The Dartmouth Observer

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Thursday, August 15, 2002
'And Gender'

The D reports today that the Women's Studies program has officially changed its name to the "Women and Gender Studies" program. Here's why:

"While in the early days of women's studies a great deal of attention was focused on 'rescuing' the submerged works of women and the focus was clearly women-centered, increasingly women's studies programs and departments have shifted toward an analysis of the construction of gender as a whole and courses now include gender as a fundamental category of analysis."

This statement beautifully summarizes why I disagree with the existence of such a department. The entire "Women's Studies" endeavor injects too many political sentiments into the classroom. Like Chien Wen, I wish academics would be less political and more "disinterested." However, with entire programs and departments devoted to politicized learning ("analysis of the construction of gender"?), we're not going to see a disinterested academia anytime soon.

Don't believe me? Listen to this: "she [Susan Ackerman, co-chair of the program] noted that feminists have been interested in revising the myth that 'only a male president can push the button to set off a nuclear bomb.'" And last year, the only honors thesis in Women's Studies was about public masturbation, examining the role pornstars and Madonna play in the "politics of auto-erotic stimulation." You can't make this stuff up.