Three weeks into second semester, sophomore marketing major Eli Atherton is feeling downright giddy over one of his course selections. “Marriage and the Family,” a 2000 level Gender Studies class that delves into the various definitions of “family” throughout history and how those reflect various societal inequities, was described by Atherton to his close friends as “the easiest bullshit.”
“Oh, man, it’s awesome,” gushed Atherton. “It’s a big class, and a bunch of the time she doesn’t even take attendance. All that really matters is the final, so as long as I show up sometimes and spout off some bullshit about women’s role as homemakers, I’m basically walking to that A.”
Atherton’s enthusiasm comes as a surprise to his peers, as they had previously warned him against taking “that chick class.”
“I hate to admit it, but I think E-Trade was bang on about this one,” shrugged fellow sophomore Patrick Heep. “We all told him it wasn’t worth hearing the feminazis shout about equal rights and being listened to and not being referred to with stupid, derogatory catch-all terms, but it seems like he’s got it wired. Congratulations to him. God knows I couldn’t do it.”
Heep then excused himself, saying that some “P-Dub bitch” wasn’t texting back and he needed to get a response so he could figure out which flannel to ignore her in at Newfs’ that night.
Atherton’s enrollment in and enjoyment of the course hasn’t just shocked his compatriots, however. Professor Deidre Barlow says she was puzzled at first by Eli’s presence, but has come to understand him as a student.
“We don’t often get many straight white males in the Gender Studies department,” said Barlow. “Of course, you hope that they’re there to learn something about their overwhelming privilege and maybe become better allies to the marginalized communities in society that face oppression on large and small scales every single day, and not just lost on their way to the Mendoza basement, looking for coffee.”
Barlow says that Atherton falls somewhere in between.
“Eli? Yes, he’s a nice boy, I suppose. I’m not sure he’s getting too much from the course. Doesn’t say much, but then again, every time I look up and see his wispy front part and hunter green vest over a gingham button-down, I’m just glad he’s not defiantly spouting off whatever was on the front page of r/mensrights this morning.”
Atherton, for his part, is already considering future course choices in the various humanities departments he has come to know and exploit.
“First semester, it was all about setting my path, you know? I didn’t even take any electives; I was just trying to make some serious headway in the major. But now that I’m cruising in my real classes, I’m definitely going to check out more of what Gender Studies has to offer my GPA. Maybe even Latino Studies, if it fits my schedule.”
At press time, Atherton was cruising the NOVO Class Search feature, and wondering out loud how the constituent members of Africana Studies course “Power, Privilege and Oppression” felt about “#AllLivesMatter.”
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