The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Women’s Studies, IYKWIMAITYD

Posted on | June 30, 2014 | 20 Comments

What aspect of feminism was I researching when I found this? Never mind; it doesn’t matter now. The point is that I found a 2009 syllabus for a Women’s Studies course (“Introduction to Feminisms”) at Boston College, which was taught that year by Ellen Friedman. This sophomore-level class is cross-listed under the departments of sociology, history and English, and is required of Women’s Studies minors (Boston College doesn’t offer a major in the subject).

Friedman’s syllabus includes the names of many authors familiar to any student of feminism: Audre Lorde, Simone de Beauvoir, Adrienne Rich, Gloria Steinem and Susan Brownmiller, to name a few. However, the principal textbook for the course was Feminist Frontiers, edited by Verta Taylor, Leila Rupp and Nancy Whittier. This is a 576-page paperback described by its publisher, McGraw-Hill, as the “most widely used anthology of feminist writings,” which is now in its ninth edition.

Feminist Frontiers, earlier editions of which were subtitled “Rethinking Sex and Gender,” was first published in 1983, edited by Taylor — then at Ohio State University — and her mentor, sociology professor Laurel Richardson. It was while at Ohio State that Taylor met Leila Rupp, who became (a) the first faculty member of the Women’s Studies program there, and (b) Taylor’s lesbian lover. Taylor and Rupp are now on the faculty of the University of California-Santa Barbara, where they are proud to be known as “the professors of lesbian love.”

The third editor of the ninth edition of Feminist Frontiers, Nancy Whittier, got her Ph.D. in sociology at — you guessed it — Ohio State University. She is now a professor at Smith College, where she lives with her lesbian partner, feminist historian Kate Weigand, and their three children. Weigand, who gets a shout-out in the preface of Feminist Frontiers for her “feedback” and “companionship,” is the author of Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women’s Liberation, about which reviewer Henry Makow says, “Weigand . . . shows that modern feminism is a direct outgrowth of American Communism. . . . Many second-wave feminist leaders were ‘red diaper babies,’ the children of Communists.”

So, the three editors of “the most widely used anthology of feminist writings” — a basic college textbook for introductory Women’s Studies classes, which has been in print for more than 30 years — are all lesbians. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.