Feminist Friday: Why Are Women’s Colleges Disappearing?

Only a couple more of these left in the summer run. Best go & chime in while you have the chance 🙂 (Comments are disabled here to encourage discussion on the original post.)

Victim to Charm

In March, all-women’s Sweet Briar College in Virginia announced that it was no longer financially viable and would close its doors in August. The Class of 2015 would be the last to receive a Sweet Briar diploma.

After a long legal battle, Sweet Briar will remain open, and some arrangements have been made to help the school’s finances. But with no incoming freshman class and a high number of transfers away from the school, it’s likely that this is a temporary fix.

sweet briar crestIn the last 50 years, 185 women’s colleges have gone co-ed or closed; more than 20 of those changes have occurred since 2000.

Clearly, women’s colleges are in danger, and the Sweet Briar case has caused many conversations about the pros and cons of single-sex education.

Advantages of women’s colleges include:

  • All leadership roles are held by women. This is important considering the gender disparity in politics and positions of power…

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The Beginning of an End.

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Panel from Sandman #39, "The Soft Places." It's the Latin I'm calling your attention to here.

Panel from Sandman #39, “The Soft Places.” It’s the Latin and the translation I’m calling your attention to here.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with politics. On the one hand, societies are like texts. No matter how good they are, they can always be better, and politics are the way you revise a society. On the other hand, politics are about power. People absolutely destroy one another — often in unethical and illegal ways (and sometimes LITERALLY, in the literal sense of the word) — over power. There’s no separating these aspects of politics from one another. They are two sides of the same coin.

So, what’s a kind-hearted person who has never once been in a fight and has a hard time even contemplating the ugliness of power, but who is uber-committed to the improvement of the society he lives in, to do?

Haha. Engage in politics, apparently. As much as politics leave a bad taste in my mouth, compel me to struggle against the regional culture that birthed me, and create interpersonal problems with people I love, I can’t stop. And honestly, the fact that people I know and love disagree with my views — even to the point that they do such stupid things on my Facebook timeline I have to block them — is not my problem. It’s theirs.

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They are the ones who raised me to be a Southern Man with all the baggage that entails. They are the ones who put “oldest child” responsibilities on me when I was too young to understand what that even meant. They’re the ones who taught me to not be racist or sexist (and they did a very good job of that), despite the fact that they never quite divorced themselves from the racism and sexism of the mid-20th Century.

The worst thing you can be, if you’re a (White) Southerner, is a hypocrite. If you can’t practice what you preach down here, best to just not preach it. Hypocrisy is worse than murder. Yet, (White) Southern Culture has elevated hypocrisy to an art form.

Other peoples’ racism and sexism are not my problem, except insofar as they influence public policy and public behavior. I’m done walking on eggshells around people who are offensive and don’t realize it. Also done thinking I am responsible for the behavior of people who were fully-formed adults before I was even born. Behavioral responsibility runs entirely in the other direction. They raised me. I didn’t raise them. I’m sure they believe they’ve reared a monster. And I don’t care. I enjoy being a monster.

I have objections to the way American society in general, and Southern society in particular, are working right now.

It’s the second decade of the goddamned 21st Century and I still have to write about sexism, racism, and class? On BLOGS??? What what what????? I’m offended by that, but it’s my problem, no one else’s. I’m the one who has to deal with the things that offend me here in these great United States. No one is going to deal with it for me.

Meme discovered at Eco-Style Life Beau Monde

Meme discovered at Eco-Style Life Beau Monde

I’ve spent most of my life honing my communication skills, developing a deep understanding of the pathologies of Southern culture, and figuring out why some groups persist socially while others die. I’ll be 50 before I know it. If I quit now I will die an unhappy man and I will be damned, in the Christian sense of that word.

I don’t want to go to Hell, people. I’m not a conventional Christian. I don’t go to church and I don’t read my Bible (though I can quote it front and back if need be) and I do my best to not pray. But I know what my Maker expects of me. It expects me to do my very best for people who are more disadvantaged than me on account of the corruption that’s run amok in my society since before I was born. That, and take care of my dependents. All the Universe expects of flawed, tiny Gene’O.

It seems like a little. But it’s a lot. Just that much fills my days. Fills nearly all of them. So I’m gonna figure out how to talk about this stuff on the internet for as long as I can find people to give me stages on which to perform. And that starts here, on this dying blog.

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If you weren’t aware, this blog has been dying a slow death for months now. It’s been important to mine and Diana’s project, and the time I put into both this blog and my former blog were well-spent. Me blogging here made us a lot of friends during the first year. Lately, not so much. A post here gets me less attention than a Facebook note posted for a restricted audience, and I’m weak on Facebook. So I’m not maintaining Just Gene’O much longer, but I am not done quite yet.

This blog, since I redesigned it last August, has had three purposes

1. We archive things here we need easy access to but which don’t fit on our other blogs, and I can do things here we can’t do on other blogs, like tell you we’re having a Feminist Friday discussion at Victim to Charm this week.

2. This is where you get to know me personally — that, along with supporting Diana’s premiere project — are what the #WeekendCoffeeShare posts have been about up to this point.

