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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Whither Feminist Studies?

I was reading this bleak prognostication on the plight of America's youth, what with the never-before-seen  evaporation of career prospects that we're witnessing, and wondered if it is dawning on this country's young people that a college degree in puppetry arts (with a follow-on Masters Degree available for the right price) is going to get them where they want to go.  While the world is clamoring - still - for electricians, plumbers, and engineers, are high school graduates still seeking degrees in adventure recreation and ecoGastronomy, degrees that guarantee the graduates a secure future at the local McDonald's?

Which made me wonder if there is anyone out there foolish enough these days to major in "feminist studies."

So I googled.

Good God.

So many graduates.  So few cash registers to man ... er, woman.

(To prove that not all morons go to school in New York, Virginia Tech, just up the road, offers a major in something called Women's and Gender Studies. "The Women's & Gender Studies program at Virginia Tech presents students new ways of thinking about how race, class, and sexuality shape our society and our experiences in it."  Just what every working professional in this country needs to be thinking about while China is kicking our ass - how our freaking "experiences" are shaped. I hope the feminist babes who come away from VT with that "education" find themselves a rich husband.)

The author who wrote that bleak prognostication cited above advises:
. . . Even more frightening is the young woman who graduated from UC Berkeley, wanting to work in "sustainable conservation." She is now raising chickens at home, dying wool and knitting knick-knacks to sell at craft fairs. Her husband has been studying criminal justice and EMT -- i.e., preparing to work for government in some of California's hitherto most lucrative positions -- but as those work possibilities have dried up, he is hedging with a (sensible) apprenticeship as an electrician. These young people are looking at serious downward mobility, in income as well as status. The prospects of the lower tier New Class semi-professionals are dissolving at an alarming rate. Student loan debt is a large part of its problems, but that's essentially a cost question accompanying a loss of demand for these professionals' services.

The downward mobility is real, however, in both income and status. The Cal graduate started out wanting to do “sustainable conservation.” She is now engaged in something closer to subsistence farming.
A degree in Feminist Studies. That and a dime - in 2011 - will get you ... nothing.

* A question for the really smart folks at Virginia Tech: With regard to that Women's and Gender Studies program, isn't "woman" a "gender"?  Why not just "Gender Studies"?   Or, better yet, why not "stock clerk studies"?  That will at least prepare your students for their guaranteed employment destination.