The critical gendered lens
When freshmen sign up for a college-level humanities course oriented toward feminism, women’s or gender studies, they are urged to examine relationships between heterosexual and homosexual individuals through a “critical gendered lens.”[i] These classes, typically filled with women, LGBTQ individuals and a few heterosexual men, are predicated on an examination of gender identification and how identity intersects within other social collectives of power and privilege.
From the outset, attendees are immersed in discussions about the dark side of gendered violence, which is defined as intimidation; emotional, verbal and physical abuse; sexual assault; rape; and the murder of women. Approved textbooks “confirm” the pervasiveness of this far-reaching problem, characterizing it as fact. Gender and Communications maintains, for example, that up to 70% of women will suffer from “systematic gendered violence. [ii][iii]
Faced with this manipulative barrage, it isn’t long before the critical gendered lens of those taking the course is pointed in the desired direction: Women and queer people are socially marginalized and victims of white male power and violence.
To understand how this perspective is reinforced, it is helpful to visualize the mind’s eye peering through a telescope, like those used by NASA scientists, to examine the vast universe of human interactions. When feminist intellectuals developed the notion of a filtered perspective, they determined that a socially marginalized lens was the preferred option, rather than, say, one defined by the most powerful women in history, the prominent lesbian and gay men of history, or women who broke gender barriers in professional sports.
Once the critical gendered lens is in place, students are urged to think about their own experiences of being bullied, whether for being different, small or female. They are also encouraged to recall moments when they might have been abused, molested, scolded and disciplined by men. Over time, the association between their personal experiences and gendered inequality becomes ingrained, and many can’t help but feel that systematic oppression is real, leaving some with anarchic leanings.
Instilling Hate for Men
Over time, various subjects, including heteropatriarchy−oppressive male heterosexual dominance−the pay gap, white male privilege, neoliberal capitalism, rape culture, and toxic masculinity, are presented to the class. Although the discussions generally include a range of perspectives, the primary focus is on female and LBGTQ oppression. Not surprisingly, the plight of those who have been “disadvantaged” tugs at the students’ heartstrings, reinforcing the manipulated biases of their young minds. It also spurs a desire among many of them to seek social justice through disorder and activism.
Social Justice Warriors
After 4 to 8 years of immersion in oppression, leaves students uneducated on a real society. Most students cannot get a reasonable job. This appears to be abuse.