Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And now, a word from hothead paisan

so two days after the 20th anniversary of the montreal massacre, we get a story in the globe and mail fretting that women outnumber men at university. the implications for family life are particularly scary: "faced with a dwindling number of potential mates who are their education equals, ... more women may take a pass on the traditional family, or be more willing to leave it when things don't work," worries elizabeth church. what's worse, "more men may find themselves tending to hearth and home."

this is followed by an editorial in the same newspaper -- an editorial, by the way, based on its own story -- called "the male minority" that comes down hard on the side of indira samarasekera's inflammatory october comments about the "demographic time bomb." specifically, her fear is that "we'll wake up in 20 years and we will not have the benefit of enough male talent at the heads of companies and elsewhere." what's that you say? - you thought at the current rate it would take 260 years to move from 4.5% to 50%? silly girl! you never were any good with numbers. in addition to coming down hard on samarasekera's side, the editorial comes down hard on the undergraduates who produced clever posters satirizing the comments: the samarasekera response team was "soon collared by campus security, but were not disciplined." insert disapproval here.

and that editorial gem sits right next to a new piece of idiocy from margaret wente blathering on about the absence of systemic misogyny in canadian culture. stop me if you've heard this line of argument before, but mark lepine was a random homicidal lunatic and not a garden variety misogynist. dec 6, pace wente, "has been an annual excuse for fevered breast-beating over the moral failings of society and the persistent inequality of women – as if the glass ceiling or the lack of universal daycare existed on the same moral continuum as homicidal misogyny."

what world are these people living in?

admittedly not mine, which this week involves supersecret meetings evaluating faculty members' performance over the year. i cannot talk about these meetings - what happens in room 5.20 stays in room 5.20 - but i will assure you that the academy intervenes before our classroom presence translates into actual material success.

all of this begs the question of exactly how few women students we should be aiming for (pun intended). what would be the ideal ratio for preserving heteronormative family structures and the current wage inequity between men and women? i ask so i can start advising my smart, hardworking women undergraduates to drop out.


margrit said...

thank you for articulating my (overly?) emotional reaction to these gems of journalism. elizabeth church always does the higher ed beat, and always derisively and dismissively. glad this time she actually found something to happily sink her teeth in. as to wente, she's made me want to cancel my subscription so many times.
btw, did you see the article (a couple of months back) about the head of the toronto school board wishing to make some all-boys school, which would 'better cater' to boys' educational needs? wtf? who was the curriculum aimed at until just a few years ago? call me a cynic, but i don't think it's been so much feminized that boys lose themselves completely... to the point of dropping out.
yeah, i'm quite emotional on this issue.

Dana Wilde said...

Heteronormativity - excellent word to ponder!