Saturday, January 30, 2010

Canada: Attack on Women's Studies

Via Jezebel:

Several of our Canadian readers wrote in recently to bring our attention to a slightly insane piece put forth by the editorial board of the National Post that blames Women's Studies

programs for, well, basically everything.

Discussing a recent shift in Canadian universities that is leading many schools to rename their Women's Studies programs Gender Studies, in order to broaden the field, the National Post editorial board feels it necessary to warn the good people of Canada that the name change alone will not stop the hideous evil of the "radical feminism behind these courses [that] has done untold damage to families, our court systems, labour laws, constitutional freedoms and even the ordinary relations between men and women." Oh, ladies. If you'd just stayed in the kitchen, Canada wouldn't have devolved into Mordor over the past 50 years. For shame!

While most of the tipsters who wrote in about the bizarroville editorial urged us to rip it apart, I found myself staring at the screen in bewilderment more than anything else: the piece is so completely insane and off the rails that one doesn't really need to make fun of it, as it stands as a joke on its own. "The equality protection before and under the law, granted to all Canadians regardless of race, sex, creed or origin, has been eroded because feminist legal scholars convinced the Supreme Court to permit preferential treatment for 'traditionally disadvantaged groups,' chief among whom, they contend, are women," the board writes. Note the sarcastic "quotes" given to "traditionally disadvantaged groups." Because women are totally equal in today's society, are we not? We're free to eat yogurt and buy shoes, right ladies? What the fuck are we bitching about? Wah wah!

The piece just gets progressively more insane as it goes on, I'm afraid: Women's Studies programs, or, more accurately, women, are blamed for everything from pushing employment equity to mandatory diversity training to pushing for "for universal daycare and mandatory government-run kindergarten." Can you believe these bitches? Universal daycare!? For what? So they can work!? Who will cook for the men!?! Will they have to learn to darn their own socks? Why don't women darn socks anymore?! HELLO!?! I AM A MALE AND MY PRIVILEGE IS BEING CHALLENGED! SOMEONE HELP!

Thankfully, the readers of the National Post are expressing their disgust with the piece, noting that editorials such as this one are, in fact, the very reason why Women's Studies programs are necessary to begin with. Perhaps commenter JCraw sums it up best: "this is what misogyny looks like, stream-of-consciousness style."

National Post Editorial Board: Women's Studies is still with us

National Post editorial board, National Post Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If the reports are to be believed, Women's Studies programs are disappearing at many Canadian universities. Forgive us for being skeptical. We would wave good-bye without shedding a tear, but we are pretty sure these angry, divisive and dubious programs are simply being renamed to make them appear less controversial.

The radical feminism behind these courses has done untold damage to families, our court systems, labour laws, constitutional freedoms and even the ordinary relations between men and women.

Women's Studies courses have taught that all women--or nearlyall-- are victims and nearly all men are victimizers. Their professors have argued, with some success, that rights should be granted not to individuals alone, but to whole classes of people, too. This has led to employment equity -- hiring quotas based on one's gender or race rather than on an objective assessment of individual talents.

Executives, judges and university students must now sit through mandatory diversity training. Divorcing men find they lose their homes and access to their children, and must pay much of their income to their former spouses (then pay tax on the income they no longer have) largely because Women's Studies activists convinced politicians that family law was too forgiving of men. So now a man entering court against a woman finds the deck stacked against him, thanks mostly to the radical feminist jurisprudence that found it roots and nurture in Women's Studies.

The equality protection before and under the law, granted to all Canadians regardless of race, sex, creed or origin, has been eroded because feminist legal scholars convinced the Supreme Court to permit preferential treatment for "traditionally disadvantaged groups," chief among whom, they contend, are women.

Over the years, Women's Studies scholars have argued all heterosexual sex is oppression because its "penetrative nature" amounts to "occupation." They have insisted that no male author had any business writing novels from women's perspectives; although, interestingly, they have not often argued the converse -- that female writers must avoid telling men's stories.

They have pushed for universal daycare and mandatory government-run kindergarten, advocated higher taxes to pay for vast new social entitlements and even put forward the notion that the only differences between males and females are "relatively insignificant, external features." All other differences are said to be the result of patriarchal brainwashing. So the only way to ensure gender equality is to turn over all education to the state, where professionals can ensure only unbiased instruction.

In sum, there would be little of rational worth left even if Women's Studies were to disappear. Yet despite all the hand-wringing by the programs' supporters, are the worst elements of Women's programs really disappearing or just being renamed? Are the professors different? Has the basic philosophy behind the program changed? Has the curriculum been altered?

In most cases the answer is no. Little has changed but the nomenclature.

While we'd like to cheer and say "Good riddance," we're certain such celebration would be premature.

Read more:

By: Daphne Strassmann

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Film series from the MIT women's and gender studies

If you have a chance, check these out:

MIT program in women's and gender studies

The Price of Pleasure:
Pornography, Sexuality, & Relationships

Registration Day
Monday, February 1st, 2010

Once relegated to the margins of society, pornography has emerged as one of the most visible and profitable sectors of the cultural industries, assuming an unprecedented role in the mainstream of our popular culture at the same time that its content has become more extreme and harsh, more overtly sexist and racist. This eye-opening and disturbing film tackles the complexity behind this seeming paradox, placing the voices of critics, producers, and performers alongside the observations of men and women as they candidly discuss the role pornography has played in shaping their sexual imaginations and relationships. Honest and non-judgmental, The Price of Pleasure moves beyond the liberal versus conservative debates so common in the culture to paint a myth-busting and nuanced portrait of how pleasure and pain, commerce and power, liberty and responsibility have become intertwined in the most intimate area of our lives.

