The other aspect of this anti-feminism I encounter among my students is a disturbing refusal to see any sense of responsibility for and towards other women. Not all anti-feminist young women are selfish. But I have to admit that more than a few of the brighter ones, are alas, going through that depressing stage where they think the Fountainhead is the greatest book ever written, and Ayn Rand has become -- at least temporarily -- their hero. (Thankfully, they usually grow out of it. Lots of young men and women become captivated by the radical self-centeredness of objectivism in their teens and early twenties; most abandon it once they learn what it is to truly love another human being unconditionally.) Young women like this flatter themselves into believing that sexism is just an excuse used by unhappy and unsuccessful women to explain their failures; the Rand devotees insist, with an almost heartbreaking naivete, that in the modern world any young woman can succeed at anything she wants if she tries hard enough, and she can do so by herself. Women's failure to achieve happiness, they defiantly declare, is due to individual shortcomings only, and not to broader social problems.
One thing I know right now: dealing with college freshman and sophomores who are enamored of Atlas Shrugged is something I will have to do again and again over the next forty or fifty years. I expect this to be a monumentally frustrating task, because these are liable to be my 'best' students -- intelligent, literate, hardworking. They'll ask thoughtful, relevant questions and make thoughtful, relevant comments; but then there'll be all the comments that Kant was CLEARLY wrong about the categorical imperative, because, as Ayn Rand shows, blah blah blah. And, of course, as much as I'd like to, I can't just dismiss comments like this offhand. Nor can I just start blatantly arguing with one of my students in the middle of class; the moderator isn't supposed to get involved in the debate!
Maybe I'll just include some Nietzsche in all my Intro to Ethics courses. Start them off with some Genaeology of Morals, which the Randiac should enjoy, and then slip in something to trip them off just when they're gloating.
For a change, I've got some lyrics. But there's a trick: for ten points, name the artist, the song, and the episode of Buffy the song was performed in.
Because nobody knows that's how I nearly fell / Trading clothes and ringing Pavlov's bell / History shows there's not a chance in hell