Today, Christina H. Sommers tweeted this
The quoted part is a great example of the shifting of goalposts of contemporary feminism. The whole context of the quote (you can read it in the document she links) is this:
The gender gap isn’t confined to politics. It’s especially noticeable at public universities, where female students now substantially outnumber males. Nationwide, women now constitute 57 percent of college students.
Yet even though women now receive significantly more B.A.s than men, they have not achieved equality in the classroom. Today’s college classrooms still contain subtle, and not so subtle, gender biases.
So, not only the previous goal of equality has been achieved, it has been exceeded (now there are more women.) Somehow, however, sexism (or “gender bias”) still exists. Now, there are four main possible answers to this:
(1a) The original goal was wrong (i.e. that the “gender gap” was irrelevant and not related to sexism or real discrimination) and this new one is also nonsense.
(1b) The original goal was wrong, but this one may actually have something to do with *real* sexism. This may seem like a weird choice, but it is indeed possible, but that would require feminists to admit they were wrong about their first crusade.
(2a) The original goal was correct and it solved a real issue based on real discrimination. This new one, however, is not important.
(2b) The original goal was correct, and this new one also is important.
Whoever wrote the quoted paper obviously thinks the answer is (2b), but not only thinks it is important but equally important. After all, I may think international peace and correct movie dubbing are both important issues, but I won’t say they are equally important. However, this is how the paper describes the classroom:
Proponents of feminist pedagogies view the classroom as a site of power, privilege, and hierarchy, and regard teaching as an inherently political act. Yet the politics of the classroom, these scholars maintain, remain obfuscated.
That’s the same definition they use for society, politics, rape, or, well, anything. That’s a universal problem with progressive warriors, their zeal for contemporary minor inconveniences is the same one their forefathers felt when fighting against slavery. So, although now they fight “subtle” biases, their ideological fury is still the same, and their solutions are more or less the same too (affirmative action & more government involvement.) They lack a sense of proportion.
In any event, what does the paper criticizes, and what does it want? It says that women are still discriminated, and gives various examples that can be boiled down to this: Teachers (male and female) pay less attention to female students. It gives three reasons why this happens:
(1) Linguistic differences between males and females. For example:
▪ women present their statements in a more hesitant, indirect, or “polite” manner
▪ qualify their statements (“sort of,” “maybe,” “perhaps”)
▪ add “tag” questions (“. . . isn’t it?,”. . . don’t you think?”)
▪ ask questions rather than give statements, even if they know an answer
▪ apologize for their statements (“I may be wrong, but . . .”).
(2) Differences in student behavior, like:
- less likely to blurt out answers or demand the teacher’s attention
- less likely to receive feedback, whether praise, help, or criticism
- less likely to have their comments credited, developed, adopted, or even remembered by the group
and (3) differences in self-image and self-presentation:
- Require higher grades to persist in a field than men do.
- Are more likely to refer to personal experiences in class.
- Tend to feel less comfortable in public debate.
- Are more likely to phrase their comments in a hesitant manner.
And the goal is to create “An inclusive Classroom Environment.” Some of the specifics are vague (and others are specific in a very Orwellian way,) but seeing the list of problems, I can guess the solution would be that those things would not happen. Note, however, that nowhere in the list of solutions is there any mention that female students should try to be more assertive. It’s all a job for the teacher and the institutions to adapt to their students.
Now, I’m not denying the specifics (that women are more hesitant to give their opinions,) that is something common sense and basic perception will confirm, only the interpretation and the alleged “solution.” Also, there is no mystery why some teachers (including female teachers) may ignore their female students.
Professors are always saying the same stuff to a group of barely adult people who would rather be doing something else, and that’s boring and exasperating. Who would you like more? Assertive, even a little aggressive, students, or shy people who phrase every answer like a question? Those who raise their hands fast and in a decisive manner, or those who hesitate to even call your attention? I’ll be blunt: female students can be quite boring and, therefore, forgettable. Almost all points and alleged biases the paper mentions can be deduced from that fact.
Stop thinking about this as a gender issue and frame it as it were about friendship or people you just met. Read the list of things women are “discriminated” against and the one about their behavior, and be honest: Who would you rather have as a friend or who would you remember if you just met them, the guy who is assertive or the one who is too shy to even answer a question directly? Yes, women are less assertive, and that may be partially biologic, but they are not finished products, they can IMPROVE.
And this is what brings me the point of this post. The paper presupposes that all of this is someone else’s fault (the “System” or “Patriarchy”, probably.) In a metaphysical or philosophical level, yeah, but you could say that about almost anything. The point is that it also assumes the solution should come from someone else.
If someone were to write that but about men, he would me mocked, and rightfully so. Why? Because that mindset brings weakness and self-defeat. Basically, every self-help book or article from the manosphere is dedicated to state that, yes, you may be shy, yes, you may be terrified of the world, yes, you may have many issues, but you are a man (or should become one,) so grow some balls and get out. In other words, those problems are YOUR responsibility and YOU CAN CHANGE THEM.
But women don’t have the equivalent of a manosphere. They have feminists, and every feminist paper tells them that if something is wrong (even if it’s that women use more “maybe”s than men,) it’s someone else’s fault AND someone else’s responsibility. Also, that they are powerless to change anything except by moaning and waiting for the System to change. That’s a very unhealthy way of looking at the world. A tempting one, true, but unhealthy.
The document could have mentioned a few simple tricks, even if from the shallow self-help variety (“tell your students to be more confident. Tell them to repeat to themselves that they can do it, to not believe that others are controlling them,” etc.) But no, what it says is that the classroom is a battlefield, an inherently hostile environment of ideology and power relationships stacked against women just because they are women. And the solution? To transform the classroom into a safe space where no feelings will be hurt and reality will not enter:
“Sequence students, so that neither men nor women dominate the discussion, and create opportunities for even the most reticent students to speak.”
[translated: force people to speak in turns or the new goal of feminism: Equality through “Speech Quotas”]
“Provide positive feedback and encouraging comments to all of your students. Validate their opinions, and affirm their ability to succeed.”
[Translated: Tell them they are special snowflakes even if their opinions are uneducated crap.]
“Metacognition—critical reflection about content and pedagogy—needs to become an integral part of the classroom experience. Encourage critical reflection about readings, assignments, and evaluation methods.”
[Translated: give up your authority and let them decide what to read.]
“Rotate leadership in the class. Consider making every student a discussion leader or an expert at some point during the semester.”
[translated: see “snowflakes”]