Written by The Media Education Foundation

Discussion with MIT philosophy professor Rae Langton after film screening.

*Viewer Discretion Advised: Contains violence, nudity & sexual imagery*

**Film will be screened with English Subtitles**

Nine Young Women Talk About Sex

A documentary by Melissa Tapper Goldman

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Bldg 6-120

Why do girls have sex?
How do you know?
Did you ever ask them?

Subjectified is a film that rejects the political boundaries that divide women in America. Instead, it presents a real, human picture of the diversity of sexual experiences from women around the country. If you've ever found yourself wondering about the real people behind stereotypes, you'll have to look further than the sound bite-style reality television that surrounds us. Through in-depth interviews, filmmaker Melissa Tapper Goldman lets women do the talking, trading easy answers for brutal honesty. While the stories may sound familiar, the women approach them in altogether unexpected ways: sometimes hilarious, sometimes disturbing and often complex. Subjectified will change the way you think about female sexuality.

Q&A with Director will follow the film.

Co-sponsored by Women in Film and Video: New England

MIT Program in Women's & Gender Studies, Room 14E-316
77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 617.253.8844

By: Daphne Strassmann

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We have just finished posting the complete list of books available at the Women's Center at this on-line library resource. There are many titles in fiction, biographies, non-fiction, and books relating to Women's Studies.

Look through the catalogue and come by the center to check-out books from our library. You can keep the books for up to 2 weeks.

By: Mia BloomBecker

I made this video for my Film, Culture and Society class. It's about art therapy and artistic identity. I put a lot of work into it, and I'm happy with the end product. It was a wonderful experience to interview Shaun McNiff, the Dean at Lesley, who’s also written many books about art therapy. I also interviewed a few of my friends, about their thoughts on art therapy and what drew them to the field. I'd love to hear any reactions or comments. The class has also inspired me to want to create more films in the future.
By: Mia BloomBecker

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reuniting- Writer's group returns.

Calling all Lesley faculty and staff:

The Women's Center sponsored writing group for Spring 2010, will start this Thursday January 28, from 12:30 pm to 2 pm.

Bring your inspiration, work in progress and above all a desire to get a lot done.

Questions? Send them over.
Want to join the group mailing list?

By: Daphne Strassmann

Friday, January 22, 2010

NWSA Call for Proposals

The Women's Center will be working more closely with the NWSA (National Women's Studies Association) in order to make information available to the Lesley Community. Let's start by letting you know about this call for proposals.

November 11-14, 2010
Sheraton Hotel, Denver, Colorado


Beverly Guy-Sheftall, NWSA President & Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies, Spelman College;
Vivian M. May, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies,
Syracuse University

Download the complete CFP

About the Theme
In response to wide demand, NWSA 2010 builds on conversations that began in Atlanta at the 2009 conference. Difficult Dialogues II will explore a range of concepts and issues that remain under theorized and under examined in the field of women’s studies.

Although the problem of omissions, silences, and distortions in women’s studies has been analyzed for decades, too often feminist scholarship continues to theorize on the basis of hegemonic frameworks, false universals, and a narrow range of lived experiences. The legitimate terrain of feminist theory, inquiry, and politics remains contested.

The Difficult Dialogues theme builds on Johnnella Butler’s essays (beginning with her 1989 article in the Women’s Review of Books) about the contested relationship among and between black studies, ethnic studies, and women’s studies in the US academy. Butler pinpointed a reluctance to engage questions of gender and sexuality in black studies and ethnic studies, and a reluctance to engage with questions of race and class in women’s studies.

NWSA 2010 identifies several thematic areas in which ongoing and new difficult dialogues are urgently needed:

  • Indigenous Feminisms: Theories, Methods, Politics
  • Complicating the Queer
  • The Politics of Nations
  • “Outsider” Feminisms
  • The Critical and the Creative

See the full call for proposals

Posted by: Daphne Strassmann

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Welcome Back everyone.

By: Daphne Strassmann

So we've been out for the break, winter is still around -and shows no sign of leaving- and now we are back. Sort of. We're busy planning for when students populate the campuses again. We have exciting plans for amazing programs and no shortage of great ideas. In the mean time though, How about an opportunity for an internship?

PLEN (Public Leadership Education Network)
Summer Internship Announcement

Dear Colleague,

Happy New Year! PLEN is now accepting applications for the 2010 Women &
Public Policy Summer Internship! Please forward the following
announcement to interested students:

PLEN's Women and Public Policy Summer Internship in Washington, DC

May 24-July 30, 2010

Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s internship program is
unique because PLEN offers small, women-centered programs that focus on
connecting students with talented and successful women leaders here in
Washington. PLEN offers support and encouragement to students throughout
their time in Washington, acting as an advocate and resource for PLEN

We give each participant individualized attention from the very start,
carefully placing her in a challenging internship that matches her
skills and interests. Throughout their summer in Washington, PLEN
interns meet in weekly seminar sessions where they examine the
internship experience, build professional skills, and meet prominent
women leaders eager to share their experiences, advice, as well as
ongoing support and mentorship.

Please encourage your students to apply early to ensure a placement in
their field of interest. The application deadline for the summer
internship is January 29, 2010. for more information.


The PLEN Staff
Kristina & Ashley