Monday, April 27, 2015

Industrial Scale Feminism

Stacy McCain has been following up on his studies of feminism, and has run across the case of Sara Ahmed, Professor and Director of the Centre for Feminist Research, or some such, and Director of Feminist Studies at Goldsmith's College in London:

The Feminist-Industrial Complex: Academia and the Means of Production
Sara Ahmed is a lesbian and a feminist, not necessarily in that order. There is always a chicken-and-the-egg question about such matters. Correlation is not causation, but this particular correlation is sufficiently common as to be a phenomenon deserving its own categorical label, as Professor Ahmed acknowledges.
He goes on the cast aspersions on her academic credentials, which don't look that bad by my standards, a few books that nobody but feminists would read to reinforce their opinions, and enough journal articles presumably to keep her promotion committee happy orgasmic. That, going to feminist conferences and faculty meeting will keep a person occupied.

But then eventually he gets to the heart of the matter; why should we care (my bolds):
Whenever I quote this kind of feminist jargon to sane people who live in the real world, the reaction is a mixture of incredulity (“Do people really go to college to learn that crap?”) and dismissal (“What a bunch of fringe kooks!”). yet the fact is that such activism/research is taken very seriously within academia. Remember that every year, more than 90,000 students enroll in Women’s Studies courses, which are taught at 700 U.S. colleges and universities. Thousands of faculty members are employed to teach these classes, and what the faculty are paid to teach is what defines “feminism” in the minds of their students.

In answer to the most obvious question — “What use is any of this in the real world?” — the answer is, “None whatsoever.” However, the “real world” (i.e., the capitalist marketplace, where profit is generated from the sale of goods and services) produces enough excess revenue that many millions of dollars a year can be siphoned off to fund these academic swamps, as well as to pay for government agencies where a Women’s Studies graduate can be employed to do nothing except to meddle around in the lives of other people. Also, the “real world” of capitalism has over the past century heaped up untold billions of dollars at tax-exempt philanthropic foundations which, in turn, constantly hand over huge sums in grants to various non-profit groups that employ “activist” types to advocate for social change. The Feminist-Industrial Complex thus intersects both with the ever-expanding liberal Welfare State and with the non-profit sector which (surprise!) constantly advocates for even more government Welfare State programs.
It's true a hunter gatherer society would have no, or very little sympathy and probably very little left over food for a not willing to sleep with men and bear children, unless she established herself as some kind of shawoman, which is basically what a degree in feminist studies is.
So while (a) the jargon of radical feminism strikes most people as nonsensical gibberish, and (b) you might think that the graduates with their Women’s Studies degrees would be qualified to become nothing other than a barista at Starbucks, in fact (c) academic gibberish is enormously influential because (d) it drives the agenda of major institutions in society, including perhaps the school your children attend. As much as you may want to dismiss the Feminist-Industrial Complex as an irrelevant absurdity, just keep in mind that there were people who laughed off the 1960s New Left as a bunch of fringe kooks, but now one of their disciples is the President of the United States.

Now think about what “fundamental transformation” might be next. If I haven’t yet convinced you to take feminism seriously, just imagine what Hillary Clinton might accomplish if she gets elected in 2016.
I think I might get sick. . .

No comments:

Post a Comment