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May 2 2017

Wesleyan Feminist Demands That Male Students Shut Up During Classroom Discussions

by Charlotte Allen

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether it's real or it's the Onion.

Case in point: This op-ed that purports to be published in the Argus, the student newspaper at elite Wesleyan University in Connecticut (the author says she's a Wesleyan freshman and Argus reporter named Tara Joy, but there's a strong chance that she's actually an Onion staff writer using a pseudonym she picked at random off the Argus masthead):

Gradually though, I began to notice something about my male classmates: they talked constantly. This was particularly obvious in my First Year Seminar, a small, discussion-based course where it felt like the seven male students—despite making up less than half the class—managed to dominate every single discussion....

As a result of this constant, subtle discrimination, women tend to be much more cautious about voicing their opinions. They are far more likely to phrase their comments as questions or to use excessive qualifiers (“I think,” “perhaps,” “it seems possible”). They are perceived as less confident and thus less knowledgeable, and their contributions to the class are further devalued, leading to increased cautiousness in a terrible and endless cycle....
This phenomenon is hardly limited to the classroom. Men dominate casual conversations, professional meetings, every possible genre of journalism, and even Twitter. Because men are constantly being told that their opinions are worth hearing, they are confident enough to constantly express their opinions....
So Joy--or perhaps "Joy"--offers a solution:

And men?

You guys need to take a step back.

Argus or Onion? You, dear readers, be the judge.

But just in case this is a genuine Argus op-ed, I've got a suggestion on a better way to get female students into classroom discussions than hectoring the male students to shut up. Here goes my advice to Wesleyan women who want to speak out in class:

1. Raise your hand.

2. When the professor calls on you, say something.

See? It's easy.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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