Re: The Alienation of Allies in the Take Back the Night March

Dear Adam,

I’m writing to comment on your article in the recent issue of the Argus entitled “The Alienation of Allies in the Take Back the Night March”.

I did notice that Jayal Chung had an opportunity to respond to your article with an article of her own, and I thought it was an interesting but positive decision of the editor to include them both in the same issue, rather than publishing yours and then waiting a week before anything else was published on the topic. Both of your articles were well written and propound different views of the issue. It was nice to see this in the paper.

Regarding your own article, I can understand your view points. I’ve been there, myself, wondering about certain decisions made by groups such as the organizers of Take Back the Night. In particular, I recall moments of being rejected when I tried to assist. It’s not the easiest thing to understand. Here’s an analogy that may help in understanding – I hope you don’t think I’m patronizing you, it’s just that we’d hate to loose an ally such as yourself because of a misunderstanding.

Take me. A few facts about me are that I don’t drink alcohol (never have) and I don’t particularly like going to the bar or club, because I find the music too loud for good conversation (nevermind the sexually charged and oftentimes mysogynistic atmosphere). Suppose that my partner dumps me and I’m feeling sad; and then my good friend (who is aware of my aversion to clubs) decides to try and console me, and suggests that we go to the bar, get tipsy, forget about my problems, and maybe find someone who can help me in that regard. …It’s not really my thing, though, and I refuse.

The point of the story is not to say anything about sexism or drinking. The point is to show the disconnect between the desire of someone to help and the way in which the other person wants to be helped.  When I get dumped and am feeling sad, the last thing I want to do is get wasted and potentially hook up. So, though I appreciate my friend’s considerate nature and their choice to reach out, I can’t find consolation in their actions. The problem here is not that either of our views is wrong – if drinking and having a good time at the bar is a method that works for my friend, then all the power to them – but that one is not right for the other.

My suggestion is that attempting to force your own version of support onto the other participants of Take Back the Night is coming up on insensitive. The most supportive thing would be to do whatever they want. That’s the kind of subservient care that you would have for one dear – the kind of unconditional love you would have for one loved – devoid of ego, like the mother for the child.

Anonymous