Women’s studies will disappear in 50 years

Even in this period of occasional blogging, I like to cover issues other than politics. Like most of my posts, this was inspired by an online article I read claiming When ‘science’ looks for sexism, it finds it. It touches on two topics I find compelling: how unbiased science really is and the absurdity of some politically correct ideas that fly in the face of biology.

I plan on writing about my own experience as a scientist and how it informs me about objective and scientific truth. For now, I’ll merely say that this article makes the case that you often find what you are looking for. The other aspect about it that intrigued me is the focus on women. The article discusses a study published in a “feminist, scientific, peer-reviewed journal,” so the sexism at issue is directed against women.

I am familiar with numerous examples from the generation preceding mine (I am 52) where women were pigeonholed, not valued as productive members of society outside the home, and generally held back. Men were favored, encouraged to pursue challenging careers, and women were not. It is much harder to make that claim for my generation and I think it is impossible to make for my childrens’ generation. But with the time lag we often see in social engineering, the fixes are being applied after they are really needed, and swing the pendulum to the other side, at least for a while. That’s OK – some amount of overshoot is always going to happen when you react to a problem or injustice.

When I went on a college tour with my son, we visited a place known as Diversity University. Four of the five tour guides available were women, and three of them were majoring in Women and Gender Studies. These bright, engaged, socially conscious women decided to focus their college studies on their half of the population.

It occurred to me that unlike some of the other politically correct university departments, like African American Studies, Women and Gender Studies is a totally artificial subject. Sure there are differences between the sexes, but studying (and celebrating) them is like glorifying Anatomy and Physiology. When the pendulum comes to rest at its new equilibrium, which I predict will be in about 50 years, I think that department will have disappeared. I predict it will go the way of other fads that similarly occupied the minds of some of our most socially engaged thinkers, like eugenics, which once boasted hundreds of courses in leading universities.

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