Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies courses?

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Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies courses?

Post by Forty Two » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:11 pm

Are the real gender studies - the real feminism - the real "intersectionalism" -- the real "identity politics" -- quite reasonable and sensible reactions to real, identifiable sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.? Or, are the "wacko" or "extreme" radicals really the mainstream of such progressive thought?

Here's a description of what goes on in gender studies....to me, it sounds like the wackos and extreme radicals that folks have said are not the real feminist ideals or principles. So, is what is being taught in colleges and universities the ridiculous fringe, or an accurate statement of ideology?

What say y'all?
When I first discovered women’s studies, I was lulled into a comforting sense that I had discovered the “truth.” It was as if my veil of ignorance had been yanked away, and I was blissfully seeing the world for what it really was.

I have taken seven women’s studies classes; initially at a nondescript state university and later at a women’s college in Manhattan. After taking those classes, I realize that not only was I deluded, but I was led into an absurd intellectual alcove where objective truth is subordinate to academic theories used as political propaganda.

Indeed, since knowledge itself is considered a patriarchal construct, feminist theories are the organizing principles of classes.

The theoretical backbone of women’s studies is grounded in three main conjectures: that of the patriarchy, intersectional oppression, and social constructionism.

None of these contentions can be proven or falsified. Yet, as a student, good grades are contingent on agreeing with them. So what do they actually represent?

No theory is more fundamental to academic feminism than the theory of the patriarchy. Quite simply — and perhaps too simply — patriarchy is the theory that there is a regime of institutionalized male control over women.

Male control, and thus, its logical consequence — female oppression — is the foundational theory my classes were structured on.

But while patriarchy theory debuted in Kate Millet’s book Sexual Politics (1970), feminists soon realized that oppression didn’t exist just along the lines of gender.

Almost 20 years later, in 1989, Kimberlé Crenshaw challenged the notion of oppression existing on just the “single categorical axis” of gender. She introduced another axis of oppression: race.

This led the path for intersectional, or inter-axis, oppression. But why just analyse oppression through the vectors of race and gender?

The hidden message of intersectional oppression is clear: oppression is everywhere. Perhaps you think this is an exaggeration. Surely women’s studies do not teach that oppression is “everywhere,” does it? (Yes, it does.)

So, if you’re not finding oppression: look harder. The unfortunate consequence of this theory is that oppression will be found everywhere — even where it doesn’t exist.

Finally, the last theory my classes were predicated on is “social constructionism.” According to this theory, everything we can observe, such as gender differences, are because people have “constructed” them. Culture matters.

While this doctrine can yield valuable insights, it also engenders women’s studies’ biggest blind-spot: biology. Social constructionism theory was meant to subvert the former prominence of biological determinism, but perhaps it worked a little too well.

Decades ago, popular thinking was biology caused gender differences, nothing else. Now, the pendulum in theorizing has shifted. Nay, biology doesn’t determine fate, but culture.

Men are violent not because of hormones, but because of socialization into “toxic masculinity.” And women, who are more nurturing, do so because of sexist conditioning, says social constructionism.

In fact, merely mentioning biological differences can be wrongthink. Or worse, as I learned in one of my classes, it can be upsetting to genderqueer or transgender students. Thus, some of the root causes of what makes men and women differ — hormonal, neurological, and biological differences — is left out of the discussion.

Mentioning dissident academics is also wrongthink. For example, during a discussion on intersex individuals, I earnestly recalled an article I read by well-known academic Alice Dreger. “Transphobic and problematic,” my professor tisked.

We were also taught that our personal experiences were forms of knowledge, “lived experience.” This is why discussions that began with students rhapsodizing on feminist theory often devolved into emotional overindulgence. Class discussions trend towards group-therapy sessions. In fact, this is why my syllabi have often employed disclaimers telling students that “what is said in the classroom, stays in the classroom.”

In all, the thick academic prose of feminist scholars confers gravitas to what otherwise could resemble political propaganda. “The patriarchy is the root cause of everything! Fight it now!”… if only the word patriarchy was replaced with capitalism, it’d be similar to communist propaganda.

It’s no coincidence that many of my former professors had academic backgrounds in Marxism. In fact, it makes sense now, since redistribution of privilege (and not just capital) is an imperative for a utopian post-oppression society.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that my professors are bad people. They’re not, and as people, I respect them tremendously. My concern is not with them, but with the subject content itself.

Oppression does indeed exist. But, oppression is complicated, far more complicated than can be distilled in an undergraduate academic setting. And teaching students how to view the world through the lens of oppression isn’t just dangerous, but cruel. Nothing is more oppressive than having your professors teach you that you’re a victim.
http://quillette.com/2016/08/26/what-i- ... s-classes/
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by laklak » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:13 pm

I don't understand femsplaining, can a man translate?
Yeah well that's just, like, your opinion, man.

