Tom Martin was studying for an Msc in Gender, Media and Culture. He’s quoted in the Evening Standard as saying that:
"The core texts we had to read before each class were typically packed with anti-male discrimination and bias - heavily focusing on, exaggerating, and falsifying women's issues perspectives, whilst blaming men, to justify ignoring men's issues. There was no warning of this sexist agenda in the prospectus."
Does this seem a little... odd to anyone else?
Other oddities include the complete lack of any examples cited anywhere, and the fact he is suing for £50,000. Even Martin’s own website, set up to fund the case, is vague on the specifics.(I’m not going to link to it, use google if you’re here by accident and gripped by a desire to give him money)
I, along with most of the feminist blogosphere, suspect that Martin was rattled by an encounter with an academic discipline that questions the entrenchment of male privilege across both academia and everyday life. Privilege he has lived with and taken for granted his whole life. And apparently would rather sue than engage with these ideas in an academic context.
While I was lucky enough to go to a university that incorporated gender studies, queer theory and postcolonial theory into most humanities degrees, that’s very much not the norm everywhere, and there is a great deal of bias still in existence across academia, which these fields of study respond to.
To explain this in more detail I am going to quote at length from a Guardian comment piece , which I encourage you to read in full. It was written by Dr Jonathon Dean, a lecturer in political theory at the school of politics and international studies at the University of Leeds, and a former researcher at LSE’s Gender Institute:
“Let's get a few things straight. The dominant ideas, approaches and insights of the vast
majority of academic disciplines are produced by, for and about men. This does not necessarily make them bad ideas, but it does mean that there are entrenched gender biases in most fields. In my own discipline – politics – the key undergraduate texts are overwhelmingly by and about men. And yet this is seen by most as unproblematic, as natural or inevitable.
Gender studies is an attempt to critique this entrenched male bias.
But let's clear up a few further points. Firstly, the perception that gender studies is doctrinal and dogmatic is simply untrue. It is sceptical of traditional distinctions between fields of research, and is more dynamic, innovative and open to new perspectives than established disciplines. And far from sticking to a crude "women good, men bad" line, gender studies programmes
encourage students to acknowledge the diversity of relations between men and women, the
limitations of a victim-centred understanding of womanhood, and the complex ways in which
gender intersects with race, class and sexuality.”
The case hasn’t come to court yet. We’ll keep an eye on it and give you an update when it does.