The damage that radical feminism has done to our education system is incalculable. Yet the movement continues to grow exponentially, and gender studies faculties, which promote female empowerment at the expense of what is called “toxic masculinity,” continue to multiply.
Feminism has patently skewed the syllabus in the direction of gender asymmetry. In the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion, women have progressively come to dominate campus life regardless of aptitude and competency. Hiring protocols are female-friendly, as are faculty postings and grant opportunities. Qualified male candidates need to make alternative arrangements. (As Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute muses, in the prevailing climate, Einstein might have trouble getting hired for a professorship.) Male students, already in declining numbers, are under threat of allegations of sexual assault or harassment, ad hoc tribunals, and arbitrary expulsion. McGill University anthropology professor emeritus Philip Carl Salzman warns parents in a comprehensive essay for Minding the Campus, “Your sons will learn they should ‘step aside’ to give more space and power to females.”
Unfortunately, too many careers have been built on gender studies and feminist theory to allow surrender. Leftist government bureaucrats, university administrators, “diversity and inclusion” officers, and faculty across the entire academic landscape are dependent on preserving perhaps the greatest scam in the systemic apparatus we call education. Investing in a false theory or inequitable practice never prevented its adherents, whose reputations and livelihoods are at stake, from surrendering their perquisites. Rather, educrats and their cohorts will double down and increase their efforts to further their agenda. They will persist in finding ways to evade the most far-sighted and ethically determined efforts to redress the parietal imbalance by refusing to implement new directives from enlightened government agencies.
One way is to pursue legal action against elected administrations bent on reform, as in the U.S., where women’s groups are suing secretary of education Betsy DeVos for rescinding Obama’s guidelines on how to manage Title IX investigations regarding (male) sexual assault. These organizations are intent on defending a regime predicated on unsubstantiated allegations rather than due process. Similarly, in the Canadian province of Ontario, the left-feminist teacher union is suing the recently installed Conservative government for attempting to repeal the current sex ed curriculum. That this curriculum introduces very young students to sexual practices for which they are emotionally unprepared is of no account to these insurrectionary preceptors. Rather, the perpetuation of what is nothing more than a pedagogical sinkhole is their purpose, as is the case with Title IX proponents.
Another way to stymie the remedial enterprise is to stack the deck with ever more fellow-traveling faculty personnel, thus relying on critical mass to fortify a doctrinaire position. Professor Art Hill, chair of the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph, points out: “One thing that concerns me is hiring policies. Our provost at the University of Guelph hosted a session on Academic Freedom … mostly strategizing on how to limit expression of ‘undesirable’ views without making martyrs. There was little evidence of sincere respect for differing ideologies. His last slide advised that Universities can limit expression of unacceptable views via selective faculty recruitment … especially in the social sciences and humanities.” Recruitment proceeds “according to ideology.” (Personal communication.)
Not content with having ruined the humanities beyond repair, the radical sorority and its male apostles are insinuating their campaign into the STEM disciplines, now being steadily infected by the gender cathexis. There is no doubt that the study and practice of science as we know it will be drastically weakened. Toni Airaksinen at PJ Media cites a recent instance of this monetized ideological swindle, which is in fact representative: “The University of Tennessee-Knoxville will spend more than $700,000 in federal funds over the next four years to get more women into STEM, despite their proposed intervention having zero record of success.” Some of the bogus issues being addressed involve, as to be expected, the so-called “culture of implicit bias,” which simply does not exist – except insofar as it privileges women – and that strange eidolon known as women’s “emotional labor.” One does not know whether to blush or laugh.
Airaksinen pulled her punches when she should have gone for KO. “Perhaps this program might be helpful for women in STEM, and ultimately, scientific discovery at large,” she suggests, perhaps ironically, though “considering that the NSF has poured millions of taxpayer funds into similar projects and hasn’t been able to document any results, it seems unlikely.” It is not merely unlikely, but entirely implausible. Just ask Sir Tim Hunt, Larry Summers, and Matt Taylor. Science is a discipline with intrinsic standards of replication and objectivity that cannot be adulterated by peripheral concerns entailing social projects, cultural preoccupations, or the fashions of the day while remaining science.
“Emotional labor” has nothing to do with science. Gender has nothing to do with science. Stringent analysis, top-tier math, controlled experiment, endless testing, and honest commitment to the task of advancing human knowledge and exploring the universe are what science is about. If a man can do it, good. If a woman can do it, good. If an immigrant from Mars of indeterminate sex can do it, also good. But if hiring and staffing depend on extraneous factors, mediocrity is the inevitable consequence. Standards must apply across the board.
The same is true, if in various ways, of any profession. Canvass the best candidates, the most capable, the most dedicated to the field, and the most willing to work punishing hours. These are, or should be, the invariable criteria of selection and preferment. Such is undeniably the case – or should be – when it comes to the schools and colleges. Wise administrators, learned and effective teachers, and real subjects are – or should be – the essentials that underpin true education.
Feminist dogma is not one of these essentials. Departments of Gender Studies – as well as the myriad other faux “identity studies” programs like queer studies, race theory, critical theory, fat studies, sexuality studies, whiteness studies, ad vomitatum – do not constitute real subjects; they are centers of radical indoctrination or specimens of academic frivolity. Bruce Bawer’s definitive examination of our vaudeville education network, The Victims’ Revolution, is an adversarial classic and should be consulted by skeptics. Grouped under the rubric of “social justice,” identity studies programs largely explain why our universities are well on the way to becoming third-world institutions. Feminism is the mother of the “social justice” obsession that is devastating the culture and destroying education.
As I have argued before, the academy cannot be reformed, despite a decent government’s best intentions. It must be abolished or gradually phased out and replaced by schools and universities and online delivery programs founded on the traditional mandate of moral accountability, exacting scholarship, discipline-specific authority, open debate, and responsible instruction. A redoubtable task, no doubt, but one that is absolutely necessary. Feminism must have no part in it. With its reliance on false assumptions, phony statistics, affective resentment, and glib verbosity, feminism is the most potent carcinogen attacking both the body social and the health of the education system. It is toxic. It is talk-sick. It needs to go.
This article was originally posted at American Thinker and was reposted here with permission from Mr. Solway.
David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, was released by Mantua Books. His latest book is The Boxthorn Tree, published in December 2012. Visit his Website at www.davidsolway.com and his Facebook page here.