A while back I had the pleasure(?) of being able to attend a speech by Mary Daly, a professor at Boston University, where she taught such courses as "Introduction to Feminism," "Feminist Ethics II," and "Myths And Patterns of Patriarchy." Being of the belief that men would be a distraction within the classroom since women would end up deferring their ideas to men, she disallowed men within the classroom and only allowed them private instruction, but none took her up on the offer. Not too long ago, a male did wish to join one of her classes, and she refused. The student persisted and complained to the administration, citing Title IX. Eventually, she had to make a choice, allow the student, retire, or be terminated. She chose to retire (or did she?)
Nonetheless, this garnered her a name for herself within the feminist community. She is duly credited with being the founder and forerunner of the radical feminist movement. Many people, especially men, believe this to mean that she believes men to be "evil." However (and interestingly), not once during her speech did she say that men are evil, but she did say (and I paraphrase) that the patriarchal culture that we have been handed is evil. She continued on about how it repressed women from all over the world, created racism, flawed religions whose purposes were to repress women, is destroying the environment, placed Bush in the presidency (this is one part of the speech I agreed with her on), etc. She noted that not all of this was done by just men either, but also "men in women's bodies," which could be interpreted as women who took men's jobs, but did nothing different than what a man would do. She expressed strongly how this is not how women should become.
I was annoyed at how, for much of her speech, she dwelled on spirituality. She persistently spoke on how everything (perhaps including men, but read on), especially women and nature, have this "interconnectedness." Hatred, wars, destruction of the environment, etc. (all products of the evil patriarchy) are destroying this interconnectedness since they destroy life.
I was not crazy enough, as a male, to go to it alone, but rather got one of my good female friends to join me. She was bothered that Mary Daly never, during her speech, said that men can also have this interconnectedness. She could not reconcile the possibility that men would not have this interconnectedness and had to ask. Mary had this very heavy bag with her, and being the elderly lady she was, my friend offered to help carry it, hoping that that would allow her a chance to question. When my friend asked about the interconnectedness and men, Mary seemed upset by it, and kept repeating what she had said during her speech. "Everything has interconnectedness. I have interconnectedness. My cat has interconnectedness. Nature has interconnectedness. How can this not be understandable?!" I did not hear the entire conversation, but my friend said that Mary eventually, in a round-about way, that yes, men do have interconnectedness. It was interesting that my female friend had more to argue with Mary than I.
Mary, as I said, is an elderly women (somewhere in her seventies) and it was clear that her health was failing. This was a disappointment since it made her overall speech much worse. She was often very difficult to understand, and at the beginning of the speech, she had a little bit of a cough (she had a bottle of Robutussin with her and drank out of it to alleviate the cough.) I was hoping for something with more energy, but I would have had an easier time finding a pot of gold and the end of a rainbow. After the speech, as she was trying to step down from the stage (it's not that high, and so does not have steps, but was still a little steep) she refused help on getting down and nearly fell. I was close enough, had she found herself in process of falling, to have helped her, but she, clumsily, recovered.