Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Should all male colleges continue to exist?

I'm going to get us started on this, and you can post new blogs on it or respond to this one. I was reading the Wabash entry in the book Colleges That Change Lives, and there's a quote by former Pres. Andrew Ford who says when asked why Wabash is still single-sex, "You're asking the wrong question. The question is, why did you go coed?" And the writer of the chapter follows with, "And everybody on his campus feels the same way." That this palpably false statement is out in print, in a book widely read, really upsets me. Does "everybody on campus" feel the same way on this issue?
Most informed people know why the vast majority of colleges went co-ed from the 50's on--it was the right thing to do. Single-sex colleges were set up in the 18th and 19th centuries because women were not considered worthy of higher education; it was assumed that they did not have the intellectual capacity for it. If one accepts that this assumption is no longer valid, then what is the basis for single-sex college education? Women's colleges may have a legitimate rationale--historically and socially; women weren't permitted in male colleges, and there continues to be discrimination against women in society which would legitimize the value of their "choosing" to be educated separately from men.
But what is the value an all-male college? After teaching in one for over thirty years I can see that there are some unique benefits, but also some drawbacks, from the perspective of a faculty member.
One benefit for me is having a diverse all-male group discuss issues of masculinity in an insulated, focused way. One disadvantage is having an all male-group discuss this issue, and any issue, in an insulated way, without the benefit of a variety of female perspectives. But I'm not a student here, so I would like to hear the honest response of students about this issue, especially from seniors. What do you see as the benefits--academically, intellectually, emotionally, socially--of this experience? What are the drawbacks for you?  As a student in an advanced gender studies class, what lessons learned from what you've studied help shape you current opinions on this question? What out of classroom experiences shape your opinions? Can you think critically about this question, given that you are still immersed in the college environment? Finally, at this point, would you encourage your son(s) to attend? Why or why not?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Family Guy coming through for class?

Here's something to think about, even Family Guy is getting in on gender/sexuality statements.  Look it up: Season 10 Episode 4: Stewie Takes a Ride