The Other McCain

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

‘The Notion of the Mythical Norm’

Posted on | May 13, 2018 | No Comments

Catt is a 19-year-old lesbian with a Tumblr blog. She has anxiety, depression and “also maybe some psychotic symptoms.” She seems to be enrolled in an introductory Women’s Studies course, because she posted an excerpt from a popular textbook, Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions:

Often we tend to think of women in comparison to a mythical norm: White, middle-class, heterosexual, abled, thin, and a young adult, which is normalized or taken for granted such that we often forget that Whites are racialized and men are gendered. Asking the question “Different from what?” reveals how difference gets constructed against what people think of as “normal.” “Normality” tends to reflect the identities of those in power.
It is important to recognize that the meanings associated with differences are socially constructed. These social constructions would not be problematic were they not created against the notion of the mythical norm. Being a lesbian would not be a “difference” that invoked cultural resistance if it were not for compulsory heterosexuality, the notion that everyone should be heterosexual and have relationships with the opposite sex.

It’s rather disconcerting to be told that my wife and daughters are “mythical” and that the existence of white middle-class women is inherently “problematic” because of “social construction.” (Yes, I know this is a misreading of the text, but try to imagine a mentally ill 19-year-old college girl trying to make sense of that stuff, OK?) This particular textbook is edited by two professors at Oregon State University and costs $99 on Amazon, where it is currently ranked #6 among bestselling Gender Studies textbooks. It is commonly assigned as a required text in introductory level university classes, e.g., “Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies,” at the University of Pittsburgh, and “Introduction to Women’s Studies” at the University of Maryland.

 

The excerpt of Women’s Voices, Feminist Vision quoted above is from Chapter 2, “Systems of Privilege and Inequality in Women’s Lives” (p, 59) which begins by telling students that one of the universal conditions that all women share is “being victims of male violence.” Furthermore, Professors Shaw and Lee assure students, women are victimized by “cultural expectations” imposed by “power in society” and, after learning “how privilege and discrimination operate,” students will encounter “suggestions for change in both personal and social lives.”

What young women are being taught on university campuses, basically, is that it is wrong to be white, middle-class, heterosexual, etc., because to be such a person is to be guilty of unjust “privilege.” The very idea of being normal is “mythical,” “socially constructed” and “problematic.”

Do parents know what their children are being taught? Are taxpayers aware that universities are teaching young people an ideology that condemns civilization, per se, as “Systems of Privilege and Inequality”?

It should be obvious, after all, that there can be no civilization without laws, customs and social norms reflecting a hierarchy of values. Historically, attempts to remake society according to egalitarian ideology have had catastrophic results — the Reign of Terror in France, Stalinism in the Soviet Union, the Cultural Revolution in China, the “Killing Fields” in Cambodia — on and on, down to the present-day mess in Venezuela.

By attacking “mythical” norms as tools of an oppressive system of “privilege,” the authors of Women’s Voices, Feminist Vision are indoctrinating students with a destructive radical ideology.

Does anyone believe that the mental health of a 19-year-old will be improved by such indoctrination? Do you think these lessons will do anything to help students succeed in the 21st-century workplace? Or do you suppose that the main goal of university Women’s Studies programs is to train women as political activists for the Democrat Party?

 

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