Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

Women lost in the academy: why we need gender studies

In his response to the Steubenville rape case, musician Henry Rollins suggested that women’s studies should be incorporated into high school curricula. Rollins proposed that if young people were to understand…

La Trobe University’s proposed budget cuts to its Arts Faculty and planned discontinuation of its Gender Program sparked student unrest in 2012. Channel 10 News

In his response to the Steubenville rape case, musician Henry Rollins suggested that women’s studies should be incorporated into high school curricula. Rollins proposed that if young people were to understand that women, as war heroes, politicians, writers and revolutionaries, “have been kicking ass in high threat conditions for ages” that it would help to improve respect for women.

As we express outrage at rape culture and other manifestations of misogyny in a supposedly “postfeminist” age, it makes sense to support the study of gender in classrooms. In this context, it is astounding to see Australia’s universities dismantling their gender studies majors.

The University of Queensland houses a 41 year-old gender studies program. It plans to discontinue its undergraduate major from 2014. This will mean the loss of the last gender studies major in the state. Students at the university have planned a rally to protest the decision.

The program itself, as at many universities, has no dedicated staff member. It relies on committed staff in disciplines including history, English and philosophy to teach subjects within the major.

This year has already seen the elimination of the gender studies major at the University of Wollongong. In 2012, La Trobe University began to restructure its Arts faculty, and gender, sexuality and diversity studies was targeted for discontinuation and inspired significant student protest.

The University of Melbourne abandoned its gender studies major in 2008. In response to continued student interest, a new gender studies lecturer was appointed in 2011 and the major was recently reinstated.

Overall, however, the trend toward the reduction of the number of majors within Arts degrees is endangering the formal existence of gender studies within Australian universities.

Enrolments for subjects in these programs are healthy, but the number of students who undertake gender studies majors are usually small.

More than 80 students are currently enrolled in UQ’s introductory gender studies subject. Yet Executive Dean of Arts Fred D’Agostino justified the program’s axing because only 13 students have declared a gender studies major this year. Despite the phasing out of gender studies at Honours level in 2005, the students are committed to the major.

D’Agostino maintains that “most” gender studies subjects will continue to be offered at UQ. The primary difference is that students will no longer graduate with a gender studies major and their ability to pursue postgraduate research in the area at other institutions will be compromised.

If the subjects will continue to be taught, what are the savings that the removal of the major will generate? The price is the erasure of an important, interdisciplinary field. Nevertheless, the gradual dissolution of gender studies programs cannot be viewed purely as economic or demand-based decisions.

These courses arose out of the women’s movement in the early 1970s. They were sparked by activism for women’s rights and aimed to counter and critique the heavy male orientation of academic disciplines. In many instances, battles were fought to launch the study of women and feminist scholarship as legitimate areas of inquiry.

Activist and academic Merle Thornton taught the first women’s studies subject at UQ in 1972, establishing the program with Professor Carole Ferrier in the following year. It was as much of a challenge to the status quo as when Thornton chained herself to the bar of Brisbane’s Regatta Hotel with Rosalie Bogner in 1965 to protest women’s exclusion from public bars.

Links have been established showing the increased teaching of women’s and gender studies can lead to less violence against women. EPA/Jagadeesh

When a women’s studies course was put forward at a Humanities Board meeting at Flinders University in 1972, it was mocked. A Spanish Professor circulated a joke proposal among the male members of the Board for a course on “The Philosophical, Social, Sexual and Artistic Transcendency of Tauromachy [bullfighting]”. It belittled the very concept of the women’s studies bid.

Universities often suggest that the pioneering feminist scholars who initiated these courses have been so successful that “gender” is now integral to most subjects. Clearly there have been transformations in Australian society and university culture since the 1970s. However, simply because English departments, for example, no longer set entire courses devoid of women writers, it does not obviate the need for a distinct space for a focus on gender in the academy.

Today we grapple with the continued realities of misogyny and sexism even though our nation has achieved formal gender equality. Now is not the time to dismantle the courses that help us to understand how gender impacts upon us all.

