A self-described radical feminist
theologian entirely too self-involved in her own rhetoric to realize that she's a sexist. Or, perhaps she knows she's a sexist, but it's
been forced upon her by the oppressive male-dominated society that has existed on this planet for over 5,000 years. She refused to allow men into her classes, denied the student press access to her lectures, and her frequent absences have prompted one school paper (The Observer
) to offer a position on staff to anyone who can produce an on-campus photograph of her. At any rate, her retirement
was accepted by Boston College
in 1999, but not without controversy
She used to teach as an Associate Professor at Boston College, teaching Introduction To Feminism, Feminist Ethics II and Myths And Patterns Of Patriarchy. Male students had often complained about the apparent double standard of male exclusion from her classes. It was Daly's refusal to allow men in her classes that caused all of the controversy.
Daly believes that the presence of men is a distraction when discussing women's issues and that women defer to a man when one is present. Men have talked enough, she feels, and there is nothing more that women can learn from them. The last male to try to enroll in one of her classes was told "Your kind isn't welcome here." This doesn't help much to break down the stereotype of feminists as being angry man-hating militants. Excluding men in discussions of feminism only alienates them more from something they don't understand and have little perspective about. But Daly doesn't care.
Until a student filed a lawsuit against the school for Title IX discrimination, though, Daly was allowed to continue her one-gendered teaching. After the lawsuit was filed, Boston College asked her to comply with the law. She fired back in a letter explaining that the law was passed by a patriarchal society (which one could argue is true, but it's Title IX, for Christ's sake), and that she would either resign or retire before allowing male students in her classes. Boston College accepted her retirement, at which point she sued for unlawful dismissal. Boston College won the first round of the trial, as a Massachusetts judge (who was female, by the way) sided with Boston College. Daly stands firm in her belief.
Listen to this quote: "Even if there were only one or two men with 20 women, the young women would be constantly on an overt or a subliminal level giving their attention to the men because they've been socialized to nurse men." She still feels that educated women at an institute of higher learning will act subserviant in the presence of men. Maybe in the fifties, but now? I guess when you've been preaching the same rhetoric for thirty years, stubbornly refusing to even look at the other side of things, you miss the changes that go on in the world around you. Some other Dalyisms:
- She claims that bees, spiders, and plants send her messages all the time (but no invisible penguins)
- Allegedly invokes the spirits of Sappho, Sojourner Truth, and Virginia Woolf before lecturing
- Firmly believes that men are environmental polluters and murderers of trees (Perhaps the bees told her that?)
- Refers to the Immaculate Conception as "the ultimate depiction of (pre-natal) woman-battering, a mythic model of incestuous assault."
Um, okay. While I feel that it's important for a university to have as many conflicting viewpoints as possible, and from all accounts she was an inspired lecturer and great teacher, as a graduate of Boston College I can't say I'm upset to see her go, if only because she stubbornly refused to allow men in her classes. While I myself would have trouble sitting in one of her classes without laughing hysterically in her face, I think that a lot of men could contribute to the class and take from it something worthwhile, and excluding 50% of the population because of something they have no control over is ridiculous.