Sunday, March 23, 2008

Is Women's Studies Irrelevant?

A piece in The Independent today focuses on Metropolitan University's decision to stop offering a degree in Women's Studies. Apparently, it represents the irrelevance of feminism, the waning interest in the field, and the end of an era.

I agree that it's horrible that this university has stopped offering the course of study, but is does one university's decision make that much of a difference?

Maybe. I took a bunch of women's studies courses in college, but my college didn't offer a degree in it. This is a definite problem. But I think it's a shift. I think women are still interested in feminist theory, the feminist movement, etc., but I think they want to know how it applies to them. Because it DOES apply to them.

I hope we start seeing a new course of study. Or at least new courses. We're in the third wave of feminism, and it's time schools stepped up to the plate. Look at feminism today vs. yesterday. Look at how feminism IS relevant today. And maybe the schools should take a little more time to promote the field of study.

I might have gotten a degree in women's studies if it had been offered, but I'm not sure it would have been the right choice. Unless you're going to be a feminist scholar or historian, it's not a good choice for the future. Of course, neither is philosophy or history.

I just think women's studies needs a face lift. If we have to change it to gender studies, that's fine. We should look at how both sexes got to where we are today. Maybe students have been swayed by people like Cristina Hoff:

British and American societies are no longer patriarchal and oppressive 'male hegemonies'. But most women's studies departments are predicated on the assumption that women in the West are under siege. What nonsense.

But we need to fight this. It's not nonsense. We're not directly under attack, no. It's under the surface now, and it would be beneficial to society to have women who realize what's happening.

It's sad that the school doesn't think Women's Studies is worth promoting. But hopefully this will give us the opportunity to revamp the program. I took some great classes in school. I'd hate for those opportunities to fall by the wayside.

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