3. On occasion, I’ve used this blog to turn bloggers on to social opportunities like #SundayBlogShare and the Blog Blitz (which is going on today, btw).

And that’s it. That’s all it’s good for, and traffic here is tanking. Diana and I are in the process of re-distributing the archival pages. Sourcerer gets the pop culture, Part Time Monster gets the feminism.

Hello, gloves. Enjoy being on my hands for the next little while. I will be removing you shortly.

Hello, gloves. Enjoy your relationship with my fists for now. You will be coming off soon. And I promise, gloves. It’s not you. This all about me.

The rest gets folded into Sourcerer, or else I just let it go until I am able to re-think what I want out of the internet and rebuild my personal presence. This transition will take a few weeks, but once it’s done the landscape in our corner of the blogosphere will be irrevocably changed.

  1. The current archival pages will be elsewhere and the ones here won’t be updated any more.
  2. If you want to get to know me personally, you’ll need to know me on Facebook (which is relatively easy to pull off), or else you’ll need to hang around Sourcerer on the weekends and comment on the threads over there.
  3. You’ll need to find social opportunities on your own for the short term, until I decide whether to fold those into Sourcerer or create a new webspace for Gene’O.

The purpose of this blog from here on out is to establish that I can write well about politics, until such time as I start to place political posts on blogs larger than I can build myself.

If you don’t like my politics (and I’ve given you adequate information over the past couple of years for you to decide how you feel about my politics), it’s time for you to hit the exit.

This is not the end, but everything I do on this blog from here on out is a coda.

I’m shutting this blog down and leaving the archives intact so as not to kill any links to other people’s blogs. Eventually, I will put up a static page and be done.

I’ve made up my mind. This will proceed, and it will be complete by October at the latest.

In the meantime, if you DO like my politics, or if you’ve been following me since day one and you understand that whatever else I am doing, I am telling a pretty awesome story in which several other bloggers are characters . . . Stick around.

I’m opening a new front in my quest to take over the Internet as of now. The foundational posts will be published here, because I don’t have anyplace else to publish them.

Every end is a beginning. It’s a stupid cliche, but it works for this.

Play your ukulele, whatever else you do. Because life is too short to not.

Even if your grades are bad, it doesn’t mean you’re failing.

(How am I doing here, Gretchen?)

Weekend Coffee Share: In Which I Finally have a Good Week

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m feeling more myself this weekend than I have in a couple of months. Things have mostly settled down in the family sphere, even though we STILL haven’t got all the boxes unpacked. I’ve almost got a huge work project off my plate. Fall is coming, but it isn’t here yet and I have a week or two before I really have to start gearing up. Life is good.

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And I’d tell you I am pondering where to go with my blogging from here. A certain amount of my blogwriting has to be pop-culture related because my blog Sourcerer is all pop culture, all the time. But I have other interests, and things I’d like to write about that don’t fit there.  And some those other interests are political.

I could publish political things here, but I’m not sure it really fits here, either. Not sure how well it would be received, and really, this blog has been so all over the map over the last couple of years, I’m not sure about shifting the focus *yet* again.

I’m also questioning the wisdom of having two blogs on WordPress.com. WordPress is working well for Sourcerer, but here’s the thing. Because I built a blog specifically for contributors and separated the personal one, I have limits to work within here.

I’m not able to generate slow and steady audience growth by posting frequently here. Once a week, and the occasional piece that I either hammer out quickly or take a couple of weeks to finish, is about all I can manage.

I’ve got no search traffic, because I’ve never been good at writing for searches, and this blog in particular, up to this point, hasn’t let itself very well to content that people are actually using Google to find.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

What this means, in practical terms, is that I get readers from two places: From the #WeekendCoffeeShare linkup, and from sharing things I post here with friends. The potential audience for any given post here is only 25-50. I’ve had much better days than that, but never consistently, and not since I cut back to once-a-week posting.

This blog is hampered by the fact that every like I give and every comment I leave leads people to Sourcerer. That’s by design, because growing that blog is my top priority. But the ability to leave easy links when you interact on other blogs is one of the biggest benefits of blogging on WordPress. And using two separate accounts doesn’t work for me, because then I have to constantly be checking both accounts for notifications.

So, in short, I’m questioning the wisdom of having two blogs on WordPress, and I’m thinking about opportunity cost. I can generate 25 to 50 page views every Saturday no matter where I do the posting I’m doing on Just Gene’O, and a blog on another network, or just on the Internet as a whole, might mean the potential to find readers who would never otherwise find us here.

I’m thinking about standing up either a self-hosted site or a blogger blog in the late fall when the back-to-school madness settles down. Not bringing the complete archives with me. Just the stuff I need to keep my projects going.

But I’m only thinking about it at this point, and in the meantime, I’m wanting, very badly, to write about the problems of the U.S. penal system, various forms of privilege, and some other social/activist issues. So you may see an uptick in politically-oriented posts from me here.

Happy weekend! Don’t forget to add your coffee post to the linkup at Part Time Monster and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.