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Feminism as an educational virus
By Bernard Chapin
Although I am paid decent money to teach a class once a quarter at a Chicago university, I view my work as an instructor as yielding tremendous secondary benefit because what I observe and experience is invaluable to readers who have no interaction with colleges, universities or students whatsoever.
It is with this advantage in mind that I report the occurrences from my latest class. The other day we were set to discuss two chapters from our human development textbook on "Gender" and "Sexuality." The tone of the text is one of activism. I believe that it actively attempts to indoctrinate the reader with its worldview. Yet, while I find this to be true of the entire book, these two chapters are by far the worse. They read as if screamed from the end of Gloria Steinem's bullhorn.
Knowing the chapters intimately gave me a perfect opportunity for what I call "diversity moments." This is when I expose the students to arguments that they have likely never heard before in a university setting (many have confirmed their novelty in the past). I blocked out arguments on many of the pages, and brought in three evolutionary psychology sources along with Who Stole Feminism by Christina Hoff Sommers.
A subsection concerning sexism was my first opportunity to illuminate. I read the definition aloud from the text and interjected that I thought sexism a very nebulous word indeed. I presented a scenario to support my claim. I asked, "If sexism is discrimination against a person due to their sex, then is it safe to presume that a man's preference for looking at pictures of women over pictures of men is a form of de facto discrimination against his own gender? Is that not an example of sexism?"
A cloudburst of laughter followed (which is not that rare in my classes) as they thought my point bizarre. Yet, I heard no answers to my question except that women were being objectified by photography. I pointed out that men stare at women in a fashion unlike they do objects. If women were mere objects then they would be of only passing interest to men rather than the lifetime pinnacle of interest that they are.
We then consulted the book's examples of modern sexism. It was here that the authors revealed explicitly their radical feminist orientation. It's best not to paraphrase the section, but, instead, to reproduce their actual words. I think, my reader, you will be highly surprised by what they wrote.
The text immediately differentiated "modern sexism" from "old-fashioned sexism." It seems that old-fashioned sexism is sexism that the majority of the population would recognize. In juxtaposition, modern sexism is something that the majority of Americans would never recognize but instead confuse with "intelligent discussion." The author informs us that sexism still fumes and pulses–even if it takes four state-salaried, gender consultants to find it.
Modern sexism is "characterized by the denial that there is still discrimination, antagonism towards women's demands, and lack of support for policies designed to help women." What? Can you believe they'd put out this straw man argument? Of course somebody somewhere experiences discrimination, how could they not with 286 million citizens, but what is not mentioned is that there is clearly far less discrimination today than in the past.
If these "scholars" wanted to be especially topical, you'd think they'd mention the newest component in gender culture: discrimination against men. However, their definitional avoidance of this issue, and in the cases they use to justify the prevalence of modern sexism, indicates just how much anti-male bias flourishes in academia. In fact, academics like these continue to mass-produce misandry because not one part of their explanation affords any room for men to be anything but oppressors. More importantly, if males like myself really are oppressors, then why I am being publicly oppressed by a department approved text in human development?
Their extensive examples showcase just how entrenched the cultural left is within the social sciences. I will warn you ahead of time; some of what follows is so appalling you should arrow back to the homepage if you happen to have high blood pressure.
Apparently, when you hold that "women rarely miss out on good jobs because of sexist discrimination" then you are…sexist. Few things are more fallacious than this. I truly believe that in 2003 few women miss out on good jobs due to discrimination and the burden of proof is on the person who makes such an outlandish assertion. It definitely is not on the one who presumes equality as my boss is a woman, her boss is a woman, and the boss of the whole operation is a black woman. When one looks outside any door they can see women working and achieving all across the vocational landscape.
Yet, politically correct methodology eliminates any conversation on this topic as you are pronounced guilty if you even question their assertions. Can you think of anything more outrageous being taught in a university than forbidding one to acknowledge what actually occurs in the outside world? [You undoubtedly can and that's another column in itself.] This, like all of political correctness, makes a mockery of the notion of the university as being a place to search for truth. Any university that practices such procedures should change its motto to, "Please don't search for truth because you just may find it."
