Category Archives: Education

Women’s Studies Advocates Are At It Again

Elizabeth Birmingham, an Assistant Professor of English at North Dakota State University teaches professional writing.  These days, American college students need English professors, since most of them use their thumbs to communicate, and don’t know how to write complete sentences.  Ms. Birmingham, however, also teaches women’s studies courses, and in a recent essay (where she reviews a few women’s studies books), she mentions me:

“Women’s studies programs are already acutely aware of the ways our  courses regularly contain content demonized by right-wing politicians and  are laughed at by the media.  We study and discuss issues of reproductive  rights, sexuality, critical race studies, critical media studies and gender  construction, occasionally in the jargon-filled language of the academy.  In  her nationally syndicated radio program, Dr. Laura Schlessinger counsels parents not to let their children attend colleges with women’s studies programs.”

Damn straight – these courses provide nothing useful, in my opinion, to help young women perform happily in math, science, engineering, music, etc., nor do they contribute to a rejoicing in impending marriage and motherhood.  They simply make women cynical and angry and vulgar.  Many universities have actually added porn studies to the curriculum because they catch attention and make money – not goals normally attributed to halls of higher learning.

These types of studies are generally hostile to men and to opposing points of view.  I’ve gotten enough letters from young women around the country taking these classes who report that all my positions are completely vilified, and I am generally personally defamed, and never once have I been asked to be a visiting lecturer.  So much for enlightenment as a motivation for women’s studies programs.

In her essay, Ms. Birmingham quotes:

“From a feminist perspective, the project of masculinity studies can be quite suspect…although most feminists recognize that masculinity is not a natural or essential identity for men, but rather a social construction open to interrogation and change.  Some feminists see gender/masculinity studies as a sort of hostile institutional takeover that effectively shifts critical attention away from the conditions of women and returns it to the ‘plight’ of men.”

Wow, wow and…wow.  Feminists don’t see masculinity as a real entity – just that men are women with penises who are led astray by right-wing and religious cultural influences to behave in that “bad bad boy” way.  Thus the rampant demasculinization of men since the 1960s, and the tendency – the blind tendency – of women to treat their husbands with disrespect and disregard as they are simply the constructs of the evil empire.

I wrote The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands for just these women, so they would wake up and see that their femininity is not a construct of an evil culture, but a blessing to be nurtured in the context of the polarity with masculinity – which, by the way is real and inherent in men, unless it is threatened out of them.

I stand by my position:  if you have children ready to go off to an institution of higher learning, make sure it is such, and avoid all colleges with women’s studies programs.  They will stunt the ability of your daughters and sons to enjoy their natural instincts and retard their abilities to be content in love relationships with each other in marriage.

Bocce Ball and the Joy of Learning

My birthday was a little over a week ago, and my husband actually got away with setting up a surprise party for me.  I went to the party location under the guise that we were going to use a “Happy Birthday” coupon for a free dinner.  It was wonderful to see the many people who have meant, do mean, and always will mean something important to me (and the cake and dancing were great too)!

I want to mention one particular gift:  a bocce ball set.  I sent out all my gift “thank yous,” and when it came to the bocce ball set, I said something like “”Thank you so much for the bocce ball set.  I don’t know how to play it, but, heck, learning yet another sport is a great idea!  Ha ha ha!”

I added the “ha ha ha” because I hike, I play tennis and badminton, I shoot pool, do yoga, race a sailboat and work out…and do at least one of these daily.  But then I thought about my “joke” and realized it IS a very good idea to learn yet another “whatever” all the time.  Part of the joy of being alive (and a large part of what keeps your brain and body healthy and your mood positive) is having purpose in your life and learning something new all the time.

People who don’t continue to grow, be challenged, learn and be involved in activities tend to “contract,” have depression problems, and compromise the quality of their aging and actual life span.

So, while this blog is not an ad for bocce ball, it is a suggestion (and don’t forget who’s making it!) for you to constantly challenge yourself with everything from crossword puzzles to chasing butterflies.  The more you are invested in the opportunities of living, the more you will enjoy it and be alert and happy.

When Students Don’t Make the Grade

When I was in grade school one year, I got a few “D’s” on my report card.  With a pen of contrasting color to the D, I made a line halfway across the letter from left to right, and turned the two D’s into weird looking B’s.  Much to my astonishment, my father noticed the alteration!  And, boy oh boy, I got punished.

