Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Political Convictions of the New Generation

I am administering an oral exam to my students right now. Among other things, they have to deliver a narrative about their political convictions. After listening to a few of them, I discovered to my great dismay that the only political issue on their minds is their opposition to abortion.

The most upsetting thing about this is that all of these students are women. It is also very frustrating that in the midst of such a severe economic crisis that is going to hit them hard when they graduate they consider abortion the only political issue of any interest.

These women are still so young, yet the desire to police other women's reproductive organs seem to be their only quasi-political concern. I'm waiting for my male students to come in for their exam and hoping that they will show a greater political consciousness.

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Anonymous said...

Hello from david in iowa. I am a feminist and I ardently support legal-safe-fundedv abortions.

As for the women in your class, give them time, because as Ellen Goodman said several years ago, there are 3 exceptions for abortions, rape, incest and me.
At some point in their lives many of those women will find themselves in the role of "me".

Clarissa said...

I'm very glad to have you here, David. Thank you for a great quote!

Marilyn said...

I think some of this depends on which part of the country you're in. I don't think you'd get the same result in an urban Chicago school.

I think girls who answered your survey are 1) influenced by the latest news, which has been about the Stupak amendment and 2) the social construct that says girls will be valued for being "good," especially in a school setting. "Slutty" girls have never been popular, so it would stand to reason that "good" girls would condemn them and be models of future mother love and lovers of cuddly babies. They also all think they're too smart to get pregnant and need an abortion. As David from Iowa said, give it time.

Ask them if they are pro-life and then ask them what they think about the huge fight over $90 billion a year for a public option in health care versus the $680 billion just signed over to the military for FY2010, some of which will result in certain death for U.S. soldiers and foreign civilians.

NancyP said...

You are in the Bible Belt now.

Clarissa said...

I am reluctant to blame all this on the geographical area, Marilyn and NancyP. I do not remember things being that much different among my students at Yale or Cornell. I wrote several times about how much my New England students shocked me with their profoundly patriarchal worldview. So, in my view, there is something much bigger at work here.

Marilyn said...

Girls whose parents can afford to send them to Yale and Cornell already probably come from conservative stock. New England is not what I'd call a bastion of liberalism either. Regional differences do exist, but socioeconomic factors play a huge role as well.

Clarissa said...

Where is that bastion of liberalism then? because I'd love to find it already. :-)