Thursday, August 21, 2008

But, Isn't Every Other Course a Men's Studies Course?

Self-styled "anti-feminist" Roy Den Hollander is suing Columbia University for discriminating against men. (All quotes from the NY Times article). Is Columbia paying male employees less than female employees? No. Well, are male employees being harassed? Umm, no.

The "discrimination"? Columbia has the audacity to offer Women's Studies courses.

Hollander's reasoning as to why this constitutes discrimination:

"'[Women's Studies is] a bastion of bigotry against men [and it] demonizes men and exalts women in order to justify discrimination against men based on collective guilt.' Such academic programs at Columbia and at universities nationwide, he said, are 'spreading prejudice and fostering animosity and distrust toward men with the result of the wholesale violation of men’s rights due to ignorance, falsehoods and malice.'"

Oh, I get it. Women and men talking about how some men have oppressed women throughout history is oppressive to men. Okay then.

Now, and this is entirely relevant, Hollander admits that much of his bitterness with respect to feminism stems from his "bitter divorce" from a Russian woman he married who then divorced him after obtaining a green card. Why this is relevant is that, like so many disgruntled MRAs, this man allows his anger and bitterness over a failed personal relationship with a woman to severely cloud his ability to think rationally as to why his relationship failed. Is it really the fault of feminists that he did a shoddy job of choosing a wife? Probably not so much.

Not only that but the thing about many MRAs is that they wail against the "bigotry" of feminists while willingly remaining blind to all the ways that the system favors men. See, while this man's new misguided mission is to crusade against feminism, if he were truly interested in equality he would remain open the possibility that due to historical oppression of women maybe just maybe men have certain privileges that women do not and that's a large part of why we have women's studies courses.

Most importantly, though, I find that those who are so quick to denounce feminism and women's studies don't even show that they understand the field well enough to give intelligent, informed, and reasoned critiques of it. These MRA-type critics usually denounce nothing more than a straw-field of "women's studies" they've envisioned in their angry heads that bears little, if any, resemblance to what these fields are really like. Often, I think these men envision women's studies as how they themselves would create a field of study called "men's studies" if they had the ambition and know-how: As bastions of bigotry against women, much to the tune of the Women Suck rantings of Men's Rights Advocacy and its brigade of like-minded and "oppressed" angry, white male readers.

So yeah, keep on clogging up the courts with your personal vendetta against feminism, Mr. Hollander. As an attorney it would be nice if you saw the legal system as something other than a tool to exact vengeance on those who are not responsible for failings in your romantic life.

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