Join the conversation

52 Comments sorted by

  1. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    gender studies can only be of benefit if it truly addresses male & female issues.

    and if it does not use the topic as male bashing.

    the days of positive discrimination have passed, and many inroads were made.

    we need to now take the high road and look at bigger pictures than female v male....

    e.g racism v multiculturalism, gay v straight, rich v poor etc

    these all involve both genders and to my mind more important than creating a gender divide with more academic female v male studies.

    report
    1. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Hi John

      I don't understand where you get the idea of feminism as "male bashing". Did you take a course in feminism in which this was going on? Can you point to a particular feminist book that does this?

      I know that the wikipedia is not the most exalted academic reference, but let's start there none the less. The wikipedia defines feminism as:

      "...a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment."

      I can't for the life me of me see anything objectionable here.

      I have a mother, two sisters, two daughters, a wife, and as many wonderful female friends as male. Ethics aside, how could I love them, and not be a feminist?

      report
    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to David Week

      hi david

      i vividly remember the phrase "male chauvinist pig" repeated frequently in the feminist arguments of the 70s & 80s.

      many women decided men were the appressors and women the victims of a patriarchal society.

      many women still believe this to be the case >>>>>

      Emily Cook in the Daily Mirror

      **Women have always known that men are a bit of a waste of space … Now British scientists have proved how unnecessary blokes truly are by creating the first human sperm from stem cells…

      Read more
    3. Citizen SG

      Citizen

      In reply to David Week

      I think that one can love women/have female friends and not be a feminist, but one can not love women/have female friends and be a misogynist.

      Somehow the two things have become conflated.

      Don Draper is not a feminist but is also not a misogynist.

      report
    4. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Citizen SG

      Hi Seamus.

      Re Don Draper... that's arguable. Here's an argument:
      http://madmenshrugged.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/dons-nuanced-misogyny/

      Re feminism and love. To be clear, which of these do you NOT support:

      • equal pay for equal work
      • equal work opportunities for women
      • equal political opportunities for women
      • equal social opportunities for women.

      If you don't disagree with any, I suggest you are a feminist.

      report
    5. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to David Week

      hi david

      what if you want to be a "personist".......and support

      equal work opportunities MEN for andwomen • equal political opportunities for MEN and women • equal social opportunities for MEN and women

      this should be the new argument....not feminist or maleist !

      report
    6. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Hi Stephen

      One of my favourite jokes: "What do you call that useless bit of skin at the end of penis?" Answer: "A man." I'm laughing even now.

      Yes, it's stupid joke. Very politically incorrect. Yet there I go.

      I think that we need to distinguish between three different things:

      • FEMINISM, which is "about ending sexism and stereotypes. It was not about creating a new form of sexism", as one of your informants says.

      • MAN-HATING, and yes, as is almost statistically inevitable, some feminists (and indeed some women) will hate men. But let's not conflate this with feminism. And for the record, I am appalled by man-haters, whether they be feminists or not.

      • Calling people MALE CHAUVINIST PIGS. Calling all men MCPs is a form of sexism, and is deplorable. Calling particular men MCPs may be justified, if those particular man are in fact chauvinist pigs.

      Do you agree that three categories are separable, and should be separated in a proper understanding of feminism?

      report
    7. Citizen SG

      Citizen

      In reply to David Week

      I'm sure I'm a feminist too... but that is irrelevant to my point that feminism and misogynism are not antonyms.

      report
    8. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to David Week

      hi david

      i think the male chauvinist pig days are gone thank goodness - altho i guess there may be a few hard line feminists still around.

      man-hating - i'm sure there are some women who hate men. some may have good reason in terms of violence or negative experiences (divorce/kids/money etc). i think ultimately that unless you work your way thru the hated it becomes all consuming and hurts only yourself.

      i don't like the term feminism...to me it was a useful appellation when the whole issue…

      Read more
    9. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Citizen SG

      On that point, I agree. If you look at certain religious groups like Exclusive Brethren, or Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, they might see themselves under the "equal but separate" banner: men and women have separate, and in this case religiously-specifed roles, which are of equal value, but not equal in the same of "the same".

      In practice, is this "equal status but not the same" the province of conservative religion? Or are there other significant groups/worldviews that are against equality for women…

      Read more
    10. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to David Week

      Quick reply, David.

      Loving your straight forward reasoning. Of course there are women who hate men, just as there are men who hate women - seems you can't say this enough.

