“If you think putting ‘women’ in the course syllabus is going to change anything, you’re wrong”
I asked my tutor to put more female authors in our course syllabus and this was one of his many answers. I will never forget the hate in his voice when he said the word ‘women’. If I think reading women will change anything, I’m stupid. If I think women have a place in our knowledge production, I’m wrong.
We only ever read men. At a masters level, in a subject where female authors are actually part of the canon, my quest was not controversial. I do not wish to form my academic thinking exclusively on what male authors have written. I was told that this wish is ‘identity politics’. That I am constructing the category of ‘woman’. That I don’t get it. And so on.
It is funny how in his classroom the word ‘woman’ could be used with no hesitation when referring to (hetero)sexual acts, such as a man sucking the nipples of a woman (a scene he would always come back to). But when I wanted to use the category ‘woman’ to bring in other authors than male ones, I was being old fashioned. Not ‘critical enough’.
To be critical = to be a pervert.