After turning in my project draft to my advisor, I settled in for a couple of days of surfing the 'Net while procrastinating on writing the next twenty pages. While innocently following links, I found this
. I'll sum it up: A female dean at Keyon College apologizes for all the girls she's rejected because male applicants to her school are rarer. From the op-ed piece:( Today, two-thirds of colleges and universities report that they get more female than male applicants, and more than 56 percent of undergraduates nationwide are women. )
So, what's the problem here? If women apply in greater numbers and are more qualified, why not simply admit people on the basis of their qualifications and screw it if most of them happen to be female?
Well, that might mess with the precious gender balance on campus, that's why. The Keyon College dean insists that
"Beyond the availability of dance partners for the winter formal, gender balance matters in ways both large and small on a residential college campus. Once you become decidedly female in enrollment, fewer males and, as it turns out, fewer females find your campus attractive."
I call BULLSHIT. I would have loved to go to a women's college (financial considerations prevented me from doing so, alas). Providing the school was good, the prospect of a campus with many more women than men wouldn't have bothered me one iota. From talking to friends at women's colleges like amai
and those who have had the happy experience of taking some classes with only women in them like the_acrobat
, I think it wouldn't bother them either.
This tendency to not applaud women's excellence, but to protest the lack of men does not stop at the admissions door. According to a Slate.com article, "for every 100 B.A.s awarded to men in 2001, women received 133"
. Statistics like these are being used to justify pushes to allow changes at the primary and secondary level to accommodate boys since, obviously, "The system is designed to the disadvantage of males," Anglin told The Boston Globe. "From the elementary level, they establish a philosophy that if you sit down, follow orders and listen to what they say, you'll do well and get good grades. Men naturally rebel against this."
So female students must "naturally" agree to being good girls, sitting still and claiming less of the teacher's attention then? And boys should get prizes for being disruptive, right? To quote the_acrobat
, "I think it's interesting that the traditional methods of education supposedly are screwing guys over and only work for women, given that for the longest time, women weren't actually allowed to be educated in these ways. Book-learnin' like this was for the boys."
And in fact A White Bear suggests that it's not feminism that leads women to do so reliably well in college. It's sexism that gives us the skills we need to negotiate academic power structures. Most of us know all too well how to admit fault and how to accomodate, both of which are indispensible for academic success.
So what I want to know is this: if women are kicking so much ass at school, why do so many of us still feel the pangs of Imposter Syndrome
? Why are we still getting paid 75 cents on the dollar? Why are there still so few female politicians, CEOS, and indeed, college deans? I would bet, too, that women aren't outdoing men in being awarded B.S.s (the dominance of women in undergraduate biosciences courses notwithstanding) or any
kind of postgraduate degrees. Notice that when the lack of women in math and science is discussed, changing women's and girls' attitudes
is offered as the solution. It's only when men and boys are having trouble with school that changing the educational parameters or the admissions process is discussed.
Why? Because women and girls are beginning to succeed in a system that had been historically for men and boys only, and that scares the shit out of the patriarchy.