The following story ups the ante on my little escapade:  An 11 year old boy from Alabama didn’t want to bring home his bad report card either.  So, he said that a man with a pistol snatched him after he left middle school, forced him into a beat-up car, and threatened to kill him.  He then explained that he escaped by jumping out of the car, but that he wasn’t able to grab his book bag in which was (no surprise here)….the report card.  The police investigators were a bit suspicious when the boy was able to “escape” with his cumbersome band instrument, but not his soft, smaller book bag. 

The boy ran to his grandfather’s house, and admitted to lying.  The grandfather called the police to apologize.

I mention this story because the issue of grades is important.  Grade inflation definitely exists — and it’s like telling a kid he’s special just because he breathes regularly. It builds a false sense of competency and value which condemns a kid to fail in the future and be frustrated that his unconditional perfection hasn’t quite panned out. 

In addition, there’s a lack of willingness to respect children who are able and willing to work hard and attain high grades and become valedictorians.  In fact, the acknowledgment of a valedictorian has been banned in some schools so the feelings of those less accomplished won’t be hurt. 

Then there are parents who want to see A’s, even if their child is capable only of a C+.  I always tell parents that the teacher should let them know at their regular meetings whether or not their child is doing his or her best – that’s the best -accomplishment.

It’s sad when parents don’t know what’s happening with their children’s school work until report card day, and then the yelling starts.  Yes, this Alabama boy did the wrong thing, but he must have been (as I was) VERY scared about the consequences.  He’s 11….11!!  If he’s that scared,  then let’s look at that first, and then help him to do his best.  Punishment for bad grades is not the way to go in this case. 

Punishment for editing the D’s or for lying to police?  Now that makes more sense.

Jobless College Grad Sues Her School

A young, female graduate of Monroe College in the Bronx, New York, is suing the school for a total of $70,000 she contends is the amount she spent on getting a degree that promised her a job. 

I looked up Monroe College on the Internet, and this is what I read:
“Whether preparing for a career or simply needing a part-time job, the Monroe College Office of Career Advancement provides expert advice and valuable services to help you.  Every student at Monroe College has a Career Advisor, who provides one-on-one assistance with career decision-making, resume and letter writing, and job search strategies.  The Office of Career Advancement helps with career assessment, resume writing, job search and strategy, employer recruitment and placement, interviewing skills, and other job search guidance.  Registering with E-recruiting allows you to view online job listings, post a resume to the database, and access additional web-based career resources.”

I don’t see a promise or guarantee or money-back offer.  The college cannot guarantee against the world’s financial issues.  Also, we don’t know how well she did in her courses, or how aggressively she worked on getting a position, or how inventive and persistent she’s been in trying to get herself situated.

I wondered also if she weren’t making a public spectacle in order to bully the college into giving her back her money, as she is heavily in debt and living with her single mother (who is also living on meager resources).  I don’t know her motive first hand.  I just wonder.

It’s getting more and more annoying that more and more people figure they’re entitled to things just because they want them.  That’s an adolescent view (which consists only of a narcissistic perception of the world), and it’s supposed to mature in one’s twenties.

I’m sorry she’s in debt, but she made that choice.  I’m sorry she’s having a hard time getting a job right now.  Maybe she has to choose something to do which has nothing to do with her degree just to sustain herself and her mom through these rough times that millions of people are also dealing with.  I’m sorry she’s mad, but nobody owes her a living.  I’m sorry the media sees fit to make a big deal of her actions without some judgment as to the worthiness of those actions.

I’m not sorry I’m mentioning this, as I want to make sure that none of magnificent listening audience slips into this childish state of pouting and stamping feet when life doesn’t go the way you planned or wanted.  If there is one thing to learn from this girl, it’s that life doesn’t guarantee anything but the opportunity, and she’s wasting it by whining.  If I were an employer, I wouldn’t hire her after reading about these antics.  I would want a more mature individual who does what she has to do to survive, and makes the best of it.  That’s the kind of person to respect and support.

When Someone Believes in You

There’s an interesting program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro that aims to keep 12 to 18 year old girls in school, minus the sad drama of pregnancies or abortions.

The program is sponsored by College Bound Sisters.  Girls in the program attend 90-minute meetings every week, at which they receive lessons in abstinence and the use of contraceptives, and they receive one dollar per day that they are not pregnant.  The money is deposited into a fund that’s available for collection when they enroll in college.

Obviously, there are many who will say “Hey, bribery is not the correct way to handle such behavioral issues.”  But slow down and think about it – when a 12 year old believes that one dollar a day is a great incentive, it tells you two things:

1. the gentle maturity level of such young girls
2. how so very many young girls are hungry for direction

Keep in mind that 3 out of 10 young women become pregnant by age 20, and the costs associated with teen pregnancies exceed $9 BILLION annually.

