This political season, the Democratic primary quickly turned into a lightning rod for discussing sexism, the “glass ceiling” and the good ol’ boys club. The usual suspects, Gloria Steinem, Geraldine Ferraro and Patricia Schroeder, were leading the way in making these claims. They were supported, however, by a vocal cadre of women from academia. The well-organized attacks launched by these professors caught many people off-guard because most people do not realize that this is exactly what these professors are trained to do—to lead social revolutions.
In the classic college environment, history professors are hired to research and teach students the history of a specific subject, such as a time period, country or war. Science professors are hired to research and teach students how things work in this world, such as what happens when you mix chemicals together. English professors are hired to teach students how to write effectively to convey a message.
What are women’s studies professors hired to do? According to the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) website, its mission is that it “…leads the field of women’s studies in educational and social transformation.” Women’s Studies professors are hired to work to remake society.
Over a thousand of these women met this past week in Cincinnati, Ohio for the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Annual Conference. These women unabashedly pursue their radical feminist vision. In the opening letter, the president of the NWSA encourages attendees to read, “Welcome to Cincinnati: A Brief Feminist Guide for Conference Goers” by the head of the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Women’s Studies. Who knew you could take a feminist tour of Cincinnati?
These women’s studies professors gathered to learn how to become better activists, not better teachers. The Conference included panels to teach them how to use their position as professors to be agents of social change with such loaded discussion topics as, “Feminist Activism from the Inside Out: Connecting Campus to Community,” “’You Say You Want a Revolution?’: Paving New Paths in Feminist Mentorship” and last, but not at all least, “Drive a Mind Wild: How Feminist Pedagogy can Teach Resistance.”