Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lawyer sues over Women's Studies classes  

Hold onto your hats, I'm about to get really really really angry.

Mr. Roy Den Hollander, a Manhattan lawyer and self-proclaimed anti-feminist, is suing Columbia for offering Women's Studies courses. His claim? Women's Studies courses are "a bastion of bigotry against men" and the program at Columbia "demonizes men and exalts women in order to justify discrimination against men based on collective guilt."

Clearly this man has never sat through a Women's Studies class in his lifetime.

This same lawyer has also sued nightclubs for offering "Ladies' Night" in which women get discounted drinks, and has sued the federal government over a law that protects women from violence. His website boasts, "Now is the time for all good men to fight for their rights before they have no rights left. Contact Roy to help battle the infringement of Men's Rights by the feminists and their allies."

Seriously... who the HELL does this man think he is? I've taken many Women's Studies classes because it's my major, and I can honestly say that none of my classes preached any kind of hatred or discrimination towards men. In fact, men are encouraged to take these classes to better understand women and the overall concept of gender. If men were NOT permitted to take these classes, that would indeed be blatant discrimination, but that is just not the case at any school to my knowledge.

If his argument is that there should be a Men's Studies program, well my answer to that is: IT IS CALLED AMERICAN HISTORY. There would not be a need for a Women's Studies program if other courses were not guilty of focusing predominantly on men in the past. Women's Studies has developed out of necessity - to help spread knowledge and respect for a group that has been oppressed. These courses also exist to inform young American students about the terrifying and appalling things that are being done to women abroad. I'm not saying that men are not without their hardships, but it is the women who are getting their clitorises cut off in Saudi Arabia, the women who cannot leave their houses without veils in Iran, and mainly women who are being brutally raped by enemy intruders in the Republic of Congo. Women's Studies classes are essential to keep young people up-to-date on these important issues.

Would this anti-feminist lawyer oppose Black Studies, calling it discrimination against white people? Because at my school, there is no "White Studies" major, but there is a Black Studies major. Why? For the same reason - oppression and ignorance has led to a need for such classes. The same thing can be said about Queer Studies classes. And about Jewish Studies classes.

It is what it is. Sexism still exists, racism still exists, homophobia still exists, and antisemitism still exists. And why is there so much hatred towards these groups? Because people do not understand them, and they are afraid of the unknown. College courses are a way to spread understanding and abolish these prominent divisions that exist in our society. Clearly Mr. Den Hollander does not understand this concept, and is so quick to claim that men are being deprived of their rights by feminists. He is throwing the blame in our faces, when ironically, becoming a feminist has helped me develop a newfound respect and understanding for men. It was in one of my GENDER/WOMEN'S STUDIES classes that we did a unit on the extreme pressure men feel to act masculine, and I saw a perspective I had never seen before.

But it is just too bad that Mr. Roy hates me because I am a feminist. Just too bad.

What next?

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4 comments: to “ Lawyer sues over Women's Studies classes

  • August 19, 2008 at 9:27 PM  

    My partner, when I told him this news: "You know who he should sue? Ellen DeGeneres, for not offering to date men. I mean, COME ON."

  • August 19, 2008 at 10:39 PM  

    i believe there are men's studies programs at a few universities.... the study of masculinity in gender and such. someone should bring those departments to his attention...

  • August 20, 2008 at 9:04 AM  

    Oh, so true. His actions could open up a whole can of worms and raise the question of, "Where do we stop?!"

    Amanda, there definitely is. My school offers some classes on masculinity... and actually, the Columbia Women's Studies department is called GENDER Studies.

  • August 23, 2008 at 4:12 AM  

    I took a Masculinities class at my college; we read, watched and analyzed "Fight Club" as the final text. (Maybe this guy would be less gung-ho about the whole "let's talk about the mens!" if he knew the focus of my paper on that book/movie was male homosexuality, masochism, and male dominance by threat of castration? I suspect that an analysis of anxious masculinity isn't what he would like?)

    The premise of the class was that only discussing women "othered" them, and that the weirdnesses of men should be inspected as well, so to speak. ^^ (Taught by a guy, too! Oh my! Somehow the feminists allowed him in!)