Please note that my response has no connection to any of the departments that I address in this article; this is only a response to the piece posted earlier in the Daily Nexus.
The feminist studies department at UCSB is a distinguished division of the humanities sector of our university. Feminist studies here is a field of discipline that provides an interdisciplinary form of teaching, as it addresses methods of sociology, history, political science and economics in order to allow students to fully grasp the ways in which our society denies access to equality from certain groups of people. The Department of Feminist Studies at UCSB is also home to the LGBTQ minor, which allows queer and allied students of UCSB to go into more detail within their studies on the oppression of LGBTQIA+ people who oftentimes suffer from the same structures of power that serve to oppress women. This department offers not only undergraduate majors and minors, but also M.A. and Ph.D. programs at the graduate level.
In his article, “The Failure in Feminist Studies,” a male student at UCSB challenges the fact that A.S. passed a resolution to back the formation of a G.E. requirement for gender and sexuality courses. Besides opposing the necessity of teaching social inequalities that women and queer people face on a daily basis, this student has also proposed that “we should be questioning why they are taught at all.” Backing up his argument with a slew of uncredited examples — which are all questionable in the way he supports his argument — and also with his experiences in a single introduction feminist studies course he took two years ago (which he also does not list), this student has challenged the significance of an entire field of study that is important to many students on this campus. To discredit an entire department based on his unsolicited and uncredible opinion that feminist studies does not provide “unbiased academic analysis,” is not only ridiculous, it is also ignorant to the fact that the queer theory class he criticizes is part of a completely different field than the quantum theory he chooses to study. Objectivity and subjectivity are both needed in order to fully comprehend how humans function within society.
Through a “scientifically” based argument that he formed after only taking one class in the entire department, this student has argued that feminist studies, which has been a field of discipline for decades, should not be taught due to these various reasons: The University should be aloof from politics and feminist studies is a field rooted in politics, feminist studies has a biased academic analysis by addressing issues such as “male privilege” and feminist studies is not scientific and lacks objectivity. To be so invested in how science and the scientific method is the true frontier of all collegiate studies, but simply use the basis of one class to influence his view on an entire field of study seems to be, in itself, unscientific. He tries to back up his arguments by proposing studies of people and monkeys, and claims that science has had a more “tangible improvement in the quality of life for women (and men) worldwide than academic feminism ever has.” Also, to say that our school is apolitical is a gross ignorance of how our own school has been invested in things like the prison industrial complex and supporting companies who fund weaponry to the Israeli government occupation in Palestine.
To say scientific studies in general have benefitted women is a gross ignorance and denial of how women have been oppressed in the name of science. Sterilizing women for birth control, eugenics, defining queer people and women as mentally ill through psychological studies and racism justified by biased biological and anthropological studies are just a few instances of how sciences have served to oppress and limit women, rather than help them, as he argues. Also, to claim that feminism has had less of a positive effect on women than science is quite puzzling, as science has always been a field of study that women have been discouraged from by our society, and many of the rights that women have today — such as abortion and suffrage — were fought for by feminists.
Here is an annotation of various sources to emphasize how science, which has definitely brought vast improvements to the lives of people through discoveries in medicine and engineering, has also served as a means of oppressing women in various ways, including violating their bodies.
These are two articles — one peer reviewed, one not — on the government-funded sterilization of Latina women through the basis of eugenics, a concept of superiority rooted in biological racism.
This is a post by an anthropology professor detailing the ways in which biological anthropology has undeniably been used to justify racism.
These are articles detailing the struggles women face in trying to prosper in a field dominated by men whilst fighting, struggling to gain equal opportunities for work and pay. Much of this has to do with how social constructs of gender limit people, which challenges how the student dismisses the importance of how society constructs gender.
These articles discuss how women and queer people have been discriminated against by psychological research with sexism and homophobia being deeply rooted into concepts of hysteria and gender dysphoria as mental illnesses.
