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February 20, 1989 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-02-20

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MARCH 1989 News Features



MTyths on genders
dispelled for men
in women's studies
By Jay Casini
The Daily Iowan
of Iowa
For an increasing number of male
students at the U. of Iowa (UI), the
Women's Studies program is dispelling
myths and creating greater under-
standing between the genders.
Margery Wolf, chairwoman of the UI
Women's Studies Program, said male
enrollment in the program's courses has
grown steadily over the past few years.
"I think ... that students here are
*ing that diversity is a very important
part of their environment," Wolf said.
During the fall semester of 1987,
male students made up 12.6 percent of
the program's students. The number of
male students jumped to 15 percent in
the spring semester of 1988, and Wolf
said early enrollment figures indicate
the trend will continue this year.
But despite the increase in males par-
Wpating in the program, Wolf said
any negative myths about women's
studies courses persist at the UI.
Dave Oosterhuis, a UI freshman, said
he enrolled in the program's "Lesbian
Lives in the U.S." course because he
registered late, but also because he
wanted a broadening experience.
Oosterhuis said he originally felt an-
xious about the class because he had
*The word feminism
intrigues me in how people
react to it. It's almost like
saying Marxist or
communist, but there is
nothing subversive about
Oard the courses in the Women's De-
partment were structured around
"feminist propaganda."
"I was really afraid of that, and I had
a lot of people tell me I'd be torn apart
every week for being a male," Oos-
terhuis said.
UI junior Darrin Jackson, who is now
working towards a minor in women's
studies, said, "I kind of fell into the prog-
n during my freshman year, and
'ere was that initial anxiety because I
had already heard stories about
women's studies."
But instead of the "man-hating
feminists" he was told to expect, Jack-
son said the people in his first women's
studies course, "Lesbian Lives and Cul-
ture," made him feel at ease. Jackson
credited the course's instructor, Kay
drich, with creating an exceptional
rning situation.
"She was probably the most fair and
understanding instructor I have had in
the program," he said.
"She was grateful that I was ...
trying to understand their perspective."
Since then, Jackson said he has never
experienced a problem with any
women's studies courses, and added
that the program's objectives remain
very clear.
'I've never run across a real bias, .. .
but it is understood that the courses are
for women teaching about themselves,"
See WOMEN, Page 23

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