So, what’s their track record?  According to the co-director of the program, 6 of the 125 who have been enrolled for 6 months or longer have gotten pregnant or otherwise dropped out since it began in 1997 (and it only costs $75,000 – not billion – to operate the program).  Recent graduates have left the program with up to $3,000 saved up for college.  Basically, the representatives of the program say “If someone believes in you, there’s no end to what a lot of people can accomplish.”

This reminds me of a patient I had years ago, who went from “ditzy” behavior and drug addiction to clean and sober.  She completed college and advanced nursing training, and has been employed ever since.  A little ego in me caused me to ask here, “What made the difference here?”  I thought she’d point out some brilliant intervention of mine.  Nope, not at all.  She pointed out that I had believed in her when no one else did, that she had respected me, and I respected her potential.  That made the difference in her outlook and choices.

So, when you’re confused as to how to really help someone, just believe in them, and let them know it.

Expelled for Wearing Jeans

The most important part of having “rights” is taking “responsibility” for those rights.  This is a concept many activist groups don’t “get,” as evidenced by their angry utterances and actions.  For these people (feminists, for example), their actions are irrelevant – they believe they should be able to say and do whatever they please.  It’s the other people who have to toe the line.

Here’s an example:  colleges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh said that female students would be banned from wearing jeans and other “western” clothes in order to halt sexual harassment by male classmates.  “Girls who choose to wear jeans will be expelled from the college,” Meeta Jamal, principal of the Dayanand girls’ college in Kanpur city told Agence France-Presse (AFP).  “This will be the only way to stop crime against women.”

Okay – so, jeans, shorts, tight blouses and mini-skirts on campus are being banned in a growing number of their colleges in an attempt to crack down on “EVE-teasing” (as sexual harassment is known in India).  But, of course, these “oh so mature” and wise girls between the ages of 17 and 20 say that these rules punish innocent females rather than tackling the men who talk “smack” to them..

Let’s look at this in a very pragmatic way.  Two girls are walking down the street, passing a group of young men.  Each girl is on the opposite side of the street.  One girl has on a tight-cropped top and low-cut jeans.  The girl on the other side of the street is wearing a pretty, but modest, dress.  Which side of the street are the guys going to pay attention to?  Which girl are they going to approach?  Which girl are they going to “tease” to see if they can “hook up?”  The answer is easy.

Which girl is showing off her “wares?”  Which girl is acting in a provocative manner?  Which girl is using clothing and body language to possibly advertise her, ahem, “social” availability?  Which girl looks as though sex is on her mind?  The answer is easy.

It is completely unreasonable for a provocatively-dressed woman to get any when guys hoot and whistle.  If clothing is just another form of “self-expression,” well, we all know what sexy clothes are expressing.  Modest clothes are expressing nothing close to a “come-hither” attitude.

A female at work has her boobs popping out of her top and a fellow worker says “nice boobs.”  He’s considered “bad,” but she isn’t?  Isn’t foisting your sexuality on someone else harassment?  Women can provoke men, but men can’t react?  That is the silly thinking of most feminists.

Young men in a classroom can’t pay attention to the blackboard and the teacher’s words when he has in front of him the sight of a girl’s lower back and upper butt, because she’s wearing very low cut jeans.  Young men on a campus can’t even remember which building to go into when a young woman walks by with her soft belly jutting out beneath her short top over her low-cut jeans.

This is where responsibility comes in.  If you don’t want that kind of attention, don’t invite it!

When I read the many of the comments posted in response to this story on Breitbart.com, I was not surprised at the naive and utterly stupid remarks about women having their rights to dress and behave any way they want (i.e., no responsibility), and men should control their verbal and emotional reactions (i.e., responsibility all on the men).