As a feminist studies major who has taken multiple courses within feminist studies, black studies, history and sociology, I recognize that our studies do not focus on theories denying objectivity; rather, they focus on the intersectionality of gender, race and class, and the history of the United States, a country where social justice and equality were not granted, but rather fought for by the oppressed.
Humanities and social sciences are not objective in the way that subjects such as biology are, because it is important to recognize that learning about how to gain equality for people requires a different form of fieldwork than finding out if the mitochondria is really the powerhouse of the cell. To say that all of these fields need to produce work through or operate under the scientific method is completely ignorant of the fact that not every subject within academia is a science. Also, it makes little sense to criticize the presence of politics in subject areas rooted in studying how politics shaped the history and culture of the United States. History is also a field that is not objective, the same history can be taught through various lenses, and the depictions of the same history will change depending on where it is taught and who it is taught by. Literature classes are also often subjective, asking students to evaluate and analyze readings through their own lens to appreciate the art form that is writing.
Feminist studies is not the only discipline that may have subjectivity in mind when conducting research. As I have stated before, anthropology, psychology and biology have been used to justify racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and eugenics. However, only feminist studies and other majors within humanities get targeted for being “biased” in academia. Much of the bias, as this student has also discussed in his article, is there to address the ways in which education itself has been taught through a Eurocentric and male-oriented lens. To not challenge these institutions that are rooted and situated within our own forms of academia is, in itself, not objective. Our society will always have an inherent bias favoring men, straight people and white people; to deny this fact is to deny that we have been taught in a way that gives privilege to some groups over others.
Subjectivity also does not affect important feminist studies topics such as male privilege, because it has been proven time and time again that men are granted access to certain privileges that women do not have in the same way that white privilege oppresses people of color. To deny that, especially from a male position, is very much the subjective position as it is easy to deny that certain forms of oppression exist when they are not directly affecting you. Feminist studies often calls upon subjectivity in responding to societal injustices; however, that does not mean research conducted by feminists is biased or not objective. To say so is a fallacy, and feminism has always been challenged by ignorant people who think that women are ruled by emotion and that subjects their logic to inaccuracy. When you devalue a field, you are also devaluing the scholarship of everyone who has contributed to it.
The most fascinating thing to me is that a white male student challenging the need for a feminist studies department, while also denying the existence of “male privilege in groups,” seems to very much be exemplifying the exact concept he is challenging. Also, using a study about monkeys to claim that gender is part of nature, without addressing how gender roles contribute to the oppression of women in science fields, is not only a reach, but an incomplete argument. This student also insists that because trans people resist socialization, the effects of socialization are moot, as he claims that trans people in their resistance prove social constructs aren’t true. The main point of social constructs is that they are invalid, but they serve to have real life effects on people, such as how trans people are seen as “inauthentic.”
I would also argue that science is a field that is actually unchallenged, and the idea that science and objectivity should be able to trump an entire field of study shows how we prioritize science over humanities. A department that occupies one floor of a building will not demolish the reputation of a science based school, especially considering that our campus is building a new structure for engineering when feminist studies take up so little space that they often have to be taught in life science, chemistry or other science buildings.
To be strictly objective in humanities means ignoring the fundamental aspect that people living in a society will not always adhere to science and logic, as societal influence, human consciousness and “nurturing” will also have dominating effects on people. While objectivity is important to academia, academia must also stretch beyond education into our lives to create change within the societies we live in. To restrict education to solely objective scientific research limits people who exist in a society much more complex than just the subjects of within science.
Science is important; as a society we already know that. However, the justification of humanities has always been denied and challenged by people who do not see its importance within a human society that extends far beyond what science can explain on its own. The function of general education classes is to allow people to extend beyond their seemingly monolithic forms of study into other theories and fields that can expand their knowledge of themselves and the world around them.