      The majority of us manage to get along reasonably well. I don't know why gender studies is perceived as just about women/feminism, however I do know a thing or two when someone feels threatened by a perceived loss of power. Rollins himself knows that had he not gotten his break with Black Flag he could've easily become one…

      Read more
    11. Citizen SG

      Citizen

      In reply to David Week

      David,
      thanks for the lecture but I never said anything about equality, and whether women ought to or ought not have it. I made comment upon the semantics of misogyny and feminism.

      You seem to infer that any argument against Feminism (capital F academic feminism) is an argument against feminism (gender equality). Your arguments could do with more nuance.

      report
    12. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Thanks Dianna.

      My wife a researcher and evaluator. She told me this statistic over the weekend:

      Globally, women do more than 50% of the work, but own less than 1% of the assets.

      So much for "post-feminism" :-).

      report
    13. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to David Week

      globally i can see the huge divide.....but i don't think this figure should give rise to too much over-reaction.

      followers of islam would probably not be inclined to have property and other assets in womens names.
      so that in itself would include many millions across the globe.

      3rd world countries probably wouldn't have too many women owning property etc.

      it would be interesting to get statistics for australia.

      report
    14. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Citizen SG

      Hi Seamus

      I'm left attempting to infer what you're trying to say because I find you less than clear.

      From paragraph 1, I gather that your interest is in semantics. In that case, why are you here?

      From paragraph 2, I might be tempted to infer that someone here is against capital F academic feminism, that someone has made some arguments against it.

      But rather than leave me to infer, perhaps you could just state your position in clear declarative sentences?

      report
    15. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Hi Stephen. I'm fine with whatever people want to call themselves. What I'm not clear on is why you are against the term. Can you please explain more?

      As for equality: rather than look at two women out of 11 million, let's look at the stats: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4125.0

      You can drill down anywhere here, but if we look at economic security, and then earnings, we find women earning 11% less than men in comparable job brackets. How is that "won"? They are less like to be victims of violence per se, but are hugely over-represented as victims of partner violence, harassment and stalking. And on and on it goes.

      I just don't see these as signs of equality. Again, at a global level, women >50% of the work, <1% of the assets. Not good. Now won. Not finished. Not over.

      report
    16. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to David Week

      hi david

      i'm against the term "feminism" b/c it leaves out one half of the equation.

      in terms of pay inequality, most (if not all) jobs advertised have one salary indicated irrespective of gender.if you can give me specific details of which jobs are paying less for women, i would appreciate it.

      those figures you quoted to do not have much analysis attached to them. does it relate to part-time work, casual work???

      if women are less likely to be victims of violence, then it means that men…

      Read more
    17. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Hi Stephen

      I don't see the women as "the downtrodden of Australia." To the contrary. I see them as the backbone of Australia, while we men spend too much time dithering around with tax accounting and football.

      Another favourite joke: Two women are talking over the back fence. First says: Me and my husband are always always fighting. Second: Me and my husband, we never fight. First: How's that? Second: Simple. We've made an agreement on who makes which decisions. First: Go on. Second: Well…

      Read more
    18. Citizen SG

      Citizen

      In reply to David Week

      I made no comment about semantics, only the semantics of feminism and misogyny. Semantics as a discipline and the semantics of x are two different things.

      report
    19. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to David Week

      hi david

      a) i do not and am not attacking women. i just don't like the word feminism anymore.

      b) i think gender studies is a very worthwhile subject as long as it looks at both genders equally.

      to me the issues are how men & women can live in today's world being different from each other in some ways, but always equal to each other in every way.

      report
    20. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to David Week

      hi again

      when i say i believe the "battle" has been won, what i am saying is that the majority of men in australia would agree these days that women should be equal to men and have equal societal rights.

      there will i guess be a small minority of men that see a woman's role solely as homemaker and devoted companion, or rue the day when feminism's "ugly" head was raised

      if there ARE discrepancies in today's australia, where women are behind men (your 11% perhaps),
      i believe that over the…

      Read more
    21. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Hi Stephen. Well, I'm not sure about the 10 years: I'm not in the prediction business. For instance, one of the things that turned me onto feminism in more than just an "equal rights" was watching this documentary on the work of Marilyn Waring, on the GDP.
      http://www.nfb.ca/film/whos_counting/

