#Don’tMansplainMe: The First Steps to Creating a Social Media Campaign for Social Good

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“Mansplain – the explanation of something made by a man, generally to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.”

In a strategic communication class I am currently taking with Professor DeSimone, my classmates and I discussed biases around the St. Bonaventure campus. Many female students voiced how they were talked down upon by males in higher positions than them, in comparison to how they talk to other men. This sparked up a conversation of “mansplaining” and unintentional gender biases that men on the Bonaventure campus may have.

I’m treating this project mostly as a pitch for a social media entity that already exists, for example, Bona Brave.

Getting some research out of the way, I posted three questions on my personal Instagram:

  1. Ladies, have you ever been mansplained to? Yes or no.
  2. What is the most condescending thing a man has said to you?
  3. Do you believe unintentional gender bias is a problem at St. Bonaventure? Yes or no.
  4. Gentlemen, have you ever heard or participated in mansplaining? Yes or no.
  5. Is gender bias/discrimination a problem around the world?

The results, as I write this, have not come all the way through yet, but so far, 100% of voters said they have been mansplained to. One of the biggest problems that I plan on tackling with this campaign is that many people don’t believe they are gender biased and don’t notice their own biases. The goal is to challenge people to realize and understand their gender biases, unintentional or not.

I want to create this social media campaign to hopefully better the campus community in some way. It’s important to me because I understand what it feels like to not be taken seriously due to my gender. I understand the importance of having to look inwards to find answers and I hope with this campaign, others can do the same. Addressing the issue of gender bias will benefit everyone. It will help women in that they won’t feel discriminated against, and it will help some men not make complete ass hats out of themselves.

By showcasing examples of gender discrimination/bias and explaining what it is, as well as it’s effects, I believe the campaign can take off with the hashtag “Don’t Mansplain Me.” Utilizing social media and the Internet to find some answers, this campaign can be made possible. I do believe I will need the help of others (for example, voters on my social account) to gather a good amount of data to work with to explain my reasoning and to create groundwork for the campaign.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will research the gender bias issues on campus and beyond. Then, I will work on creating an argument and good purpose for the campaign, as well as a message. Finally, the creative pieces for the campaign as well as the social media posts will come together. This can potentially go outside of social media and can be something that’s physically on campus. Posters, columns in student publications, on-campus discussions and more could possibly arise from this campaign.

The parking at Bonaventure sucks…but it could be better.

In one of our last classes we discussed how unfair the parking system is at St. Bonaventure. I was pleased to know that my fellow classmates agreed that the whole situation just isn’t fun. Parking isn’t the greatest for students who live on campus, especially for those who don’t live in Shay or Loughlen Halls, and even then, it can get frustrating. The fact that the closest overnight parking for on-campus students other than the limited Shay/Lo lot is by the tennis courts is annoying.

To read about where students, visitors and employees can currently park click here.

When talking about it with friends, I jokingly said there should be a march on campus with people chanting, “We are the people who live here!” It seems to me that employees can get better parking than the people who actually pay to live on campus. I believe that professors and other faculty members should be allowed the spots that are currently set aside for them, but I do not believe these lots should be closed off from students during the evening and during the weekends. If a faculty member parks in student parking, would they get a ticket? I’ve never seen or heard of it happening.

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Above is a map of the Bonaventure campus that is given to students who purchase parking decals. The lots that aren’t in red surrounding buildings 26, 21, 22, 19, 18, M, D and C are for employees.

This is where it gets tricky, though. If the school allows students to park in faculty spots during the evenings, what’s most likely to happen is that students will forget to move their cars by the next morning, resulting in more tickets. So, either make students understand that they will have to move their cars by midnight or morning, or only have faculty spots available to students during the weekends. I think the latter would be a good compromise.

New parking rules could be as follows:

  • All student and employee spots from 5 p.m. Friday to midnight on Sunday can be taken by employees or students. Those who do not have proper decals or are parked in visitor parking spaces will be given a ticket. Visitor parking will remain the same during the weekends.
  • All parking spaces on Bonaventure Road are available for employees, visitors and students after 5 p.m.
  • During basketball games, all lots not set aside for visitors/ticketholders will be available on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Rules for handicap parking remain the same.

Some students suggested not allowing freshmen to bring cars, but unfortunately, I believe that would hinder progress. Freshmen being allowed cars is a big selling point for Bonaventure, at least, I know it was for me. Only allowing honors students certain privileges would also be hindering, no matter the good intent. In the grand scheme of things, I believe the changes above are minor, but gives more freedom to students who have certain concerns.

The only reason I would not have faculty spots become open to students during the evenings is because I think there would be more tickets flying around. Students will forget to move their cars before heading in for the night and the cars would be left in the mornings, making them susceptible to tickets and preventing employees to get reasonable spots.

Also, the second bullet addresses the current concerns of student athletes. Though there is no promise of them getting a spot, there is more of a chance for them to get a spot during practice times. Another possibility for this problem is to only allow faculty and student athletes the parking spots on Bonaventure Road after 5 p.m. To make sure this works, there would have to be a new parking decal created specially for student athletes.

Through these modifications I hope that students will be more satisfied with the parking at St. Bonaventure. If employee and student spots are ever available to visitors (other than during basketball games), this will lead to frustration to both employees and students. If visitors have more “power” over parking than they do right now, employee and student parking could be taken over by visitors. I only decided to make visitor parking remain the same due to how many people actually visit St. Bonaventure campus (which is a surprisingly large number).

