To clarify, by academy-educated feminist, I don't mean a feminist that has been educated in academia or holds a degree in higher education. I mean feminists who received all or most of their education about feminisms in the academy, whose entire view of feminism has been shaped solely by the power dynamics present in each and every university classroom (yes, even the gender studies courses).
Looking back, my gender studies classes provided very little of what makes up my identity as Feminist today. I left school gung-ho about abortion rights and, while I had some vocabulary to discuss intersectionality, my Feminism was largely limited and, at times, point-blank oppressive.
This isn't uncommon. Look at any syllabus for a survey feminist theory course and you'll find pretty much the same format:
- First Wave Feminism - Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, suffrage, and a white lady's account of Sojourner Truth.
- Second Wave Feminism - Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Roe v. Wade, Title IX.
- The 1980s - Catherine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin and the "feminist sex wars." Poststructuralist feminism, featuring Judith Butler and the obligatory mind blowing of fresh-faced academes.
- Third Wave Feminism - Really just "We're going to spend a month reading Jennifer Baumgardner."
- Literally one or two weeks to "cover" non-mainstream feminisms - Black feminism, transfeminism, sex-positive feminism, cross-continental feminism, etc.
A bunch of gender studies professors relegating "other" feminisms to the back of the syllabus isn't a huge surprise, of course (as I said, university power dynamics). The worst part about this trend is the five minute feelgood spiel they'd always give at the end: "Let's take a moment to reflect on how it's problematic to teach gender studies this way. ... Okay, have a great summer!"
Wait, hold on! Did you just say that everything you've been doing all semester is problematic? Can we talk about that for a moment? Maybe think of solutions?
No, because class is dismissed and everyone is jumping up from their seats to head to their next class.
(Besides, the professor's problematic syllabus probably won't be on the final.)