Let’s Talk About Male Rep…

Lily Green - Campaigns Officer

It has come to my attention that a Men’s Rep has been proposed as an addition to our liberation reps. To give some context, these representatives are there to represent students that identify as members of oppressed groups who are often not given a seat at the table.

Although there may be many opinions on this, I ask you to consider the position that I have taken. There is not a need for a Men’s Rep because as far as I am aware, there would be no remit for this position.

The reason for having a women’s rep is to recognise that the structural system of education and wider society is set up to limit women, and a women’s rep is there to help change that. Women are not guaranteed a seat at the table. Male representation in wider society has never been questioned.

You may point to the fact that for this year, we now have an Elected Officer team that is all female. I’d like to remind you that this is not common. Whereas an Elected Officer team that is all male within a union is not uncommon. In wider society, male dominated leadership and senior executive leads are extremely common. Specific representation of women is essential, as women systematically face discrimination and their representation has

  • had to be and is still fought for,

 and

  • is not secure.

The future of male representation is secure and has never been threatened.

For those that argue that male mental health is enough of a reason for a men’s representative, you’ll notice that it’s possible to run a successful campaign around male mental health without having a rep, as demonstrated by the great work of the UCLan Rams last year. Although work is still to be done, there are a number of channels for male issues to be discussed and worked on and we can work happily on underreporting and stigma with students who would like to. These have always been options, and the distinction is that systemically, options for women or other liberation groups to work on or voice these issues are not always available, and have, historically, not been.

I want it to be clear that I recognise that men may face discrimination, however the nature of these issues are different to those that face women for example, as they don’t result in structural inequality or a lack of voice. As they aren’t a result of structural inequality, they don’t need guaranteed representation within our student community-the entire purpose of our liberation reps. Men’s issues can be addressed by our union through other channels and other reps.

Want to help ease pressure off of the current reps? Support them in their work, help them run campaigns and support each other to do this too. Any student can run a campaign. I’m not convinced that a Men’s Rep is the best way for us to tackle these issues, especially when we have so many other avenues.

Finally, though there are male-specific issues that were raised for a men’s rep, these are not best suited to be solved by such a representative. It implies a false equivalence between the systemic issues that face men, and those that face groups that have not had a voice, and as such forgets the purpose of a rep in the first place.

About Caitlin Mclaren: Editor-in-Chief 119 Articles
I like writing, editing and making new mates. Newcomer of the Year 2016 Editor of the Year 2016 Editor of the Year 2017 Elected Media Officer of UCLan Students' Union 2017/18

1 Comment on Let’s Talk About Male Rep…

  1. On one hand, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t need gendered reps.
    But unfortunately it’s not a perfect world. There’s should be a female rep because I’m sure however educated men can be wouldn’t understand the woes and problems women go through especially in education. However, that can be equally said about men to a lesser extent so therefore it would be ‘equal’ to both have the gendered reps. I don’t know what’s so hard to just allocate 2 reps to both accommodate everyone.

    It’s like saying in a lgbt group or organisation, you’d only have one rep and they’re a gay male. That’s unfair and doesn’t further accommodate to the needs of minorities (even within minorities). The LGBT community already is strife with biphobia and transphobia.

    In addition, despite mainstream feminism stating that they talk about men’s issues, they don’t nearly enough to bring awareness about said issues. Men’s issues are a part of feminism as both men and women are both damaged by the same oppressive gender system of patriarchy. To not have allocated services for men would be ignoring and further hindering the progression of equality. What’s the point to fighting for something when you can’t even listen to what the other group’s needs? ( I don’t mean listening to men’s sexist spiel but actual problems of mental health, toxic masculinity and gender identity). The men’s rep goes beyond just accommodating cis straight men as you have trans men and men of ethnic minority to think about.

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