Dr. Janice Fiamengo, an English professor at the University of Ottawa, gave a lecture at the University of Toronto last Thursday. This was the same venue Warren Farrell spoke at last year, during which feminists protesters tried to stop people from getting in to hear his speech. So it comes as no surprise that when Fiamengo began her lecture someone pulled the fire alarm.
Nicely done, protesters.
Fortunately, the lecture did go on. It can be viewed in full online. Fiamengo’s point about the biased nature of women’s studies is nothing new. Over the years, many people have noted that the women’s studies departments on many college campuses have become nothing more than ideology factories. They teach doctrine and religion, but offer no critical analysis of any ideas. That results in people simply repeating the same rhetorical nonsense with no understanding of what is coming out of their mouths. As Emma Teitel noted:
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.
Teitel went on to agree that women’s studies needs the overhaul Fiamengo suggested because the detractors were not an example of women’s studies at its finest. I disagree. This appears to be as good as it gets.
As I noted above, this is not the first time people critiquing feminism or discussing men’s issues faced hostile feminist opposition. The same thing happened to Farrell last year, feminist opposed the creation of a men’s group at a UK university, on GMP Danny noted another group of feminists tried to ban the discussion of men’s issues by arguing it is anti-woman hate speech, and even feminist professors have written about the ideological abyss that is women’s studies.
How can one have an open discussion if one side tries to shut it down before it starts? How can one have an open discussion if one side thinks they have all the answers? How can one have an open discussion if one side thinks the other side is the cause of all their problems?
What is interesting about Danny’s op-ed is that no feminists participated in the discussion. Part of that may be that GMP has run away most of its former feminist audience with its rape posts from last year. However, that does not stop the resident feminist authors from commenting. Yet none have.
This is the problem with the current state of “gender issues.” One side has zero interest in hearing about the other side’s concerns, feelings, and experiences. One side refuses to listen to, let alone accept, any criticism about their views while hurling nothing by mockery and insults at the other side. And the discussion, conversation, or debate does not happen on their terms, one side decides leaves.
How can one have an open discussion if one side will not even show up?
It will take more than an overhaul to fix this problem because the issue not really the academic setting or the lazy indoctrination that many in women’s studies call “education.” The real problem is the ideology guiding those views, and few people to accept that ideology are willing to change it.