Flattened by Feminism

Article here. Excerpt:

'“Wouldn’t classes be better if girls always had to speak in class before boys were allowed to participate?” A professor asked me this last term in an attempt to build rapport. The question was rhetorical and my opinion was taken for granted. Surely I, a young woman, wouldn’t disagree.

What bothered me about the question wasn’t so much the fact that I disagreed with its suggestion — though I did. It was that I felt cornered by it. Disagreeing wasn’t an option; my assent was presumed. I could either pretend to agree or be forced to contradict my professor’s assumption.

This wasn’t an isolated incident. People often make comments expressing ideas that they assume all women will agree with. Some are overt — “Don’t you hate men?” or “Don’t you wish boys would just shut up in class?” Others are subtle — “Don’t you wish we had a full year of paid maternity leave?” or “Shouldn’t colleges do more to push women into STEM?” Some people agree with these statements, and others disagree. But as people use them, all of these comments imply an assumption that I — and all women — will agree simply on the basis of gender.

The assumption that I inherently believe in certain ideas because I’m a woman, or that I would prefer to — all else being equal — vote for a woman over a man ignores the fact that I have agency and can think for myself. I admit it: I often agree with the sentiment that these feminist comments express. But when we assume that women think only on the basis of their gender, we do a disservice to feminism by limiting the variety of women’s ideas that are shared. And we limit women by reducing them to a homogenous group.'

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