Stephanie Oliveira 1
Chapter 1: pages 19-21, 24-28
Claiming an Education
2 parts: some thoughts about you, the women studies here, and some
thoughts about us who teach in a women’s college.
As a student, you cannot afford to think for yourselves as being here to
receive and education; you will so much better to think of yourselves as being
here to claim one. You shouldn’t expect to have an education handed to you,
but rather, you should work for it.
The teacher should respect the intellect and potential of students. The
students should take responsibility of their own education.
To claim: take as the rightful owner; to assert in the face of possible
To receive: to come in possession of; to act as receptacle or container for; to
accept as authoritative or true.
The difference: between acting and being acted-upon, and for women it can
literally mean the difference between life and death.
One of the weaknesses of university learning has been its almost total
erasure of women’s experience and thought from the curriculum, and its
exclusion of women as members of the academic community.
Douglass College is a women’s college in a university administered
overwhelmingly by men.
Most significant part: is how men have perceived and organized their
experience, their history, their ideas, of social relationships, good and evil,
sickness and health.
It has only been within the last hundreds of years that higher education has
been opened up to women at all.
There are many books that describe “human” reality that doesn’t include
Less than a decade ago, women students and teachers began to demand and
set up women’s studies courses and now, women studies are still growing.
There is more essential experience that that you owe yourselves, but which
finally depends on you, in all your interaction with the world. This is the
experience of taking responsibilities toward yourselves.
Responsibility toward yourself- refusing to let other do your thinking,
talking and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own
brains and instincts. It means that you don’t treat your body as a commodity
with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security. It means
resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe,
and have low professional expectations.
Women are finding the courage to do this more and more, and we are finding
the courage both in our study of women and in eachother.
As students, you should demand to be taken seriously so that you can ho on
taking yourself seriously.
There is no more exhilarating and intellectually fertile place in the academic
world today than a women’s college-- If both students and teachers in large
enough numbers are trying to fulfill this contract. The contract is really a pledge of mutual seriousness about women, about
language, ideas, methods and values.
Men and Women’s Studies: Premises, Perils, and Promise.
What does women studies have to do with men? It clears an
intellectual space for talking about gender. Women Studies has
made men visible.
What does Kimmel mean by “privilege of Invisibility” ? He cant see
the privileges that are bestowed upon himself, as a middle class, white
male. He says that gender is invisible to men. Race is invisible to white
By making women visible, women’s studies also made me