Friday, December 7, 2007

Becoming Radical

From Beyond Multiple Choice

Sadly, women's studies classes too often convey this same point of view, thinly disguised. Whether it's the queer-theory, gender-performativity folks bringing on the revolution via drag parties; or the third-wave crowd confessing that they like nail polish and missionary-position sex and what of it (what, indeed?); or the "sex-positive," whips-and-leather crew selling dominance as hot and radical. . . well, sometimes I just don't recognize this movement as what I signed on for, even as recently as the late 80's. (I can't imagine what the second-wavers must be thinking.) I guess it's a lot easier to display your rebellious spirit when you're not being asked to think about (let alone do) anything particularly demanding. It's probably even easier when you can believe that whatever you're already doing is itself positively revolutionary—or, more chillingly, that doing to others as you've been done to is really what liberation is all about.

My students, for the most part, aren't buying it. They are hungry for distinctions of value, for something besides "anything goes." They sense that their culture is seriously deranged at some pretty deep levels, and they want some way to understand and navigate the (mostly crappy) choices that this culture offers them.

Also hear her speak (it's long):

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