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. For example, during a discussion on intersex individuals, I earnestly recalled an article I read by well-known academic Alice Dreger. if only the word patriarchy was replaced with capitalism, it’d be similar to communist propaganda.Male control, and thus, its logical consequence — female oppression — is the foundational theory my classes were structured on.
“Transphobic and problematic,” my professor tisked. We were also taught that our personal experiences were forms of knowledge, “.” This is why discussions that began with students rhapsodizing on feminist theory often devolved into emotional overindulgence. It’s no coincidence that many of my former professors had academic backgrounds in Marxism.
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. In fact, it makes sense now, since redistribution of privilege (and not just capital) is an imperative for a utopian post-oppression society.
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.
The unfortunate consequence of this theory is that oppression will be found everywhere — even where it doesn’t exist.
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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. While this doctrine can yield valuable insights, it also engenders women’s studies’ biggest blind-spot: biology.
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.
Social constructionism theory was meant to subvert the former prominence of biological determinism, but perhaps it worked a little too well. 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.
Decades ago, popular thinking was biology caused gender differences, nothing else. In fact, merely mentioning biological differences can be wrongthink.