Do people literally think that gender studies classes entail sitting around comparing oppressions and handing out points for whoever finds the most privileged white boy to attack?
… pretty much? Like, not 100% of course but a lot like that.
If so why do they think that?
Have you looked at the syllabus for your school’s gender studies courses? Have you flipped through a gender studies textbook? Have y’all read any gender studies papers outside of “you won’t believe what bullshit they published” articles?
No of course not.
But here’s the thing: I didn’t look at the syllabus for the organic chemistry department either, and yet I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of what that’s about, and when I’ve talked to chemists we don’t talk past each other. Construction engineers/same thing. Business Majors with a minor in Arabic/same thing. Teachers/. Doctors/.
So why do I think that’s what gender studies is like? The same way I know what Organic Chemistry is like: I’ve done a slight bit of reading, have a slight bit of natural interest, and have spoken to people who studied this. I know there’s more to it than dunking on privileged people, but the part of it that affects my life is pretty much all like that.
Only when I am critical of the continental philosophical tradition, and its various derivatives like gender studies, does this idea surface; that you’re only allowed to critique things after dedicating your life to them.
And I have another paragraph I want to write but I don’t know how to write it without sounding either exceptionally arrogant or exceptionally insulting. I’m going to try and I ask you to please interpret it kindly because I don’t actually dislike people who dedicate their studies to the liberal arts, but here it comes:
Things gain traction in the analytical tradition because it is close enough to the truth to be useful. Things gain traction in the liberal arts exclusively because it is fashionable.