Thursday, March 27, 2008
On this day:

The world of Women's Studies

NRO's Kathryn Jean Lopez explored it in this article from March 2002.

In 2005, the Pope Center's Melana Zyla Vickers published this report on Women's Studies programs in North Carolina's publicly-funded universities. She summarizes:
Programs in “Women’s Studies” have been established at many American colleges and universities, including several UNC-system campuses. An analysis of the programs at five of those universities — East Carolina, N.C. State, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Greensboro — reveals that interest in them is weak and declining among students, that the course readings are strongly biased and often unscholarly in their treatment of differing points of view and counter-arguments, and that Women’s Studies programs attract almost no outside support from interested parties. Therefore, Women’s Studies programs fail to achieve academically worthwhile objectives while imposing a cost burden upon university budgets.
I would venture to guess that what's true of these programs in North Carolina is also true in Alabama. Actually, that's more than a guess:

1) Judging by the number of students who have chosen to obtain degrees in Women's Studies, interest in these programs has always been weak in Alabama. Aside from a few intellectual masochists, the students who take Women's Studies classes usually do so because they count as "core" courses and they are easy to pass.

2) A quick look at the textbooks and course syllabi used in Women's Studies classes verifies that they are in fact "strongly biased" and "unscholarly in their treatment of differing points of view and counter-arguments." On my bookshelf right now, I have a WS textbook titled "Issues in Feminism: An Introduction to Women's Studies" that I purchased out of curiosity while I was a student at the University of Alabama in the mid-90's. Of course, I would never pay full price for such meaningless piffle. I got it at one of those $5-a-bag used book sales. In the preface, on the very first page of the book, the author writes:
The eighties have been the decade of the reactionary. In national politics and in social attitudes, progressive liberalism has been forced into retrenchment, and feminists find ourselves in an environment that seems overtly more accepting but is actually more hostile. More women work than ever before, are in the professions, have educations, and have seen some small improvements in income. It is more respectable not to marry, or to be a single parent, and "liberated women" are fixtures in television series. Yet, E.R.A. was defeated in 1982 and is rarely heard of today; affirmative action for women has been all but destroyed after the Reagan years, and we are losing ground in reproductive autonomy. Many women are increasingly poor. Worse, our young people are for the most part apolitical, and many young women - perhaps most - believe that feminism is beside the point, all important battles having been settled.
It gets worse from there.

I've also looked at course syllabi from WS courses at UA, and the ideological bias is appalling. (With a bit of searching, you can view them for yourself at

3) I don't know whether it's true that Alabama's Women's Studies programs "attract almost no outside support from interested parties." I can only say that I wish they got less. Since they exist at publicly-supported universities, they do get support from public tax dollars. Given that they serve little purpose other than to train a new generation of Birkenstock-wearing feminists, I don't think that's a good use of the people's money.

So, get rid of 'em.