Quick Hit: Harvard Crimson columnist points to absence of feminism in university curricula

Check out this brave piece by Madeleine Schwartz, a senior at Harvard who writes a column for the daily paper called “Women at Harvard”. Her latest article centers on the  absence of radical feminism from university curricula:

“To overlook radical feminism is also to overlook an intellectual movement which shook at the foundations of almost every aspect of daily experience. It made sexual politics a national issue, Willis writes. It sought to redefine social constructs like marriage in more daring ways than the current conversations. “Radical feminism is our [American] philosophical achievement on par with European post-structuralism, but more practical, deeper, more activist, more productive of change, less hermetic,” Mark Greif ’97 wrote in a recent issue of the journal N+1. Feminist thinkers pushed their readers to reexamine language, birth and love; they challenged critical texts for not going far enough.”

While I take issue with the argument that gender equality has already come to pass (as Shwarzt seems to suggest with her opening sentence: “There’s a gap in our understanding of how gender equality came to be”), I think she makes a lot of valid points in the rest of the piece about the importance of remembering, documenting, and teaching feminist contributions to our world.

Read the whole piece at the Harvard Crimson.

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6 Comments

  1. Posted October 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I agree with several of Schwartz’s points, though I have to say I am made uncomfortable by some aspects of radical feminism. The most prominent among them is lesbian separatism or any sort of separatism at all. Following that is the belief that I could not contribute to the greater discourse as a man.

    If that were the case on Feministing, I could not even be typing these words into this text box.

    • Posted October 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Why should you have no voice on lesbian separatism issues if you are a man?

      You don’t have to earn the right to a voice, you were born with it.

      I work in adult education, predominantly with female latinas. Many of my clients believe that, because they are hispanic/undocumented/women (or whatever), they do not have a right to a voice about issues that affect their communities. As a result, these communities suffer. This is especially tragic because these women have many of the best ideas for improving their communities.

      I have many other things to say, but I am new to “feministing” and so I think I will wait until I have a better understanding of how things work here.

    • Posted October 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think the piece was calling for a return to radical feminism in the way it was being constructed and enacted in the 1970s. Schwartz is questioning the absence of attention to that piece of history and analysis of its influence on history and thought following it and the implications of and the inequity behind that absence. Yes, separatist radical feminism enacted would exclude your voice, along with the voice of anyone born male. If anything I think that is another reason we should be aware of it’s impact then and now.

    • Posted October 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention the rampant transphobia and frequent racism in radical feminism.

      Radical feminism is no longer radical, but is deeply regressive and bigoted. It’s a damn shame, but it’s not true feminism as it does not support all women. Radical feminism does not belong on college campuses or anywhere else.

    • Posted October 11, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      I have to say I am made uncomfortable by some aspects of radical feminism. The most prominent among them is lesbian separatism or any sort of separatism at all. Following that is the belief that I could not contribute to the greater discourse as a man.

      The problem here is that you’re conflating the two. Your discomfort is yours alone to bear, when you insincerely believe that “radical feminism” is the same, indistinct monoculture. Fix your own misconceptions or ask sincere questions and they’ll be much more welcome.

      I’m a man that has no issues with any separatism, certainly that which doesn’t “need” male input and approval for every held belief and ponderance.

  2. Posted October 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I actually came here just now because the Consumerist posted an article about the new drink.

    Apparently, no one was nearly as insulted as I was. It’s like the tactics in aggressive-male dating books. ‘Treat her like crap, she loves it.’

    As if. But since there are no girls allowed, I won’t buy it. They must not want my dirty female money.

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