As a former biology major who also used to believe that science formed the basis of the world, after taking a diverse array of G.E. classes and switching majors, I can now see that the Earth reaches far beyond its mantle and core; as people who live on it we need both humanities and science, objectivity and subjectivity to fully understand everything there is to know. These categories do not have to be binaries, because no form of study is ever actually exceptional or unique. It is essential to learn multiple forms of study, as everything is interconnected just like the matter that we are comprised of.
Dear author of “The Failure of Feminist Studies,” you cannot reduce how much feminist studies matters as a discipline simply because of an opinion, one rooted in the subjectivity you so easily challenge in your own piece. It seems the only thing “laughably misnamed” is your article itself, as feminist studies has never failed me; it has only championed complex narratives that address multitudes of disciplines, allowing students and scholars in our field to comprehend the world around us in a way that science by itself cannot even begin to interpret.
P.S. Also, someone is bound to play devil’s advocate on the importance of citation since I emphasized that, so yes, I did co-opt Pay Mon’s article title: “White Fragility at UCSB,” because I felt that these issue were connected (especially since they are both responses to the same person).
There is so much wrong with this article that I don’t even know where to begin. The only thing that you wrote which made any sense here was “I used to be a biology major.” I’m completely unsurprised that you dropped out of the major, given what you’ve shown of your mental acumen in this diatribe. I’d like a public on-campus debate to take place between representatives who share J Garshfield’s opinions, like myself, and those who hold to the position that the Kevin did here. What do you say, femstudy majors? Can you defend the validity of your theory… Read more »
Yeah, there is so many points in this response article to even start with. Come for the nothing burger and stay for the straw man (look, an anti-man term!) arguments.
If you’re looking for a debate to whet your whistle, I found this debate between Gavin McGinnes and a feminist enlightening… and entertaining:
I would love to publicly debate with this author or any other representative of the feminist studies department.
I’d like to work on this together.
You really should set this up. In the mean time, you should write a rebuttal so you will have to be held more accountable for sources and logical consistency instead of circular rhetoric that oral debates usually devolve into.
Stating that there is so much wrong yet not giving any examples says nothing. Please elaborate if we are to take you seriously.
You’ll be taking me very seriously very soon, mark my words.
How eerily threatening! When pressed for evidence you make a threat. What a joy anti-feminists are.
A, I’m not an anti-feminist. I just know pseudoscientific drivel when I see it.
B, I’m not going to dignify your allegations of threats with a response.
Azazel calling a paper that critiques some foundational issues in the production of science “pseudoscientific drivel” is to be frank quite silly and indicates that you do not understand the interaction of disciplines.
Threatening people in a public forum. The true sign of intellectual stimulation! ALAS
Maybe instead of saying “There is so much wrong with this article that I don’t even know where to begin.” You should actually quote and respond with sources to what you disagree with. Otherwise your comment is useless and just makes you look like you dislike it because it challenges your opinion. This article is much more logically consistent, source heavy, and overall much more well-written than Garshfield’s, to which it responds.
I think you a little behind the times. Feminist Studies has existed as a field of study and research in academia since the late 60’s at established universities such as Cornell. No one feels the need to have a public debate with you about the topic, because as it is obvious, there is no real validity to your argument. If such were true do you think Feminist studies would still be around as a major academic field of study? Furthermore, to attack someones personal intelligence is completely unwarranted in a debate about the validity of an academic field. This simply… Read more »
Although a debate might be fun, your level of hostility worries me, Azazel. I also have doubts about your abilities, seeing that only one sentence in a lengthy article made any sense at all to you. Your ‘mental acumen’ seems to be lacking, taking into account your subsequent responses. I’d like to know what you intend to gain by such a debate. While I believe differences in opinion are essential to any social body, I don’t believe this would be a productive exercise. What theory are you wishing to debate, specifically? Are you claiming feminism is a theory as a… Read more »
I find it entertaining that you are trying to project yourself as part of the intelligentsia by saying things such as “I also have doubts about your abilities seeing that only one sentence in a lengthy article made any sense at all to you. Your ‘mental acumen’ seems to be lacking, taking into account your subsequent responses.” Really?!?!? Come on please you know what he was saying your trying to pump up your ego by sound all intellectual like. I also find it ironic where you suggest that perhaps to gain more knowledge on the subject that he may want… Read more »
I would like to join in on this debate
“supporting companies who fund weaponry to the Israeli government occupation in Palestine.”
