Thursday, August 21, 2008

When will Men finally be treated fairly?

A disgruntled lawyer is suing Columbia University for discrimination against men! Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but it's true, a New York lawyer and self-proclaimed anti-feminist (and probably a good friend of Rush Limbaugh), would like everyone to know that Women's Studies courses are unfair to men.  
While this man is so busy worrying about what ideology is being spread against men, he should just realize that Women's Studies like other course offerings in Universities continue to be offered because they continue to be profitable, the students pay the thousands of dollars in tuition and attend the classes. So, I encourage him to design a program for Men's Studies and let's see how many people are interested... maybe he can start by studying what's on Spike TV.

UPDATE: I certainly don't want to disparage existing Men's Studies Programs. My remarks here  were designed to question the legitimacy of this lawsuit, which I view as one man's attempt to use the press for his own agenda against liberated women. ( He uses the term Feminazi's. His other lawsuits involved suing the Federal Government over a law that protects women from violence. Beyond that he has a lawsuit against nightclubs for lady's night discounts! see: NY Times) I appreciate Len's comment and I agree that gender studies is a progressive development. Of course, neither women's nor men's studies programs should be used as a forum for discrimination. I think one important way of determining whether these types of programs are rigorous is to evaluate the extent to which they are seeking to contribute to a pluralist interpretation of the world that will be passed on to the next generation, and not simply seeking to spread their own interpretation of the world as the only valid one. 

(Thanks to Michelle Forrest for sending me this link)

1 comment:

leonard waks said...

Andrea is of course right that universities, in the age of the "multiversity" as Clark Kerr labled it, are simply free markets of ideas.

It is worth adding, however, that mens studies is alive and well, and is reasonably well integrated into the field of gender studies today.

Among Deweyan scholars, Temple's James Earl Davis is a leader in the study of what he calls "masculinities," that is constructions of maleness.

I'm not sure that male studies is anymore likely to be the "hot" new discipline than "suburban studies". But I think the broadening of the gender studies field to include men is a healthy development. Field emphases have their own product cycles (so long as we are speaking about the big bucks) and the pressing need for a distinct field of womens studies, which I certainly do not dispute, is not the same today as in the 1960s when gender discrimination was rife.

By the same token I think the expansion of urban studies to include the suburbs, in a broader "metropolitan studies," is also progressive. Urban studies became a code term for the study of ghettoized racial minorities. Whatever good it did, it also did a lot of harm to the image of older cities, casting them as crime and poverty ridden detritus of the industrial past. Cities, however, are also the source of civilizational progress, and they need an escape route from "urban studies" to strut their stuff and show how they can contribute to positive images of educational change.