Feminism Keeps Coeds from Honing Their Minds

By Fields, Suzanne | Insight on the News, October 18, 1993 | Go to article overview

Feminism Keeps Coeds from Honing Their Minds


Fields, Suzanne, Insight on the News


Women are equal in numbers to men on college campuses, making up half the undergraduates at the best schools. But they're setting up a new system of handicaps for themselves.

The new obstacles are called women's studies, written by women, for women, about women. The classes are taught by middle-class, educated women, the new oppressors of women.

Originally created as fringe courses for feminists to hyperventilate about their frustrations with men, women's studies have become institutionalized at some of our most famous universities, wasting valuable educational time (not to speak of parents'money) on intuitional, angry rhetoric about victimhood and validating the worst stereotypes of women as the weaker (thinking) sex.

These are not the conclusions of "right-wing red-hots," "Phyllis Schlafly clones" or the ubiquitous "white male enemy." These are observations and evaluations in Mother Jones, a left-wing magazine, by Karen Lehrman, a former writer and editor for the New Republic. She visited women's studies classes at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Iowa, Smith College and Dartmouth College.

"A hundred years ago, women were fighting for the right to learn math, science, Latin -- to be educated like men," she writes. "Today many women are content to get their feelings heard, their personal problems aired, their instincts and intuition respected."

The goals of many courses she visited are more therapeutic and emotive than intellectual and scholarly, and the classes seem designed to cripple a generation of women who may be fooled into believing that they are developing critical skills to use in life after a college degree. These are similar to the famous basket-weaving courses for dumb jocks.

Occasionally a male student will take one of these classes because they are rumored to be easy credits male students usually drop their eyes in embarrassment when they hear themselves blamed for female sexual dissatisfaction, and they drop out in frustration when their attempts at defending themselves are silenced.

In one Berkeley class, "Gender Politics: Theory and Comparative Study," a young man says he will sit still only if the teacher agrees not to start class again with a diatribe about Clarence Thomas as the ultimate harasser. …

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