IWF’s Carrie Lukas takes on women’s studies over at National Review Online this morning. As Carrie points out, there are two key problems with women’s studies. First, it is not academically rigorous:
“[Women’s studies courses] tend to abandon rigorous analysis in favor of consciousness-raising exercises and self-exploration. One textbook explains that women’s studies ‘consciously rejects many traditional forms of inquiry, concepts, and explanatory systems; at the same time, it is developing new and sometimes unique traditions and authorities of its own.’ Those ‘unique’ traditions include providing students with ‘credit for social change activities or life experience, contracts of self-grading, diaries and journals, even meditation or ritual.’
“This is too flaky for some students. The textbook warns of potential resistance to these teaching methods. Students may commit such sins as challenging facts in an effort to ‘undermine the credibility of feminist reading materials and instructors.’ In other words, students aren’t supposed to read texts critically and reach their own conclusions. They are supposed to accept without question the materials and views of their instructors.
Second, it has a clear political agenda:
“It’s no accident that women’s studies is so different from other subjects. It has an explicit agenda, and the agenda is not simply to provide young women (and men) with knowledge and tools for future learning. Women’s studies is unabashedly political and intermingled with the feminist movement. The National Women’s Studies Association’s constitution, written in 1982, made this link clear: ‘Feminist education is a process deeply rooted in the women’s movement and remains accountable to that community.’ One textbook author writes: ‘Women’s studies is faced with a vast responsibility…. We must prepare the next generation for its participation in the women’s struggle…’
“Recruiting women into the organized feminist movement begins with convincing women that they are victims. Recruits are told that women suffer because of an oppressive societal structure-the patriarchy-which gives men power over women. Marriage lies at patriarchy’s core: Traditional marriage and family is a trap for women. Men are viewed with suspicion, potentially violent and looking to oppress. Salvation lies in an enlightened workplace, with generous paid maternity leave, free onsite daycare, and salaries that ignore factors like the number of hours you work or your job responsibilities, but ensure men and women are all paid the same.”