This month’s Economist debaters evaluated the assertion that women’s proper place is at work. The expert feminist concluded that women do indeed belong in the workplace, as opposed to giving priority to home and family. The feminist’s self-contradictory approach ‘liberates’ women from working in the home, but then constrains them to working in a corporation. This debate exemplifies a larger trend in which prominent modern feminists call for equity against the backdrop of a philosophy that, at its core, denies free will and hinders the pursuit of truth.
Inconsistencies in feminist theory could be remedied if the field permitted even the slightest deviation from the Feminist Creed; unfortunately, feminist dogma is likely to go unchallenged. I can personally affirm that no academic discipline is more adept at silencing intellectual diversity than women’s studies.
A genuine interest in the radical transformation of classical feminism prompted me to enroll in Intro to Women’s Studies. As a government major, I was accustomed to freely expressing opinions, provided that I supported claims with properly cited statistics and facts. I soon learned that factuality is lost on feminists and that my opinions would be of little use in the course.
For my entire life, I had assumed that I was born a woman, and as such my femininity revealed itself in innate preferences and tendencies. Yet, according to the women’s studies department, I’d been duped—big time. I first learned that gender is merely a social institution, a deceptive process that fashioned me into a womanly being and robbed me of an authentic identity. Taken to its logical conclusion, this theory implies that had my parents given me trucks to play with as a child, rather than dolls, I might have grown into a bearded man. Feminists sidestep this nonsensical conclusion by a priori, ruling out any correlation between biological or physiological composition and gendered habits. According to feminists, a person’s gender refers solely to a process of socialization, while a person’s sex refers to their biological makeup. Once ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are defined as distinct and unrelated terms, feminists claim the two cannot be discussed in tandem, thereby precluding the “bearded man” conclusion.
In the aforementioned example, feminists falsely represented human nature; the assertion that biological makeup has absolutely no bearing on our tendencies or life choices is patently false. Feminists are inclined to make erroneous claims in support of a rigid doctrine, which is why their arguments generally cannot withstand the simple test of logic. Hoping to avoid impugnment from critics, feminists continuously draw arguments away from reality to a place where claims can go untried—academia. In this abstract Never Land, feminists are free to provide doctored statistics that confirm Peter Pan’s tyranny and Tinker Bell’s subjugation. I would like to share a few tales from my time with Professor Q in the Never Never Land of women’s studies.
Topic: Jingoism [jing-goh-iz-uhm]
Professor Q found Toby Keith’s music video for the song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” to be ‘frightening.’ The video, which consists almost entirely of Keith shaking hands with our troops, was discussed as an instance of ‘excessive patriotism with a fascist element.’
Topic: Reproductive Health
Professor Q explained that Margaret Sanger was persecuted for heroic efforts such as smuggling diaphragms into the United States. Unfortunately, Professor Q admitted, Sanger did advocate social Darwinism late in her career. After class I asked Professor Q if she knew anything about Sanger’s ties to Planned Parenthood and the organization’s past link with eugenicists. She didn’t have an answer, but promised to check and get back to me. I already knew Sanger was the founder of Planned Parenthood (it’s on the organization’s website) and that Sanger’s group at the American Eugenics Society started Planned Parenthood, but I was curious to hear a women’s studies professor’s response. Professor Q did not get back to me.
The Planned Parenthood topic resurfaced after Professor Q witnessed a man protesting abortion at the local Planned Parenthood clinic. Standing in front of our class, Professor Q imitated the protestor, pacing around the room and describing the religious fanatic’s trance-like state. Then, she pulled out her cell phone, which contained photos of the man. It never occurred to her that the religious fanatic could tell a similar story; he could describe a radical feminist, so utterly possessed, that she pulled her car to the side of the road and stalked around the clinic parking lot snapping photos of him with an iPhone.
In the graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel details life with her closeted father Bruce Bechdel. Bruce was an English teacher and had homosexual encounters with his students and the family babysitter before committing suicide. For obvious reasons, I found the book depressing and, notwithstanding its two-week stint on the New York Times Best Seller list, I did not enjoy reading it. The only thing I would certainly enjoy less was the class discussion, in which we were supposed to appreciate the plight of Bruce Bechdel, a stereotypical gay pervert, as an indictment against the intolerant society that repressed his true identity.
Before class another student admitted to me that she loathed the reading, and so when Professor Q asked if anyone disliked Fun Home I raised my hand—certainly I wouldn’t be alone. Yet, I looked up from my notepad and found the only raised hand was mine. It is common knowledge that students generally align with women’s studies professor’s views, no matter the degree of absurdity, in order to achieve a satisfactory grade. This experience provided shocking evidence.
As I approach my final semester at Hamilton College, I cannot imagine having a better four years at any other academic institution. My beliefs may not align with many Hamilton professors, but I have found that many encouraged me to think and write for myself. The same cannot be said for the women’s studies department, for I have never felt like more of an unthinking parrot than as a student enrolled in Intro to Women’s Studies. That is a sad statement about a liberal arts institution that values academic freedom, and I am certain that Hamilton is not alone in providing feminists with a safe haven from criticism and logic. Women’s studies departments nationwide force students to imitate at a time when ingenuity is crucial; college should be a place where the free-flow and competition of ideas encourages young people to discover the right answers.
To close, radical feminist Simone de Beauvoir got one thing right when she wrote over a half-century ago that most women never had to sense in their femininity an inconvenience. This holds even truer today, for I do not find my own femininity to be inconvenient—I just wish feminists would stop trying to convince everyone that it is.