Please note that any opinions expressed by this writer do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff of the Megaphone.
There are a lot of things in this world that are started with good intentions, but are completely misguided in all of their premises. Take things like world peace, bringing democracy to foreign countries without it and saving species that don’t really matter as examples. Now, I know a bit about these things, but by far the one I’m most immediately familiar with is Feminist Studies. But before I say anything about that, I must make a few things clear to begin with: First, I understand the points that Feminist Studies attempts to make despite the fact I am not majoring in the discipline. You can know what biology is about without ever having read a biology textbook in your life. Second, I must state that I am not personally against anyone who studies feminism, feminist teachers or the like. Finally, I must emphasize that I am definitely for first and second wave feminism, which championed women’s rights and equality in the workplace. Those movements produced wonderful changes within our society that allowed women to pursue their own careers without the fetters of having to fulfill traditional family roles imposed by patriarchy.
What I don’t love is third-wave feminism, which is generally the purview of feminist studies. What’s wrong with the “study” altogether is that its practitioners use silly academic fluff like postmodernism, post-structuralism and psychoanalysis in an ineffective attempt to substantiate their prevailing notions that gender does not exist. It’s too bad that gender isn’t as much of a social construct as something like an economic system, but that’s just not the case. If you want to make such claims like that you should read the science first. A good starting point is chapter 18 of Steven Pinker’s book “The Blank Slate.” His work does everything this op-ed attempts to do and more.
The fact remains that men and women are fundamentally different and always will be. If they weren’t, evolution never would have happened, girls would ask men for their number, and you’d see a hell of a lot more guys in a Bath and Body Works store. There’s more than enough evolutionary and developmental psychology out there to tell you that differences appear prenatally and manifest themselves before that evil boogieman they call society ever “corrupts” these poor kids’ brains.
You can cavil all you want with facts, but the only thing that will make them disappear is a rubber eraser. Read the data and you will see that gender roles are the results of inherent biological tendencies just like everything in society is. After all, you don’t think society was created in a vacuum do you? Everything you see around you has some genetic basis otherwise it wouldn’t exist. The fact that most people have a fonder view of men who have frequent sex with different partners than women who do likewise has nothing to do with society. It has everything to do with genes.
As a further caveat, that’s not to say that literally everything you see in society is a product of the environment. Obviously there was no genetic predisposition causing society to disregard women’s right to vote and be independent. But there are such things called sex chromosomes and the research will assure that almost every individual with XX chromosomes will have a feminine disposition and almost every individual with XY chromosomes will have a masculine one.
So with all of this in mind, why does feminist studies even exist as a major? After four years, all those feminist studies graduates are going to have is a worthless piece of paper tacked onto their wall in the form of a “college degree.” Also, if you are going to let feminist studies exist you should let masculinist studies exist as well. Seems only fair right? Let’s say Title IX for the academic world.
It’s a shame we don’t see more intellectual honesty in academia. The last thing we need is another pseudo-intellectual practice spring up within universities that has some undeserved inviolability and respect from other academicians. But if you are fine with such practices existing, why not palm-reading, witchcraft or astrology? How would going to a school that offered those disciplines make you feel about the validity of your college education?