The author continues to attempt to shield the cultural left from anyone who may dare question them, by declaring that, "It is rare to see women treated in a sexist manner on television" is another example of discriminatory speech. Well, who's to say the overall accuracy of such a statement? What programs are they referring to? Shouldn't that be specified before drawing a conclusion? Shouldn't they tell us exactly what this sexism is?
The author's reasoning is completely circuitous. He declares that an act of sexism is denying that you see sexism when you turn on the television, but he neglects to tell us what this sexism is. Is it the way Dan Rather pronounces a female reporter's name? What? If the discrimination were blatant there should be a bevy of evidence to support his claim but there is not.
Here's a coppery gem to add to your collection of shadow sexism: "Society has reached the point where women and men have equal opportunities for achievement." Gee, that's a great resolution for debate, but wait, we can't exercise our wits over it as, if we do so, we discriminate against women.
Just for the sake of offending these pusillanimous cowards who fear rejoinder, I will add that not only do I think women have as a fair a chance to succeed in our society as men, but I believe they have an even better chance to succeed due to the state's sponsorship of affirmative action– which encourages the hiring of women over men.
It then gets even more humorous: "It is not easy to understand why women's groups are still concerned about societal limitations on women's opportunities." I guess they figured nobody like me would make such garbage known to the world, as a whiney piñata like that anyone could pop.
When one considers that American women are some of the most privileged human beings on this planet, it becomes evident that few of us can understand their obsessions about eradicating men's wrestling and baseball teams. If the activists lack the perspective to appreciate all that they've been given then they really are not worth taking seriously at any level. They give thanks for nothing and respond to gifts with bellows of "More!" and "More!"
However, from another angle, it is easy to understand why women's groups are still concerned because they crave power as opposed to rights. They already have all their rights. What they want now is the power to control us all. These "activists" don't care about women. Women are their pawns for getting what they want. As for men, they fervently hate us. What they want is to nannystate us into submission with their regulations and reeducation ovulars.
Therefore, I can understand why women's groups [read: radical feminists] continue to exist, but it is the job of the rest of us to uncover their hidden motivations. Then others can see them as the disturbed vipers they really are.
Last, is the absurd, "It is not easy to understand the anger of women's groups in America." Well, maybe they're right here. It's easy to understand why mentally imbalanced people are angry. It's intrinsic to their disorders. If they were healthy they'd eschew conspiratorial organizations and have normal, productive lives instead. Yet, by joining societies of complaint, they can scapegoat men and avoid examining their own lives and flawed personalities.
In our society, misandry is a practice that most people can indulge in with little cost. I mean how many of these reptiles care what Bernard Chapin says about them? None. Why should they when Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden can't wait to do photo ops with them? No, for women's groups, lying about men is a way to garner funds and appear like victims at the same time. It's a tactic they will never give up.
Look, none of the aforementioned examples is reflective of sexism, but most of political correctness has no basis in reality. What textbooks like mine attempt to do is to deliberately turn open-minded students into believers in the cult of victimology. All we need to remember as far as sexism or any "ism" goes, is that if it doesn't walk like a duck, fly like a duck or float like a duck; then friends, it is not a duck. This, like most other causes in academe, is an attempt to push a social agenda– which many regard as more important than educating young minds.
What you may not know is that educational materials are the Bushido of political correctness. They are the principle place where minor lies and distortions are injected into a pupil's brain, and, once inside, the fabrications replicate like viruses in the years to come. You can find leftist canards in college textbooks and "discussion" halls all over the country. The only difference is that there, as recent poll data from the American Enterprise Institute confirms, people like me are rarely present to offer logic and reality as an antidote.
Textbook in Question:
Santrock, John W. Adolescence. 2003.
Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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