Really, can ONE of you guys rebut me without bringing Israel into it?
Seriously… I noticed that as well.
Besides, military occupation of hostile territories isn’t even illegal under Geneva, the only controversial part is with civilian occupation. But that’s obviously not what he was talking about
I can’t help but notice the parallel here that when a part of your identity is brought to light you insist upon it not being relevant, but when you publicly attack an area of study of an identity you do not share there’s no issue. Hypocrisy doesn’t look good on anyone, Jason.
The other day I read a Daily Nexus article on how parties in IV promote patriarchy and create hostile environments for homosexuals, as they are not “represented” in party “ratios.” It’s increasingly discouraging to see a discipline like Feminist Studies influence people such as yourself to create an imaginary divide between men and women. To deny that feministic studies are biased against the white male is an understatement. People like you undermine what feminism is really about.
Feminists didn’t create a divide between men and women, men did that. Feminism is a form of resistance.
“Men did that.”
Thanks for proving Trevor’s point. No wonder the number of feminists in this country has gone down from 25% to 18% in the space of about two years.
Facts, youtube, statistics, actual cited source information, and feminist “academics” do not mix I’m afraid.
That’s why they need to have their own departments, and shield themselves from scrutiny. Not just at UCSB but everywhere. Their censorship is cracking more and more everyday.
The more they scream oppression, the more people who look do not see what they are seeing. The more refuse their cause.
What is feminism really about then? Who is one male to say what a whole field of thought that has been in dialogue and evolving for over a century? That’s like critiquing Foucault and saying he doesn’t know what philosophy truly is, which is absurd. “to create an imaginary divide between men and women. ” Wait do you think there are no social divides between men and women? Really? There are currently only eighteen world leaders, half of them are the first women to lead that country. They only account for ~10% of the current global leaders, yet women account… Read more »
i have had the misfortune of taking a couple of the same classes J Garshfield has been in and he is always looking for attention. he disrupts class, talks about irrelevant things, and makes a fool of himself while thinking he’s God’s gift to mankind and the smartest kid in the room. can’t explain/debate anything to/with him because he isn’t open to understanding other points of view. Wasn’t shocked when i saw his name under that mess of an article.
That’s funny. I read his article, and got the totally opposite impression. He was articulate, used counter points, and brought up specific examples he felt were egregious that also led to his leaving the methodology promoted there.
Your comment is the typical feminist reframe I see so often. It is the bogus cornmash of someone who can’t ferment their own ideas. Highlighting their inability to think clearly.
“because he isn’t open to understanding other points of view.” So he just took a class on feminism because he isn’t open to understanding other points of view? Yeah becuase thats not how you go about trying to understand an opposing view, right?
Thank you for this! Yessss!
Of course <3 yaaasss
Congrats to Jason G for having the willpower to manage two accounts posting back and forth to each other. May you find peace in whatever nether realm your brain occupies.
Just to clarify since Jason G appears to ignore all adequate sources and fictionally create his own, the nether realm i’m referring to is your own ass. Hope that clears things up for you.
Jason Garshfeild is absolute trash. Thank you got speaking up against his misogynistic bullshit. ❤️
<3 of course!
If someone called you trash, you would be demanding the person be prosecuted for harassment. Way to go hypocrite.
god i love how comments here can be posted as anonymous
ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY YEEEEEEEEEEE
THIS IS A GREAT ARTICLE
<3 thank you!
