National Post editorial board, National Post Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010
If the reports are to be believed, Women’s Studies programs are disappearing at many Canadian universities. Forgive us for being skeptical. We would wave good-bye without shedding a tear, but we are pretty sure these angry, divisive and dubious programs are simply being renamed to make them appear less controversial.
The radical feminism behind these courses has done untold damage to families, our court systems, labour laws, constitutional freedoms and even the ordinary relations between men and women.
Women’s Studies courses have taught that all women–or nearlyall– are victims and nearly all men are victimizers. Their professors have argued, with some success, that rights should be granted not to individuals alone, but to whole classes of people, too. This has led to employment equity — hiring quotas based on one’s gender or race rather than on an objective assessment of individual talents.
Executives, judges and university students must now sit through mandatory diversity training. Divorcing men find they lose their homes and access to their children, and must pay much of their income to their former spouses (then pay tax on the income they no longer have) largely because Women’s Studies activists convinced politicians that family law was too forgiving of men. So now a man entering court against a woman finds the deck stacked against him, thanks mostly to the radical feminist jurisprudence that found it roots and nurture in Women’s Studies.
The equality protection before and under the law, granted to all Canadians regardless of race, sex, creed or origin, has been eroded because feminist legal scholars convinced the Supreme Court to permit preferential treatment for “traditionally disadvantaged groups,” chief among whom, they contend, are women.
Over the years, Women’s Studies scholars have argued all heterosexual sex is oppression because its “penetrative nature” amounts to “occupation.” They have insisted that no male author had any business writing novels from women’s perspectives; although, interestingly, they have not often argued the converse — that female writers must avoid telling men’s stories.
They have pushed for universal daycare and mandatory government-run kindergarten, advocated higher taxes to pay for vast new social entitlements and even put forward the notion that the only differences between males and females are “relatively insignificant, external features.” All other differences are said to be the result of patriarchal brainwashing. So the only way to ensure gender equality is to turn over all education to the state, where professionals can ensure only unbiased instruction.
In sum, there would be little of rational worth left even if Women’s Studies were to disappear. Yet despite all the hand-wringing by the programs’ supporters, are the worst elements of Women’s programs really disappearing or just being renamed? Are the professors different? Has the basic philosophy behind the program changed? Has the curriculum been altered?
In most cases the answer is no. Little has changed but the nomenclature.
While we’d like to cheer and say “Good riddance,” we’re certain such celebration would be premature.