Let two feminist scholars of them tell you, via this tweet from The New Real Peer Review:
— New Real Peer Review (@RealPeerReview) March 14, 2017
When envisioning the future priorities for women’s studies—ones that take advantage of women’s studies as a dangerous, infectious, potentially radical force of change—we posit two new directions for the field to embrace. First, training both female and male students as viruses could prove especially useful in articulating the mission and goals of the field. There are clearly different stakes in the feminist pedagogical work directed toward female students versus male students. While female students must work to understand their own experiences as women and to deconstruct, critically analyze, and understand the ways that their identities as women map onto other privileges and oppressions, they often at least sense the impact of oppression and privilege in their lives.
Male students, on the other hand, may have had little or no exposure to thinking about their own male privileges at all, particularly for white men who may perceive themselves to be victimized by feminist critiques and classroom discussions (George, 1992). While men of color and gay men may differently understand concepts of privilege and oppression, white heterosexual men may arrive at the examination of privilege with little to no experience examining such personal aspects of their lives and identities. The danger of challenging white men, for example, to recognize and critique their own (and other men’s) privileges may be different than teaching women to recognize and critique their privileges and oppressions. Precisely because whiteness, heterosexuality, and maleness are not oppressed classes (George, 1992), and thus are not subjected to the consciousness of oppressed classes, the methods used to discover their own 947 Fahs & Karger – Women’s Studies as Virus privilege may prove critical to the virulent capacity of women’s studies programs seeking to infect male-dominated institutions.
This is one area of academia, it seems, where a scholarly discipline not only has explicit political goals, and a point of view that it must inculcate into students, but makes these things public. I can’t think of any other disciples with such a nakedly obvious agenda, except other areas of “cultural studies.”
Claire Lehmann, editor of Quillette, retweeted it like this: