Chicks on the Right, women working to take back feminism from the pro-choice crowd, discovered yet another way for parents and students to flush the cost of three college credits down the drain. Last spring, it was Rutgers University’s “Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé.” This coming spring, it’s UT Austin’s “Beyonce Feminism, Rihanna Womanism.”
By comparison, this class has a very eye-catching title. Whether or not you are a Beyoncé Bey or part of the Rihanna Navy, it will cause you to do a double take while scrolling through electives. The one downside, students may not realize the type of academic inquiry or material that will be covered in the course.
Students in this class will learn that there is far more than catchy melodies to Beyoncé’s and Rihanna’s music. They will not be simply listening to Beyoncé and Rihanna for fun or even comparing the roles of Beyoncé and Rihanna in popular culture, rather, students will be studying how the lyrics, music videos, and actions of these women express various aspects of black feminism such as violence, economic opportunity, sexuality, standards of beauty, and creative self-expression. The instructor hopes for students to understand the role black feminism plays in popular culture as well as everyday life.
For any student interested in women’s and gender studies or how popular culture reflects social studies, this is a class that will make them fall crazy in love.
As a former critical studies major, let me explain to you exactly what that pseudo-academic marketing jargon really means. Students will be required to buy anywhere from 1 – 3 textbooks on feminist, postcolonialist and Marxist critical theory. They won’t understand a word of what is written, so the professor will be on hand to apply all of these theories to the music of Beyonce and Rihanna.
For example: Feminist theory will define the music of Beyonce and Rhianna as a “gynotext” that needs to be studied for its symbolic and semiotic meanings, and conscious and unconscious statements about “social castration” and femininity as a social “construct.” What that boils down to is listening to Beyonce’s Haunted and concluding that race and gender are “constructed” by white colonialists to “socially castrate” women, blacks, and gays. Go ahead, step into that class. I guarantee that’s on the syllabus.
The course falls under UT Austin’s African and African Diaspora Studies Department, which houses undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. While there are several course tracks to choose from, the one titled “Capitalism, White Supremacy, and Black Resistance” does little to hide the Marxist intent of at least certain members of the faculty. Don’t bother being shocked. All fields stemming from critical studies are guaranteed to be influenced by the Marxist agenda, which is probably why Chicks on the Right concluded:
Note to self: add this to the ever-growing list of reasons to encourage children to seek out a trade/skilled profession versus a college degree.
Given that most critical studies majors go on to either become educators or bureaucrats, you might want to think twice before sending your kid off to Vo-Tech. Changing the culture means getting non-Marxist thinkers into the system. Your kid’s best bet: Double major and have something more practical than theory to fall back on.