It seems timely that, just after publishing Thunderf00t’s critique of a particularly silly feminist and the comments to it (one of which, CodeSlinger’s, I had turned into a post of its own), I came across an interesting article.
In it, a self-described feminists recounts a talk by a former radical feminist, attended by (among others) feminists from modern academic circles. Her article is titled ‘Why women’s studies needs an extreme makeover’. It is a most interesting read…
In it, the author, Emma Teitel, quotes the speaker, Janice Fiamengo, as well as gives her own opinions on the evening. I’d like to pique your curiosity with little quotes from both (or, rather, Teitel quoting Fiamengo).
The discipline has devolved into an “intellectually incoherent and dishonest” one, she argued, replacing a “callow set of slogans for real thought.” It’s man-hating, anti-Western, and fundamentally illiberal. “It champions a “kind of masculinity that isn’t very masculine at all,” and shuts down freedom of debate, hence the fire alarm. [the fire alarm was used in an attempt to cancel the event]
She referenced the male to female death ratio on the Titanic, and declared that “self sacrifice and heroism are not exclusive to men,” “but they are distinctive to men.” Students scowled behind their wayfarers. She railed against affirmative action, a family court system skewed unjustly to favour mothers over fathers, and the deep vein of anti-Western sentiment running through academic feminism that makes it okay to decry gender inequality in the West, and keep quiet about vaginal mutilation and honour killings in the East. [my emphasis]
The women’s studies crowd looked constipated. Fiamengo’s arguments weren’t going down easy, this one—her best—in particular: women’s studies “can’t be about the pursuit of truth” because it has an “ideological base.” Its goal is to push the ideology that women are victims and men are perpetrators. Therefore, any evidence to the contrary, regardless of its veracity, is unwelcome. In other words, ideology censors truth. “If you believe you are righteous,” she said, “you don’t challenge other views.”[my emphasis]
She also writes about the Q&A that followed:
Almost every pro-women’s studies person who approached the mic last night, spoke another language, a jargon you might misconstrue as scientific–only the words they used weren’t shortcuts meant to simplify or summarize complex concepts, they were used to make simple concepts sound complex: Hegemonic, racialized, problematic, intersectionality. It was pure obfuscation, 1984 with tattoos and septum piercings. Some of the students couldn’t even string together a single lucid sentence. All they had were these meaningless, monolithic words. I felt like I was on a game show, the exercise being how many times can you say patriarchal, phallocentric hegemony in 45 seconds or less. It was frankly, for a feminist, depressing.
A thoroughly thought-provoking read!