing in an underground, violent group of hate. Becoming equal to white men by becoming equally manipulative, threatening and exploitative does not liberate anyone, it only reassures racist, sexist Machine men that their actions will be tolerated, and this time, with help from those they can remain to demean and control.
Lindsay Macher is a junior majoring in chemical engineering. Her column runs biweekly. She has publicly supported Patrick Fitzgerald's candidacy for SGA President.