Posted in Interesting News & Commentary

The Library Interviews Dr. Tajali: An Academic Look at the Me Too Movement

To better facilitate connections between student interests and McCain’s collections, we are providing our student workers, via the library’s blog and social media accounts, with a platform to explore and share areas they would like to highlight. The following entry is the first installment of the year in a series by Rachel, a second year student at Agnes Scott.

TW: Includes content pertaining to sexual assault

This semester, I will continue to view third wave feminism through my blog series, just in a different way. I hope to take an in-depth, academic view at the problems surrounding the recent outflow of sexual abuse allegations against some very influential men. The hope is that through research and interviews with current Agnes Scott faculty, I can shed light onto the issues that we are seeing in our world today. Using human rights, women’s studies and historical perspectives I will engage with professors in a conversation on what the “Me Too” movement means from their academic lenses.

From the #metoo movement to “I believe survivors,” the United States has been seeing an outflow of survivors coming forward with their sexual assault stories. What does society’s reaction tell us about the world we live in today? How does this affect our past, present, and future? What about many who are not assaulted by men of importance? Women of color, children, sex workers, transgender people, and even men.

In order to get an academic perspective I will  conduct and transcribe interviews with a few of our lovely faculty members. The hope is to open a conversation between faculty and students in order to get information about the current goings on in the world and not only their opinion but their insight as experts in their fields. I hope to talk with Dr. Tajali on the human rights aspects of this movement as well as the rights of those who don’t get a moment in the spotlight. With the Women’s Studies department, the plan is to touch on the immense amounts of privilege we are seeing in the media as well as just what this movement of empowerment means for women. Finally, I will take a historical perspective I also intend to tie the conversation back to helpful resources that the library has. I hope that these blog posts will be informational to those who read them and entertaining as well!

For the first installment of my blog this semester, I interviewed Agnes Scott’s Dr. Tajali on what human rights implications may be present in the Me Too movement. To start, I asked Dr. Tajali what she thinks the the immense amounts of media attention means for everyday people who are not getting the same attention as the elites and celebrities we are seeing in the news. She responded by saying that the situation is complicated.

“The reason I’m saying it’s more complicated is yes we provide them the platform but then there are so many different loopholes that you know like for instance what’s happening right now, more than likely we will have Kavanaugh confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. But nonetheless some would say ‘See how disheartening this is that we provide this platform to a victim who comes forward years later to speak about it still it doesn’t do anything.’”

Dr. Tajali continued on to say that she, as a scholar and someone who studies activism and social movements, sees this as a good step forward because people cannot expect change to happen overnight. The platform that is being provided for women is very helpful because it is spreading awareness even though there is not any major change that has happened yet. But still, the awareness allows all women not just elites the chance to come forward. Dr. Tajali is confident that within a few generations we will see some more change surrounding this issue. We also discussed the issue of privilege when it came to these people coming out with their stories. Privilege is another part of what makes this movement so complicated. When privilege is class, sexual orientation, and racially based it plays a big role in the gradual steps of the change we are seeing. The fact that this all started with celebrities who according to Dr. Tajali are the “Creme-de-la-creme  who started to voice and of course if you’re in such a major position and you’re still complaining about being a victim of sexual assault, then what about others?”

Finally, for anyone who wants to do more research on this Dr. Tajali recommends Intersectionality by Kimberle Crenshaw and anything the library may have to offer on social movements,  specifically women’s rights movements.

Library Resources:

Women’s Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives
By: Julia Peters and Andrea Wolper
Location: Stack 2: Call #: K644 .Z9 W665 1995

The Women’s Rights Movement in the United States 1848-1970
By: Albert Krichmar, Barbara Case, and Barbara Silver
Location: Stack 3 Call #: Z7964 .U49 K75

Women’s Rights: The Struggle for Equality in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
By: Nancy E. McGlen and Karen O’Connor
Location: Stack 1 Call #: HQ1426 .M395 1983

Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture-And What We Can Do About It
By: Kate Harding
Location: Browsing Call#: HV6556.H37 2015

My Life on the Road
By: Gloria Steinem
Location: Browsing Call#: HQ1413.S675A3 2015

This Will be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America
By: Morgan Jenkins
Location: Browsing and Stack 3 Call#s: PS3610.E693A6 2018 

Testosterone Rex
By: Cordelia Fine
Location: Browsing Call#: BF692.F525 2017

No is Not Enough
By: Naomi Klein
Location: Browsing Call #: JC328.3 .K555 2017

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s