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The Blue & Gray Press | August 20, 2019

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Professor Anita Taylor discusses prominent social issues at lecture

Professor Anita Taylor discusses prominent social issues at lecture


Anita Taylor, professor emerita of communication and member of the gender and women’s studies faculty at George Mason University, spoke on feminist issues in a lecture to University of Mary Washington students at Lee Hall on March 18. Taylor discussed how much of modern society’s problems are feminist issues.

At the beginning of the speech, Taylor identified anger as the cause of a violent U.S. culture. One case that Taylor focused on was the recent shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri. According to Taylor, these events point to the delicate relationship between community members and the police. In the lecture, Taylor postulated that race and gender cannot be separated, and that the Michael Brown case is not only a race issue, but a feminist one as well. Taylor went on to say that the events in Ferguson were the result of anger within the community.

According to Taylor, the effort to end violent exchanges between police and community members would require an effort by all feminists, both male and female. To end outbursts of violence, “we need to start talking about these issues,” said Taylor

Taylor also spoke on the connection between how people define manhood and violence. Of all the criminal acts that involve firearms, the aggressors are mostly men and most of the victims are also men.

Sophomore anthropology major Jasmine Turner said she disagrees with what Taylor said in her lecture.

“I don’t know, I don’t agree with that statement [manhood is connected to violence]. It could change with cultures. It’s the way the media has shaped it,” said Turner.

Other feminist issues that Taylor addressed included the role of many women on televised events as eye candy for viewers.

“I guess the media brings up the point of women being eye candy, but it’s the people who blow it up really. It’s how you look at it,” said Turner.

However, other students agreed with Taylor’s points.

“I pretty much agree with Taylor on this topic because all the magazine articles are about how women look and not their intelligence, which I think makes success all about looks,” said sophomore political science and sociology double major Emma Valinski. “All the media talks about is looks. I think it gives young girls the idea that it is all about appearance and not intellectual success.”

Taylor addressed many other issues as well, including voting rights. Taylor stated that even if voting restriction laws were all gone, we would still be the lowest participating voting country among developed democracies. Voting is a right because only the government can grant anyone this privilege.

“In order to get people involved you need to use social media to appeal to them,” said Taylor. “You need an approach that means more to them [young adults]. We have to learn how to speak to them. We have to learn how to speak to them. There’s no effort in involving young people.”