There is nothing wrong with having a feminist studies major. What is wrong is that the classes are taught in a way that your grade is harmed if you don’t agree with the information. I think if the classes were taught in a way that students could express their own beliefs without being criticized or harshly graded, no one would have a problem with it. I am a female by the way and have taken 3 fem st classes. I enjoyed some aspects but was really annoyed when certain ideas were pushed as facts and I was forced to write… Read more »
I think the same could be argued about any college course though. You provide the information the professor is looking to see. Technically, if a paper is making a valid, convincing argument, it makes no sense why you wouldn’t be allowed to provide an opposing view. If you can argue that the information is accurate and valid, then your grade shouldn’t be harmed. I think you’re possibly just a shitty writer
Attacking someone personally when you don’t know anything about them is pretty ignorant. Humanities and social sciences always have an element of subjectivity so there is almost always an opposing view that is somewhat valid based on the viewpoints of that person.
Of course, you had to write a lengthy ass defense for feminism because your major cannot even defend itself. Feminist studies is a joke. It’s a pity party for people to sit there and think that everything bad that has happened to them is because they were born a female. NEWS FLASH: No one’s stopping females from becoming CEOs and engineers. Maybe they should stop wasting their time in feminist studies and go major in something useful. Even communication is a better major because you actually develop a SKILL. Don’t waste other people’s time by forcing them to listen to… Read more »
Lovely read, Kevin. It’s a pity, yet not surprising, that your article wasn’t matched with the same thoughtfulness and intelligence in these comments, but I commend your effort all the same and wish you the best in your future work. Oh how much they do miss to see the world from such monolithic and reductive perspectives.
Thank you so much ❤ yeah it can’t be helped sigh but thank you so much *hugs*
Hello Kevin, I wanted to know if you would be interested in debating this issue in a public forum. Actually I’d be more interested in a conversation, since that seems like it would be more productive to me. Looking forward to hearing back from you.
i resent that
i put plenty of thought into this comment
I love how comfortable you all feel bullying Jason in these comments. Fucking hypocrites.
Kevin and another SJW openly talked about wanting to stab me on Faceook today. These losers couldn’t say half this shit to my face. But I agree, the speed with which they attack anyone who disagrees with them demolishes all their claims to high moral ground.
Which is why I have an ever-growing contempt for the SJW. They’re so quick to criticize but can’t take it without becoming threatening and sometimes violent.
Enlightened fanatics that congregate and reinforce each others’ views with manufactured concepts and associated language have a tendency to behave like a mob, lose their moral compass, and righteously discriminate against others.
did they really? Citation needed. Anecdotal evidence of attacks by “evil SJWs” are not going to cut it, especially in the comments of an article you clearly disagree with (never mind one that allows anonymous posting, which I myself am taking advantage of). And to be frank, based on Kevin’s post here, I can’t imagine him writing something quite as blatant as “I am going to stab you in the face because you presented an argument I happen to disagree with.” I feel like even if he did launch a personal attack against you, it would be far more nuanced… Read more »
Established? Sure, feminist studies have been around for as long as ethnic studies majors/classes. Both were birthed by the protest movements of the 1960s. They all have a particular political bent that many regard as subversive and even sedition. Arizona effectively banned Chicano/Latinos in public schools several years ago because it preached the Southwest was not part of the U.S. and that Latinos are superior to everyone else. Do any of these majors have any academic validity? It’s highly questionable since they all tend to be political not theoretical or practical (like STEM majors for example).
* banned Chicano/Latino Studies in public schools…
So this author realizes more women than men are admitted into university? And Scholarships exist to provide tuition and educational resources exclusively for women? Do men have privilege due to their gender? Well not entirely. Women, especially white upper middle class women here at ucsb, also enjoy privilege. Most discrimination today is oriented towards social/economic class and race. Just because you are a woman and fail at jobs men succeed at does not mean you are oppressed. Chances you are simply not good enough. Why do women more than men pursue careers in teaching, social work, and fulfillment related jobs?… Read more »
Such a good article! I was so mad reading that article the other day so I’m glad to see someone writing back. These comments are really disheartening though, yikes.
as someone who studies social sciences, I’m just as offended by this kind of ignorance as feminists are.
