A recent report on the Women’s Studies Departments in North Carolina state universities by Melana Zyla Vickers asks the question: Do students want Women Studies? When reading over Vickers’ report and contemplating this question, I couldn’t help but ask myself an equally important question: Do Women’s Studies want students? I think perhaps the department would rather have protégées to train so that one day they might teach in the Women’s Studies Department and thus keep their room in the ivory tower. Otherwise, what good is the Women’s Studies program? What are they preparing students for?
Now, I have never taken a Women Studies’ course at UNC-Chapel Hill; I’ve been too busy filling the requirements for an education major to spend time learning about “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” (to note just one course), but I have had several friends who have taken Women’s Studies courses—and have all regretted it. I hope to take a course next year, just for the sake of having done it, but until then, I’m currently occupied fighting feminists and liberals outside of the classroom, let alone take them on in a “comfortable learning zone.”
But looking at the numbers in Vickers’ report, it would seem that I am not the only one on campus who sees that taking a Women’s Studies course would not be worthwhile unless it fulfilled a “Perspective.” According to the report, only four students graduated with a Women’s Studies major in 2003, a year in which UNC-Chapel Hill had 15,089 undergraduates. My immediate question for these four souls who left UNC-Chapel Hill with this major is: What are you going to do with that major? Where will that take you? I personally can not come up with a good answer other than work for Carolina’s Women’s Center or ultimately teach in the Women’s Studies Department, as previously suggested.
I think that the Women’s Studies Department is doing a huge disservice to female students. Instead of encouraging women to go to law school or medical school or wherever there supposedly needs to be a more “equal” balance between men and women as they preach, the department is inviting women to come and hide themselves away in bitter textbooks that don’t even acknowledge the accomplishments of conservative women like Dr. Condoleezza Rice or Senator Elizabeth Dole. Rather, they delve into subjects like “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm” and “why controlling reproductive functions is crucial to the creation and perpetuation of patriarchal societies.” Again, to what end? What good is this information for any up and coming female who wishes to compete in a “man’s world?”
But based upon those pitiful numbers, it occurs to me that UNC female students are smarter than the Department would give them credit for. Do students want Women’s Studies? I think the answer is a big “No.” Students want a future, a career, and a chance to pursue that “pursuit of happiness.” Even with all the liberal feminists parading around campus, they are never consistently hanging out in the Carolina Women’s Center nor do they see the merit in obtaining a major in Women’s Studies.
And as for the conservative women on campus, a major in Women’s Studies is out of the question. We know there is no chance for us to be treated fairly or with dignity in one of their courses if we can’t even make it through a calculus class without having to endure derogatory comments towards President Bush. I have been in a number of classes, that calculus class included, where I have been insulted, and my political beliefs have been deemed “stupid.” Stepping into a Women’s Studies class would be suicidal; by sitting in one of their classes, I would subject myself to ridicule and scorn because I happen to believe, as Phyllis Schlafly said, that “the American woman is the most fortunate creature to ever walk the face of the earth.”
As Vickers observes, Women’s Studies allows only one view, that of women as victims of society. That’s just an opinion, and one I don’t hold. College courses ought to be about knowledge, not opinions.
Nevertheless, I hope to take one of their courses next year, just so I can say I’ve actually experienced the Women’s Studies Department. And let me just ask one more question: Do Women’s Studies want conservative students? I think I know the answer, but next year, I’ll find out for sure.
Kat Rodger is a student at UNC-Chapel Hill and founder of the Conservative Women’s Voice. This article originally appeared in the Pope Center‘s Clarion Call.