No doubt, students would benefit the most from these changes. During basketball games, others could benefit from the changes, as well. To keep everything tame, though, the normal parking restrictions would have to be put back in place two hours after the game, at most, just to make sure visitors without parking passes aren’t bumming around campus.

I don’t believe the system modifications I created above are necessarily hindering. The system that is in place now is hindering. To make this system work, it would heavily rely on Safety & Security and whoever else gives out parking tickets. Parking restrictions would have to be as strict as they are now.

Overall, this system will benefit the community that lives on Bonaventure campus. Considering students are the ones who pay to attend Bonaventure, the parking system should benefit them the most. With the class sizes growing larger, parking will become more of an issue and it’s important to make sure that it’s working for everyone.

An analysis on Wicca

Now, before I get into this and for complete transparency, I was raised a Christian, with my mother being Episcopalian and my father a non-practicing Muslim. I really didn’t give much thought to religion until I entered, ironically, a Catholic university. I took one class in particular that really made me question a lot of what I was told growing up, with its main focus being on monotheistic beliefs. During this class I began to wonder a lot about polytheistic beliefs, which were not taught or mentioned in said class. I became mostly curious and interested in Wicca, a neo-pagan religion, or a “nature religion,” as some practitioners like to call it.

I’m not going to go in depth as to what they practice, you can do that on your own, but for the sake of this class I will analyze it. One of the first questions mentioned by the Allison Parrish prompts was ‘who gets to use this system?’. Freedom of religion in the U.S. allows anyone to practice whatever religion they want, but when I look at it in the context of Parrish’s discussion on hacking and the exclusion of Margaret Hamilton, a woman, I wonder what biases Wiccans may have about other people, or perhaps, biases people have about Wiccans.

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Gerald Gardner, the “Father of Wicca.”

One of the first things I noticed during my research of Wicca was that most of the practitioners I saw online were women, though many Wiccans use the likes of Scott Cunningham and Gerald Gardner as guides of the faith. Wicca does attract women, that’s for sure, but I believe that’s only due to the emphasis on duality. There’s a “goddess” and a “god” which are equally worshipped…and perhaps that’s why some men are turned off from it. Due to many women practicing the faith openly, though, I can see why people assume that the religion is for women and not men. This isn’t the case at all.

“[I]t seems illogical and counter-productive to relegate the God along with male practitioners to a minor role in other Wiccan rites. While I am certainly not advocating the dissolution of all female-only covens, I DO encourage them to give some serious consideration to allowing serious male practitioners to participate in their rites. This would present many opportunities for fellowship and the sharing of knowledge, which would surely outweigh any perceived disadvantages,” said Morgan Ravenwood at WitchVox.

Asking myself about the hindering of access, I really do think that to people who don’t know much about the religion can quickly assume that it’s some sort of “secret cult.” There is plenty of information about Wicca online, but I think that it’s also safe to say you’ll have to buy some books to fully grasp it at times. Studying the religion truly helps one understand it better and that personally goes with all religions. For example, as a Christian who picked up the Quran, I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about before. Though a born and raised Christian, I defended Islam so hard in class one time, my professor asked me if I was a Muslim afterwards. I’ve learned that it’s easy to defend a religion when you know more about it.

Learning about Wicca, I’ve discovered that there is no “canon” book that one can just look to for all questions asked, neither is there one path. So, when you’re a solitary practitioner, it can seem a bit difficult to find your way, especially if you don’t know anyone who practices the faith personally.

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The late Scott Cunningham, “an ambassador of the pagan way of life.”

In fact, many practitioners today look to the writings of Gardner and Cunningham for information and advice. Gardner is regarded as the “Father of Wicca” and many traditionalists look to his writings. Cunningham appeals more to the “newer” generation of Wiccans and is way more understanding in his writings, answering questions like “should I practice when I’m sick” and “do I have to tell my landlord what I do on full moons?”

As for there being no set canon, many practitioners use Gardner’s book of shadows, but covens may use a grimoire, or something far older than Gardner’s text as reference. Solitary practitioners often look to Cunningham’s text about Wicca and the craft. Many practitioners, though, create their own book and compile all of their knowledge about the religion and its rites into one or multiple books. To make a long story much shorter, each practitioner finds their own path, involving study, prayer, meditation and practice, not just one book. The internet makes it much easier, though, for people to find their way in the religion.

The main “rule” that all Wiccans follow, though, is the threefold law. Whatever you put out into the universe, positive or negative, will come back to you three times. As the Wiccan Rede states, “An ‘ye harm none, do what ye will.”

For the most part, I’ve found the Wiccan community to be quite inviting. There are definitely misconceptions about the religion, and I urge people to research Wicca as well as any other religion you have questions on.

Here are a few misconceptions about Wicca that I thought I’d just throw in for the heck of it:

  • Witchcraft and Wicca are the same thing
  • Wiccans worship the devil
  • Wiccans sacrifice animals and humans
  • Wiccans have a “dark Bible”
  • Pentagrams are the symbol of the devil

Misconceptions about Islam

Misconceptions about Christianity

Misconceptions about Judaism

Misconceptions about Hinduism

Misconceptions about Buddhism

Misconceptions about Satanism

Misconceptions about Taoism/Daoism

The list can go on…

Misconceptions about the human psyche