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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by Cunt » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:17 pm

This certainly isn't the 'feminism means equality - just like the dictionary' meaning. Since I simply get attacked if I take a stand, I'll allow feminist apologists to state their case first, and see if I agree.
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by Tero » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:32 pm

Had to resist parody "genital studies" as the pictures would not be allowed.

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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by Cunt » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:53 pm

Too bad. I have, believe it or not, created one or two relevant photos. Ah well.
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by JimC » Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:47 am

An odd and somewhat absurd little niche of academia, that can be ignored except by those who see it as the end of civilisation as we know it... :tea:
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:53 am

Yep.

And even if one decided that it was problematic but not worth getting panties twisted over it, one could consider that looking at allegedly everything through the lens of oppression is an abstraction (like chemistry, biology, psychology are all abstractions flowing back through to physics), and could provide valuable insights into social interaction that might not otherwise be apparent. This is why diversity in education and research is so important.
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by JimC » Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:58 am

pErvin wrote:Yep.

And even if one decided that it was problematic but not worth getting panties twisted over it, one could consider that looking at allegedly everything through the lens of oppression is an abstraction (like chemistry, biology, psychology are all abstractions flowing back through to physics), and could provide valuable insights into social interaction that might not otherwise be apparent. This is why diversity in education and research is so important.
It's pretty clear that some examples of oppression are only too real, but, unfortunately, by exaggerating to a ridiculous degree, the weird end of the progressive spectrum is similar to the little boy who cried wolf; their absurdities make many (and not just absolute reactionaries) more skeptical of actual oppression than would otherwise be the case...
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:03 am

Think about pre radical behaviourism vs cognitivism. They are two different abstractions of biology to psychology. They can't both be right, but nevertheless both have added to our understanding of the mind. Assuming that the "oppression" model of social interaction is wrong, it's not necessarily the case that investigating things under the paradigm is lacking in value.
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by rainbow » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:09 am

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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by Svartalf » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:49 am

JimC wrote:An odd and somewhat absurd little niche of academia, that can be ignored except by those who see it as the end of civilisation as we know it... :tea:
Well, there are days when I wonder how academia could make room for such absurdities... then I remember that for centuries, academia was based on studying chretinity and how Jesus could be human and god at the same time, the doctrine of the trinity, and how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:58 am

Just look at Arts degrees.
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by Forty Two » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:15 pm

JimC wrote:An odd and somewhat absurd little niche of academia, that can be ignored except by those who see it as the end of civilisation as we know it... :tea:
Well, the issue of the degree of importance of gender studies to the world is different than the issue raised in the OP. The issue raised in the OP grows out of the discussions of what is and is not the real feminism or intersectional feminism. Some say that when events, news items and topics are raised here and there on this forum that they are not really mainstream thought, or have nothing really to do with real feminism or intersectional feminism or progressive identity politics in real life. The items and events raised are often dubbed extreme and the various personages are dubbed whackos.

One area where we can examine the principles of gender studies, women's studies, and feminism is in the university setting, because this is where subjects are studied. Accepted texts are utilized in academic settings, and the purpose is to teach the subject matter. Now, it may be that what is taught in gender studies programs and classes is wacko and extremist, or it may be that it accurately states the foundational principles, the nuance and the aspects of what is and is not gender studies and feminism, etc.

This thread is for exploring that. Perhaps we can look at some textbooks and other materials. Let's see what the experts are saying. It has to be at least as valuable as what our friends down at the pub think.
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:27 pm

I'm not sure what gender studies has to do with feminism. Can you give examples?
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Re: Gender Studies - what is taught in gender studies course

Post by Forty Two » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:43 pm

Gender studies is a field for interdisciplinary study devoted to gender identity and gendered representation as central categories of analysis. This field includes women's studies (concerning women, feminism, gender, and politics), men's studies and queer studies. https://www.whitman.edu/academics/depar ... er-studies
In Gender Studies courses, you'll investigate

The history of feminist thought and action
Social justice, labor issues, and global politics
Studies of masculinity
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender studies
Queer theory
The intersections of gender with race, class, and sexuality
International gender scholarship from the last four decades
http://www.newschool.edu/lang/gender-studies/
“When I was in college, I took a terrorism class. ... The thing that was interesting in the class was every time the professor said ‘Al Qaeda’ his shoulders went up, But you know, it is that you don’t say ‘America’ with an intensity, you don’t say ‘England’ with the intensity. You don’t say ‘the army’ with the intensity,” she continued. “... But you say these names [Al Qaeda] because you want that word to carry weight. You want it to be something.” - Ilhan Omar

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