      She shows how the GDP tends to count men's work (including the work of a soldier guarding a Minuteman missile silo) but not the work of women (such as nurturing the next generation of human beings in the…

      Read more
  2. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    if by having gender studies dominated by "feminist" issues, my guess is that it would attract mostly female students.

    in many ways this is preaching to the converted.

    it might be far be to have either gender studies dominated by male issues that discusses overt sexism, or have male studies that allows males to look at ramifications over gender bias.

    ultimately any improvement in the gender divide issue has to come from men.

    report
  3. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Good luck with this one Michelle. I'm surprised that gender studies has actually lasted this long under the current machocapitalism on steroids zeitgeist which acts to recommodify sexualized young woman into its dominant life-is-a-marketplace paradigm.

    Do gender studies have any relation to rates of sexual assault though, considering the percentage of males doing them would be tiny anyway? The influence of the outside consumerist, sexualized culture would far outweigh any awareness follow-through…

    Read more
    1. Joe Gartner

      Tilter

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Perhaps the natural state of mankind is not, as you suppose, a kind and female friendly place. Superimposing a gynophilic state upon our (and other) cultures was always going to take time.

      I would think that gender studies should target women as much as it should target men.

      It is women who objectify themselves as well as men that objectify women. If women are not participants in self commodification how does one explain women's magazines, the cosmetic industry, the plastic surgery industry, the sex industry, pornification...

      Is the miniskirt enforced upon women, is it men objectifying women, is it women expressing their own rights is it women engaging in the biological drive to compete for the best partner? Can I turn to 'gender studies' to find out?

      report
    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Joe Gartner

      i think that gender studies that looked at the broad issues of men and women as separate from each other, but linked in a symbiotic way to each other would be a fascinating journey.

      let's face it both sexes need each other in so many ways, and in the ideal world it would be an equal partnership to get the best out of society.

      feminism took the debate to where it needed to go, but now that it has reached it's use by date, we need to start the dialogue of how best to move forward as equals.

      men have been stereotyped and in some ways excluded from the process of equality of the sexes.
      both genders need to evaluate their place in society, not at the expense of the other, but as a duality that can serve the greatest needs.

      report
    3. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Joe Gartner

      Hi Joe. I think that gender studies DO target women as much as they target men, because in general, gender studies is about understanding fixed power relations and stereotyping, and the way those play out in contemporary society. The players are indeed both men and women. Some women won't play. Some men too.

      report
    4. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Hi Stephen

      I would agree that "men have been stereotyped and in some ways excluded from the process of equality of the sexes."

      As men, we're not supposed to have "soft" emotions, we're supposed to make ourselves available to be killed in war, we're not assumed to be as as good parents for children, and we're supposed to be better at competing than at building relationships.

      What a shoddy stereotype we are subject to.

      But I'm not sure why you call men and women "separate" or a "duality". For me, I associate those words with the conservative religions view that men and women have essential different roles to play: that they are "separate but equal."

      Is that what you meant to imply?

      report
    5. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to Joe Gartner

      Joe, You must have read me wrongly. I know by personal and intergenerational experience and by daily gynocidal "news" stories, by extensive study of Feminism, history, modern and ancient, religions, mythology, psychology etc that the natural state of mankind (by which i mean man and not human) is most definitely NOT "a kind and female friendly place"! But i think you must be joking re "superimposing a gynophilic state upon our culture"? What, by femofascism?

      I agree (mostly young) women…

      Read more
    6. Joe Gartner

      Tilter

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Hi Pat,
      '. Superimposing a gynophilic state upon our (and other) cultures was always going to take time' means just that. No humour or imputation of femofascism intended. I'm surprised that you would think that, unless you perceive that any criticism of feminism or genser studies must be from the standpoint of antifeminism.

      if the aim of feminism was to alter our culture to have it love women instead of subjugating women, using women for men's ends etc. than i think it has failed. My point…

      Read more
    7. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to Joe Gartner

      Hi back Joe,

      No, from your thoughtful comments (and David Week's) I understand and appreciate that by no means are you being 'antifeminist'. I stumbled at the word "superimpose" because in its meaning of 'to overlay', 'place upon', it presumes there's some greater power over and above patriarchy that could 'lay down this (gynophilic) law' so to speak....a goddess would be nice, angelic aliens?

