Your Congressmen Hard at Work in Washington
Last Monday, the Washington Post described our nation’s Congressmen and Congresswomen hard at work, noting that “a group of more than 80 House members is mobilizing to get legislation passed to put a statue depicting minority women in the Capitol Rotunda.” Rep. Danny Davis, a Democrat from Illinois, frets that “the lack of representation of minority women in the Rotunda may lead visitors to think that minority women did not contribute to the history of America.” The logical conclusion of this illogical line of thinking is an ever-proliferating number of identity-politic statuary in the already crowded Rotunda.
Writing for “Women’s E-News,” psychologist Cheryl L. Meyer offers a chilling commentary on the recent murder of five children in Texas by their own mother. “The reality is that the mother who kills her child is every mother, any mother,” Meyer informs us. “Most mothers just seem to understand how a woman could kill her child,” she writes. This is a stark example of “defining deviancy down.”
Ending Quotas in Carolina
The Chronicle of Higher Education (issue dated June 29) reports that the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina has decided to end a thirty-year practice of setting aside seats on the board for women as well as for minorities. The 32-member board had been required by state law to set aside 12 seats for women and minorities, but in the face of a lawsuit by five former board members, claiming violation of equal protection laws, the university decided to end the practice.
Sisters in Science
More good news on women in academia: the Chronicle (June 25) reports on a new study that found that more women are pursuing careers as science teachers in the nation’s colleges and universities. According to the report, which was commissioned by several foundations, “over the last decade, about 40 percent of new, tenure-track science professors were women, compared with 21 percent in the 1980s.”
The Oprah-fication of Masculinity
The Chronicle also reports on the goings-on at all-male Wabash College in Indiana: worried that an all-male school might inculcate “archaic” values in its students, Warren Rosenberg, the head of the college’s English department, launched a “Men and Masculinity” course. Rosenberg is enamored of the idea that getting guys to talk about themselves and their feelings will lead to the deconstruction of masculinity; for example, students in the class are required to keep a weekly journal “taking notice of masculinity in their own environment.” Students also deconstruct movies and plays such as Platoon and 12 Angry Men. Perhaps, as Rosenberg claims, contemporary masclunity is in need of a little tweaking. But proposed masculine architecture, with its journal-writing and emoting, doesn’t strike one as a desirable alternative.
From the Journal of Gender Studies, this offering from Annie Potts: “The Man With Two Brains: Hegemonic Masculine Subjectivity and the Discursive Construction of the Unreasonable Penis-Self.”