Less than half of social science studies are reproducible.
You are worried about someone at UCSB being a secret Nazi who believes in eugenics. Yet, you can’t write a simple article about something that has nothing to do with Israel without bringing Israel into it.
how dare you
The liberal reign of terror is over. Give it up.
I love how each side assumes they know nothing about the subject. gets people feisty and more liberal with personal attack
makes for excellent spectating. I love college and the internet
This article is an atrocious example of “argumentum ad consequentiam.” Since I don’t like the consequences of Jason G’s argument, the argument must be false. Never mind that the consequences are strawmen, even if they were true they would not disprove them one bit.
Even though I am aware of “male privilege” and the reality of disproportionate gender roles, this article was just about the most painful thing I’ve read surrounding social issues on campus. Feminist Studies is more or less a joke of a major and to have a whole department is kind of ridiculous. I’m not saying feminism is not an important aspect of American culture, I’m saying that students can dedicate 4 years of college and a bunch of tuition for feminist studies degree… What the fuck are you gonna do with that. If all you passionate feminists want to make… Read more »
These feminists keep insisting that we take aboard their ideology, and they just don’t seem to understand that no means no.
I didn’t finish reading your entire comment. You asked what can a person do with a femst major, huh? you know you can stillgo to law school, or any grad program really, with a feminist studies major. with that major you can also teach, go into social work, and more. you might wanna google stuff before you start making shit up
Congratulations on getting better writers for your satire section. When I first started reading some of your articles in this area they were complete garbage, unwitty, and most importantly lacked satire. But this is truly a breath of fresh air seeing as how you managed to rally up the retardson both sides of this argument.
Here’s an open challenge to Kevin Tang and his fellow cowards: I challenge you to a public debate on the merits of the UCSB Feminist Studies Department. You have awfully big words for me, hiding behind a computer screen. Let’s see if you can back them up in real life. What do you say, Kevin? Are you willing to defend the Feminist Studies department in an open forum?
Jason garshfield is a racist, misogybistic, and homophobic pig. He isn’t getting g any from anyone which leads him to frustrated emotional outbursts that the IDIOTS at the daily nexus decide to publish. READ THE BOTTOM LINE folks, I have absolutely no association with them other than being a reader. Objective journalism and halfway decent opinion pieces. Fuck the nexus
That’s funny because I actually write opinion pieces for The Bottom Line as well.
Indeed, like a parasite you spread your ideology of ignorance and hate wherever it is allowed. Also, you still have yet to respond in any meaningful way. Stop crying for a chance to debate publicly and actually write a logically concise, source-heavy piece proving your points, if you can. “The Failure in Feminist Studies” article was very poorly written. It jumped all over the place, didn’t hold an idea long enough to prove it, and the sources included were frankly irrelevant to your argument.
It’s hard for me to find anything substantive to respond to in this piece. It looks like something a monkey could have tapped out on a typewriter.
Plus P (or should it be Pee?), opinion pieces don’t have to be heavily footnoted ????
It is hilarious that a feminist organization would hypocritically accuse anyone of “eugenics” considering such distinguished historical perspectives such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger, and Simone De Beauvoir. From the history of Stanton’s myopic view of “oppression” being a women married to a man of wealth, Sanger’s view of inferior races (her words) and abortion, and De Beauvoir’s sexual (read pedophiliac) escapades with teen girls before passing them off to her boyfriend Sartre. You will have to forgive my inability to take this argument seriously. Seriously, get a grip on your own facts before challenging the other’s very well… Read more »
Undressing Feminism, Professing Feminism, and Who Stole Feminism show the intellectual bankruptcy of this academic racket.