Up and Coming: TEA

Have a knack for debating? Then come check out the TAMS Egalitarian Association (TEA) once school starts! TEA is a brand new club with lots of events and activities planned for this coming school year. The TAMS Egalitarian Association was founded to fight for the rights of women, LGBT communities, and children while changing society’s perceptions of rape culture and gender roles.

At this point in time, we do not expect many people to believe these issues are as serious as they are because of the constant attention or the uncomfortable nature of discussing them. By now you have realized that kids get bullied at schools for their sexual orientations, that sometimes women have to put up with less pay or even less respect at their workplace, that rape victims were just at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that it is not surprising that women and children who live and grow up in violent environments suffer domestic abuse. TEA seeks to persuade you that such situations are not trivial.

Two current execs, Shreya Bhatia and Reshma Narayan, spoke out against this exact mindset at the 2013 TAMS Talks event. Their speech, “The Trivialization of Rape,” did not only address the global range of victim blaming in instances of sexual assault but also implored the audience to see how making light of painful issues through word usage or crude humor can be destructive to both men and women. One example they mentioned was that lots of students at TAMS like associating the word rape with dominance or winning as in “that test practically raped me” or “that soccer team we faced last night totally raped us.” Think about this image of rape and compare it the image of rape that pops up when you consider the Delhi Gang Rape victim who was left naked on the road to die or the eleven-year old girl who was brutally raped by twenty men in a rusty, old trailer in Texas. Obviously, we TAMS students are not distanced from rape culture since so many of us think getting raped is a sign of weakness. We all have something to work on: changing the local mindset. This is where TEA comes in.

It is going to take more than a five minute speech to change society. For that reason, the execs of the TAMS Egalitarian Association decided to create TEA. Most importantly, we would love for the Class of 2015 to join us this year in expressing its ideas on women’s rights, gender roles, and such. The club has a lot to offer. For example, we have plans to volunteer with the Denton County Friends of the Family shelter and to help victims of domestic abuse. We are also going to host debates, movie nights, and smaller discussion groups so that you all can express your opinions on topics such as gay rights, marriage, gender roles, the definition of beauty and masculinity, and others. Some of you might have conflicting opinions, and that is fine as long as you speak in a calm, inoffensive fashion. TEA revolves around free speech. No matter what you believe, it will always be welcome in our circles.

Don’t shy away from us just because you think your speaking skills aren’t as good as you want them to be. We would love for you to just sit down and listen at one of our GAs which will hopefully be at 7:00pm on Tuesdays in Smitty. Eventually, you’ll want to jump right in. For more action-oriented people, you can help us set up events and volunteer with us. Furthermore, don’t be intimidated to join a club headed by a bunch of feminists if you are a guy. Nothing would impress us more than guys who care. It doesn’t matter who you are. Just join the club.

If you are interested in submitting a work to promote your club, please contact us at http://iontams.com/contact/.

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