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Feminist Chickens Coming Home to Roost on Supreme Court

Sonia Sotomayor is like that annoying professor you thought you had gotten away from — but now she's back in your life.

by
Mary Grabar

Bio

June 2, 2009 - 12:35 am

Okay, all you people out there in the real world, you’ve been writing off the whackos in the academy, grinding your teeth through that freshman composition class where you had to write an essay about gender, nodding along as the teacher explained why yellow wallpaper would bother some lady, reading those dreadfully dull essays about “caring” and “empathy” and “feminist theories of justice,” and writing down “phallologocentrism” dutifully and regurgitating it back in a research paper that you were told to write in “a different voice.” Now you are just happy to have escaped the insane asylum called college to finally get into the real world where you design, build, or sell things and count your bottom line at the end of the month.

Whew! You wiped your brow on that day you went to get the sheepskin. The only time you think about those days and maybe mention the crazy teacher is when you share a beer with an old fraternity brother. Then you go on to more important things like stock tips or how your alma mater’s team is doing this season as you grill the shish kebabs in your backyard.

Well, as more than one infamous professor has said, “The chickens are coming home to roost!”

Yes, you are going to get that whacko feminist Latina professor who’d walk her motherly bulk right up to your desk and tell the class how oppression makes one more sympathetic. About “women’s ways of knowing.” About the evils of linear thought (whatever the hell that meant). She’d mix it up with statistics about women’s biological superiority and the “struggle” of her “people.” It made your head hurt. It made you glad you were wearing a baseball cap when she started going on and on about “womb logic” versus “phallic logic.”

And you didn’t want to listen to me when I cornered you at a party and told you about the nonsense I had to go through just to get my Ph.D. I saw you nodding at me in that polite but dismissive way as I prophesized about the end of Western civilization, all due to our educational system. I even named you the four horsepersons: Gilligan, Butler, hooks, and Foucault. I tried to be a witness, but you just said that you needed to take something out of your eye. (But no ash was falling from the sky, yet.) You thought that outside of a few eccentrics in English and sociology, most teachers wore tweed and taught novels with plots, the value of logic, and that 2 + 2 = 4.

I don’t want to say it, but I told you so!

What did you expect from a metrosexual president who used to teach critical race theory law? President Obama said he wanted to appoint a Supreme Court justice who combines “empathy and understanding” with legal credentials. Didn’t he say, “I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives”? Didn’t he say “empathy” enough in his speeches to be able to write a master’s thesis on feminist ethics?

“Daily realities.” Yup, that’s what that sociology prof was talking about as she went on and on about how women make so much less for comparable work, how the maître d’ will always seat two women by the kitchen, how statistics show that on the average while husbands, wives …

But no-o-o. You had more important things to think about.

Okay, so now what, Mr. White Guy? Did you have your car dealership closed? Were you fired from your bank? Were you told that you would have a shot at one of the government-funded construction jobs only after every artificially nailed welfare mother was given a chance to demonstrate her abilities?

Ah, but you thought business was business and that the law was the law.

Weren’t you listening to me when I explained to you on that New Year’s Eve what “phallologocentrism” means? Weren’t you paying attention to the definition? It means that all logic emanates from the phallus. And the phallus is bad.

See, Bub, we’ve got a postmodernist professor for president now. And that means there are no such things as facts. Logic is bad. Emotion rules because it is feminine. Got it?

Well, hell, don’t blame me. I had no power in the “sisterhood.” In the one year I was contracted to work as an assistant professor it was the older Shakespeare guy (wearing tweed) who said nothing while the department chair and her gaggle of loud, empowered colleagues talked strategy for eliminating all traces of the “patriarchy” within the curriculum and department.

So now you’re going to get empathy and caring whether you like it or not!

Yeah, buddy, you’re going to get some humanitarianism dished out to you from the bench of the Supreme Court. And it’s going to come from that lady who looks and acts like that professor you hated even despite her maternal physique and motherly smile. But you hated it when she called you up after class and asked you about your “hostility” and “feelings.” You hated it when she said she wanted to “help” you. But you knew she would not give you above a C unless you said what she wanted you to say on your papers. Now it’s like a bad dream you can’t leave. Even though you don’t have to write any more papers, she is still there. You can’t escape it. Even if you wanted to get out of that academic world altogether and do something drastically different — like be a fire captain.

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at www.dissidentprof.com. Her writing can be found at www.marygrabar.com. Subscribe to dispatches here.
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