      Female liberation movements have historically always been grassroots, bottom-up struggles against…

      Read more
  4. Matthew Dunn

    Senior Lecturer in Public Health at Deakin University

    I think a major problem, which you identified, is that there are many instances where there are no staff members dedicated to teaching this content. As you mention, it often falls to staff from other faculties, or like in my own experience, to the new person who gets 'lumped' with teaching subjects outside of their expertise which no one else wants. In those circumstances, we have to consider the quality of the education students are receiving. If there is no one championing its cause, then sometimes we should do what we don't want to do, and remove these courses.

    report
    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Matthew Dunn

      hi matthew

      perhaps if things are as you say, then a new approach has to be taken.

      i do think that the majority of both men and women are not interested in the old anti-men approach to this issue.

      whilst it perhaps appeals to the intelligentsia (altho not as much these days according to what you say), i think the majority of us have moved onto a newer dialogue that allows for a more balanced view., and one that allows for the differences to be celebrated rather than used as stumbling blocks.

      report
    2. Matthew Dunn

      Senior Lecturer in Public Health at Deakin University

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Hi Stephen,

      I'm not too sure what part of my comment you're referring to. My point, in a nut shell, is that if we don't have the staff to teach these courses, and teach them to a high standard, then we need to consider not offering them. I think these courses are valuable; we shouldn't let students down by teaching them to a low standard.

      report
    3. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Matthew Dunn

      i did read your comments......

      i guess i was saying that if there appears to be a lack of staff to teach gender studies, it may be b/c there are not enough students to warrant it.

      or it may be that lecturers are looking to more relevant subjects to teach...

      either way the area seems to be a negative, as there seems to be a lack of interest in the universities themselves if they have to scratch around for staff.

      report
  5. Citizen SG

    Citizen

    I have to admit that there is nothing in the article that would lead me to think that 'gender studies' was about gender. perhaps it should be more properly called' feminist studies' or 'women's perspectives in sociology'.
    This is not a snide dig at gender studies and I'm not advocating it's erasure, but i wonder if it is a misnomer.

    report
  6. Colin MacGillivray

    Architect, retired, Sarawak

    Perhaps someone will write a single comprehensive book, or create a website, with references to research and opinion pieces about all the issues that make up gender studies. Those who are interested can read and learn about it without the time and expense of attending university and getting a major of questionable value.
    It looks like the cash saved by the Universities will go to school funding.

    report
    1. Stewart Riddle

      Lecturer in Literacies Education at University of Southern Queensland

      In reply to Colin MacGillivray

      The problem, Colin, is that there is no way the complex range of topics/opinions/theories/approaches/concepts/research in gender studies could ever fit into a book or a website. Like any field, it is constantly evolving, and the idea of putting it into a box and saying, "Look, there is gender stuff for you to look out. Now go and do something useful with your time." I'm also curious as to why you think that a gender studies major is of "questionable value".

      report
    2. Colin MacGillivray

      Architect, retired, Sarawak

      In reply to Stewart Riddle

      Any complex range of topics/opinions/theories/approaches/concepts/research can fit on a website. eg Wikipedia and About.com.
      I'm ignorant, perhaps you can tell me what is the value of a gender studies major?

      report
  7. Dale Bloom

    Analyst

    Throughout this article there seems to be considerable intertwining of the words “gender”, “women” and “feminist”.

    For example

    ”Nevertheless, the gradual dissolution of gender studies programs cannot be viewed purely as economic or demand-based decisions.”

    “In many instances, battles were fought to launch the study of women and feminist scholarship as legitimate areas of inquiry.”

    I am inclined to think “gender studies” is an euphemism for “feminist studies”.

    report
  8. David Week

    logged in via LinkedIn

    I'm disturbed to hear that gender studies programs are being dismantled at the university level.

    There's an old piece of wisdom: that education has to produce good citizens, not just good technicians. Part of being a good citizen is to understand the nature of the great injustices that still exist in our society today.

    One of these injustices is gender inequality.

