When I originally started university, I was enrolled in the Sociology of Work and Industry specialization, thinking that I would complete a degree that would give me some sort of qualifications for employment. I wanted to get a head start on my program, so I took my first course during summer school and it took me all of twelve weeks to figure out that a professor’s job is pretty much the best one you could possibly have. Professors have more or less complete control over how and when and what they work on, and they are free to follow their own interests. I watched with complete envy as professors strolled into class late, gave lackadaisical lectures, rambled on about their own ideas and then went to the pub with us to grab a few beers and discuss some esoteric bullshit in further detail.
Going to university was a revelation for me. Suddenly, pointing out in exquisite detail exactly why people were stupid and their arguments were retarded was not some awkward social flaw, it was the key to getting those participation marks! Explaining in graphic detail why other’s people’s ideas were ludicrous was called an essay! Being all judgy and bitchy was the entire point!
Needless to say, I loved it.
True story: I once made a girl cry in class by calling her stupid (not in that exact word, of course). For one of my electives, I took Women in Christianity (hey – bird course!) and some little chicky thing got up to explain the virgin birth as an example of parthenogenesis. Basically, that means self-fertilization. An ovum develops into an embryo without sperm, commonly occurring in insects and plants. Leaving aside the fact that insects and plants ARE NOT HUMANS, obviously the offspring would have to be genetically identical to the parent. Where would any new genetic information come from? So not five minutes into what was supposed to be a 30 minute presentation, I put up my hand and said, “Wait! Are you saying Jesus was a WOMAN”?
She thought about that for two seconds, realized her entire argument was a colossal piece of shit and burst into tears.
Yeah, I’m a bitch. And kind of judgy, too.
So I knew that I would never leave the university. I would go on take graduate work, then post-graduate work and snag me an office of my own. I became very good friends with an untenured history professor who cemented my resolve to become a professor. She had to “work” quite hard, but her thesis was on farm girls and what they actually did, and to me, spending hours in the library pouring over agricultural records didn’t seem much like work at all.
It seemed like heaven.
FarmGirl’s thesis was eventually published as a book (earning her tenure) and she is now compiling a historical record of the evolution of the butter churn. For well over $100 000/year. What a great fucking job. FarmGirl encouraged me to choose something that really interested me, and so after careful consideration, I decided that sitting on my ass watching movies for the rest of my life seemed like an excellent use of my time and intellect. So I left sociology for the Department of Film Theory, and so began my journey deep into the heart of feminism.
Naively, I thought a degree in Film Theory would involve film and theory. Little did I know that the theory was a rather specific one: men suck and women are awesome. AKA feminism. Well, okay. I was just a teenager myself, having walked away from a marriage proposal from an awesome guy because I was suspicious that being married and having children might ruin my life – that’s what all the ladies around me were saying. “Don’t do it! You have your whole life in front of you! Don’t throw it away on a man, even if he is kind of fantastic”.
So down the rabbit hole I went. My first “theory” was written by Laura Mulvey, called “Visual and Other Pleasures”. The theory is that when men look first in a film, that gaze is controlling (bastards!) and turns women into objects (assholes!) and then when women DO look first, they get punished (misogynists!). We watched an Alfred Hitchcock film and then sat about railing about what dicks men are. Sadly, the class was overwhelming male, and I wonder what has happened to those men? Sitting through class after class, learning that men are cruel and useless and stupid.
Throughout the four long years of my indoctrination, I was always a bit nervous and embarrassed and dare I say ashamed of the things I was learning. I have three brothers, and going home for Thanksgiving and Christmas and summer holidays was always a stark reminder that my life was filled with men and they were nothing like the men I was learning to fear and hate at school. There was always something a bit off with all the theories. It wasn’t until my fourth year, when I confronted Moniqe Wittig that the bulb suddenly blared into full spectrum light.
Essentially, Wittig’s argument is that only lesbians are truly women and that only lesbians experience true freedom. Taking as a starting point the idea that freedom is central to the definition of humanity, Wittig is basically arguing for the end of the human race. If the only way to experience freedom is to be a lesbian, men are instantly irrelevant. Without men, there are no children. Without children, there is no future. It’s PD James and the End of Men.
That’s when I knew the whole theory was just a giant crock of shit. My last essay was “Feminism as Nihilism” and I think I made the professor cry, but you know what? Fuck her. Fuck all of them. Fuck their ugly theories and their hatred of men and their cavalier attitudes towards the flesh and blood men who sat in front of them taking notes on their own extinction. Fuck my whole four years of useless squabbling and arguing and pointless pedantic pedagogy.
I left university and decided to go to work. And with a degree in Film Theory – yeah, that worked out well. I know how to make awesome lattes and frappacinos. Thanks feminism!
So we know what happens next: I go to MBA school and walk away with an MRS and every day I breathe a sigh of relief that I escaped a life of endless whining and complaining and imagining myself a victim and railing over at Jezebel about what a bunch of fuckers men are!
In retrospect, I should have married that lovely boy when I was 19. I should have done dishes for a decade and thought about my future and what I wanted and why.
I’m very lucky that things worked out for me so beautifully. For many women, that isn’t the case. They bought the “men suck, women are awesome” theory of reality and find themselves living lives they hate with men they don’t respect and children they never see. How sad.
And how splendid is the irony that in just a few short years, I WILL be a professor? In the Faculty of Business. The one faculty where women’s studies majors fear to tread. We try to limit our bullshit to currency swaps and derivatives pricing.
One thing that strikes me, looking back at four years of Catherine McKinnon, Andrea Dworkin, Luce Irigaray, Germaine Greer and Kate Millet.
Why are all these bitches so ugly?
Could be a theory there.
Lots of love,