UPDATE 2/8/2010 – Greetings, visitors from “Also Spake Zustra!” I have a special message for you at the bottom of this post:
Original post follows:
Indeed, I rarely read it at all.
As the Twin Cities’ best feminist, it’s depressing, really, to see the perversions that pass for “Feminism” among some of these people.
But you learn to accept that as a given after a while.
What’s funny, though, is catching the occasional dispatch from Cloud Nine.
Academic humanities departments,nationwide, are solidly left-of-center, politically and socially. While my English major advisor indeed, started me on the road to conservatism, we were both outliers. It’s entirely possible to go through a career in humanities, I suspect, and ever have to confront conservatism as anything but a set of stereotypes that you mock with your colleagues.
So this bit here, from a Teaching Assistant at an unnamed graduate program, is interesting; it’s a cry from the heart of a woman having to face…people who approach the world differently than her.
And it’s heart-rending indeed:
I’m a graduate student, teaching a freshman-level writing class. I’ve been a feminist pretty much from the moment my mom popped me out. Anyway, I always lived in a bubble–thinking that the way I thought was simple common sense. Women are equal. Birth control is good. Yada yada yada. I realized as a I grew up, however, that the liberal home life I knew was not the reality for the rest of my peers.
Of course, for many people that can be a growth experience.
Question for the class: How did/does our author perceive this?
And then, last fall, I began teaching composition to university freshmen. My students are, by and large, white, affluent, politically and religiously conservative. To many of them, feminism is a bad word and young, female teachers are pushovers and useless.
To be fair to the students, if this post is any indication, it may not be a group assessment.
Maybe it’s the age gap, as I am 26 to their 18. Maybe it’s the cultural gap, as I am in the deep-South, but spent most of my formative years in more urban, liberal regions of the globe. There are a lot of maybes here.
Yes, indeed. Let’s keep going:
- Maybe you are a cultural bigot.
- Maybe your preening sense of entitlement has left you believing that it’s your way or the highway.
It’s a start.
I loved this bit:
I was making my rounds amongst my students, assisting them at their computers, answering questions, etc. I was sharing an anecdote with a student about my own writing/process, and she (SHE!) asked me what my focus was. I told her–technology and feminist scholarship–and then… the eyes. I heard a short intake of breath. Her eyes grew wide. “Oh my god! Are you a feminist!?” She said the word feminist just the way I say “rapist.”
I nodded. “Yes, I am. Equal rights are a great thing.” She laughed awkwardly, and I moved on.
Who told this young woman that feminism is a bad thing? Seriously–who? She’s a bright woman. She was a fantastic student. But just the same–to her, what I am, is a monster. I don’t feel particularly monstrous.
And she’s not. What she is is a caricature – so much so that a small part of me still thinks “she” is a parody. Feminism – gender identity feminism, to be exact, and as distinct from equity feminism, which is what I believe in – has become a caricature, a caricature that real, “bright women” and “fantastic students”, the people who will go on to productive lives in business, government, society and/or family as they choose, mock without mercy.
It’s a bottomless wellspring of material for some of us. So I’m gladdened to see…
And next Monday, a whole new round begins–and this year, I’m doing more socially-conscious assignments than last year. Could be interesting. But I realize now, that if I don’t ask them pointed questions about how they view the world (be it television, themselves, etc), no one else will, either.
…that not only is the caricature continuing, but it’s growing:
They’ve already made it 18 years without challenging the status quo. Imagine that.
By not becoming Mao-frenching, entitlement-mongering semiotics-of-identity zombies under the influence of the author and the vast majority of her colleagues, they are pantsing the status quo.
Kudos to them.
SPECIAL ADDENDUM FOR “ZUSTRA” READERS: Yeah, my whole “Twin Cities’ Best Feminist” bit really got under some peoples’ skins. Can they not see how absurdly they were being played? “Best” Feminist? Really?
And yet it’s kept the same pack of mental midgets (of both purported genders) howling with rage for years, now. As if on cue.
I’m trying to find a concept as smug, tautological and dim-witted as “mansplainer” to apply to these – words fail – simpering infants who can’t accept the idea that there’s a rational B-side to their ideas. But I can’t think of anything that dumb.
Anyway, thanks for stopping!