    How can we ever have a better society, if our citizens have no understanding of how this operates, and how it came to be? The same goes with issues of race, poverty, xenophobia, bullying and social inclusion.

    There are already efforts in school education to make students into good citizens: http://www.civicsandcitizenship.edu.au/cce/

    How can those efforts succeed without university-trained specialists to guide them?

    PS: I nominate Hank Rollins as a living global treasure. That man is enlightened in so many ways.

    report
    1. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to David Week

      "How can we ever have a better society, if our citizens have no understanding of how this operates, and how it came to be? The same goes with issues of race, poverty, xenophobia, bullying and social inclusion."

      To which you can add homophobia, David.

      I guess "Humanities" is too broad a term. But while some men (as has already been demonstrated by a few posts here) see "gender studies" as 'militant feminism' (whatever that is) we won't get the men and women who would most benefit.

      The women…

      Read more
    2. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I found Henry through his spoken word, while surfing SBS late one night. I became frozen to the screen. I'd never seen such a magnetic story-telling. (Later, I saw Spalding Gray).

      Over the last couple of weeks, I've become convinced that there's a tide of Angry White Male Victimhood out there. AWMV s convinced that Indigenous people enjoy unfair advantages, Jews are immune from criticism, and feminists are anti-men.

      Reading more deeply into what they say, I realise that this comes at least…

      Read more
    3. Tim J Hawes

      Mr.

      In reply to David Week

      I like how we get to group people as AWM. Generating cognitive distance and demonizing groups is a sound way of attacking their arguments.

      wait.... oh never mind you already know that's not true. Sigh, you're never going to get through if you tell people that based on their gender and skin tone (eg: white male) that they are automatically privileged. It rings hollow and they will look at you like the crazed and confused nut job you seem to be.

      report
    4. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Tim J Hawes

      Hi Tim

      One problem is that I'm not seeing any actual "arguments" with which to engage. Please write an argument: I will gladly give it my serious attention.

      I didn't invent either the term AWM or victimhood. AWM is in the Oxford English Dictionary.

      On my reading, AWM is a very small sub-group of white males. The anger seems to arise because there has long been an assumption in the community that to be an educated white male will get you quite high up the economic tree, or at least a steady…

      Read more
  9. Chris Richardson
    Chris Richardson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Doctor

    Is the author implying that there is an inverse relationship between 'gender studies' and the amount of rape and misogyny going around? This claim would be sorely tested if one were also to claim that rape and misogyny rates are unchanged in the four decades that we've had such studies. Perhaps this is not the claim, merely that 'gender studies' exist to document and comment upon these scourges, which may be a noble aim in itself but perhaps doesn't need to occur under the auspices of an academic institution.

    Also why "gender studies"? Isn't this just a misnomer for "feminism"? Is there any study of misandry in these courses?

    report
  10. Joe Gartner

    Tilter

    Random google search of 'gender studies' curricula in Australia shows a leaning towards feminist theory and female perspectives but not as strong a bias as this article makes out.

    presumably, axeing gender studies as a major would affect Australian men, transgender, intersex as well. Why is the author of this article solely focusing on the lack of transformation of the male, intersex and transgender experience in Australia.

    Is it because the author is a woman?

    report
    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Joe Gartner

      good point - i wonder how many men teach gender studies as opposed to women.....

      as tina turner once said - "let's get together"

      report
  11. Chris Richardson
    Chris Richardson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Doctor

    I don't buy the whole "we are all feminists.." argument. I suppose it's semantics really but if "feminism" is just about, as has been claimed here,

    (by some very reasonable posters by the way, the tone of the discussion has been admirably congenial)

    equal pay and equal opportunity for women there really would be very little controversy. Indeed there would be very little need for a university course. This is of course simply humanism - the belief that we are all human, male and female, and…

    Read more
    1. David Week

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Chris Richardson

      Hi Chris

      Thanks for some clear distinctions. I can't say I'm up to speed with all the feminist literature, so I'm open to the possibility that feminism has become a "hapless, pseudo-academic, political ideology".

      My first impulse when confronted with any kind of thesis is: where's the evidence? What are the facts? So, I thought I'd run a little experiment, which is to do a search to see what feminists are writing these days. I looked for <feminist 2012> in scholar.google.com. I then looked…

      Read more