Friday, November 04, 2005

Men and women in academia 

It is the wont of campus radicals to send email the announcement list on campus that contains largely political material. Some of our more conservative faculty will rail against this, but it's been my attitude to ignore it: It's cheaper for me to hit the delete key than to respond, and finding out that liberals think we should all think like they do isn't news and doesn't harsh my mellow. So one came today from Ms. magazine (a 2 MB pdf that will choke a few mailboxes and slow down some downloaders who still use phone lines) on the story that female students are now so in the majority on some university campuses that admissions offices are contemplating or actually undertaking affirmative action for males. (We've been there already.) I'll spare you the two megs -- it's subtitle is to the effect of "funny they only complain when they're the minority on campus." Etc. Discussion ensues from another female faculty member. This is her reaction, in full:
It reminded me of the large number of TV commercials a while back which showed men as incompetent or clueless in various situations. (Folding a stroller and putting it in the van...) Although I'm sure it's meant as a humorous stereotype, some of us do actually live with that guy. When I saw those commercials, I thought, "I'm not alone!" However, I also wondered, "Are men becoming less capable in our society in general?" I have achieved much more formal education than he has. Thank goodness I also earn more. If not, what did I go to college for? The article gave me a more balanced perspective on the situations I observed.
I at first thought she meant that Progressive commercial with the guy who didn't get multiple insurance quotes and the TV saying as he looks crestfallen "he dropped the ball". Mitch described it here and like Mitch I hate that commercial. But this email comment annoyed another faculty member who was felt he could not express himself as he is not a senior, tenured faculty member. He notes,
Hmmm, maybe I'm just a dumb male with less formal education and a lower salary,
but I think I was just slimed, discriminated against, and hated against by the above statement. Do I smell a little misandry in the air?

Or, maybe I'm just overly-sensitive.

Or, maybe I feel threatened because my image of male dominance is being questioned.

I know, I just need a little more sensitivity training. Maybe another workshop to tell me how I, as a white heterosexual male, am the root of all that is evil in the world.

Oops, forgot "evangelical Christian" as part of the description of my "evilness"!
Towards that end, I wonder how the two feminist faculty would feel about my former student Liz, who is a throwback to the old days of women going to college in search of a mate.

I chose a different path. I learned the ins and outs of my dorm oven and learned to cook a couple of meals and make several types of baked goods using these ovens. As I was telling my dad earlier today, I didn�t win Josh by my looks, but that I sent him chocolate chip cookies when he was at his two week National Guard training. Good looks only last a season, but the ability to make good chocolate chip cookies lasts a life time.

I say this somewhat in jest. I was looking for a husband in college, and I did use my cooking to attract men. But, I also treated men with respect and I expected respect in return. I was often treated better then their �girlfriends.� Not because I am personally all that good looking or whatever, but because I behaved myself like a lady and served my friends, both male and female, with Christ like love and honor.

Who do you think has a "more balanced perspective"? I wonder what Liz thinks of the Progressive ad? Mitch says,

But what does this tell boys in our society? "This is what you have to look forward to; a life of working away like a good little boy, but having your intelligence and dignity denigrated because of your gender". Combine that with the message boys get in schools - "Boyhood's natural exhuberance and competitiveness and energy are things that, with enough time and medication, we can overcome" - what do you think you'll get?

A situation even worse than the one we have, where boys make up less than half of college students, and where the lag in life expectancy between men and women
continues to grow.

The way popular culture, advertising, the media, the law and academia treat men in our society is a subject I've been wanting to find the time to write in vastly more detail about since the election. Much more advertising like this, and I think I'll find a way to make the time.

Well, Mitch, you wrote that ten months ago. Care to have another go?