And then I got to this comment…a nugget of gold in the compost heap:

When I entered high school, it was the first year when girls were allowed to wear pants.  Since then, of course, clothing standards have dropped to the point where girls are wearing next to nothing on top of low-cut, tight jeans, or short-shorts. In high school, I would have screamed my head off that it was unfair to tell us what to wear.  Now that we’ve had 30 years of half-dressed high fashion, and I’ve become older and wiser, I understand why modesty makes sense.  Our schools, especially here in California, are a complete disaster.  There are many reasons for it, but requiring that girls dress modestly and that boys dress respectfully is a good start.  Considering that hormones are bubbling like volcanoes, particularly in teenage boys, simple steps like this would make a difference.  I remember the days when people dressed up nicely just to go to the movies!  I’m not advocating this, but I would even be for school kids wearing uniforms.  It puts them in a different frame of mind.  Trying to get kids to sit still, pay attention and get an education is not only difficult, but as we see from our dismal failure in the last 20 to 30 years, is imperative for the future of this country.  Looking back, it does amaze me how much my opinion has changed.  It is said that the devil is in the details, and I must concur.  The small things that I thought didn’t matter at all turn out to be very important, not only in and of themselves, but they are the blocks on which other decisions/behavior are built.  It’s really hard to see this when you’re 15 or even 25, but as have accumulated experience in life, it has become very clear.

Readin’, ‘Riting, and ….Bribing?

As I was walking through my kitchen to my office, my husband was having his morning cereal, watching Fox News.  They were in the midst of a perky promo for “what’s coming up next,” concerning a school district that was using financial rewards to motivate students to get good grades.  I kept walking… and only heard one bit more about the subject:  “It’s working.”

That promo stuck in my mind because of those last words:  “It’s working.” 

If tantalizing children with money, money, money actually makes them get good grades, because they pay more attention in class, put more effort into their homework, are more invested in studying for exams and working on reports and projects, well, that means that a lot of kids aren’t living up to their potential.

Why would MONEY make the difference, and not the appreciation of their parents, the respect of their peers, the approval from their teachers, or the mere burst of pride in doing well?  The answer is simple:  kids these days are not raised to care about appreciation, respect, approval and pride…period!  They are brought up to care about celebrity, extravagance, notoriety, freakish attention (think reality shows), infamy as a positive experience, and extreme non-conformity to traditional values.

What happens to these kids when the money isn’t there, but there is still the expectation of profound effort and commitment?  Certainly teachers, police, firefighters, those in the military, and small shop owners (to name just a few) aren’t putting out their best efforts for the financial reward.  A police officer who “collars” a serious bad guy gets a lot of thumps on the back, a night of some beers with fellow colleagues, and a notch toward an eventual promotion in rank.  Mostly, he has pride in doing his job well. 

These children are not being moved in that direction at all by this “money reward for grades” idea (except, maybe, for the beer).

Schools have been eliminating accolades such as high honors at graduation (e.g., valedictorian) so as not to hurt the self-esteem of those who won’t or can’t rise to that occasion.  Yet, they want to give money, money, money to those who do.  What is THAT message?  No one’s feelings are going to be hurt because they didn’t get the money, money, money.  Ugh.

I think we should go back to showing respect for the children who do perform well: for example, point systems that offer monthly “perks” like not having to take a few quizzes because their grades are above a B+, or earning a class trip to the zoo, aquarium, or museum or something else that acknowledges their efforts without minimizing the meaning by throwing coins at them.

Empowering Men on Campus

A news headline from last week that said “Power Move By Male Students Ruffles University of Chicago” caught my eye.  It seems a group of University of Chicago students think it’s time the campus focused more on its men.  The Chicago Tribune reports:  “A third year student from Lake Bluff has formed Men In Power, a student organization that promises to help men get ahead professionally.  But the group’s emergence has been controversial, with some critics charging that its premise is misogynistic.”

That is purely laughable.

Recent job losses hit men harder – women earn far more bachelor’s and Master’s degrees than men.  There is a huge imbalance in government and private initiatives that advance the interest of women and girls (often to the direct detriment of men), like Title IX, which eliminates men’s school sports when there aren’t enough women interested in having a women’s team of the same sport.

The University of Chicago has nine women’s advocacy groups on campus.  This group would be the first male advocacy group – and it welcomes women!  Get a feminist group to do the same – HA!  The group would host pre-professional groups in law, medicine and business, foster ties with alumni, bring speakers in to discuss masculinity, and mentor local middle school students as part of its “Little Men in Power” initiative.

I read most of the 1,440 or so comments that followed this article in the Chicago Tribune, and saw exactly what I expected:  paranoid, hate-filled rhetoric, demeaning and dismissing men and masculinity, with no compassion whatsoever for what men have to confront in contemporary society (which is “angry minority orientation against the male – especially the white male.”).  It should be noted here that this organization is pulling in men regardless of ethnicity, religion, or sexual persuasion.  It is just about men.  It’s not about forming small, angry little groups that demand entitlement.  This is a group helping men succeed and regain a respect for their masculinity – something current culture and feminism has worked double time to destroy.

You go, guys!