Friday, June 09, 2006

The so-called “Hildabeast” will no longer automatically be a female specimen.

St. Hilda’s, until now Oxford’s only remaining women-only college, has voted to admit men students. Several news reports claim that this will begin allowing male tutors and lecturers into the system as well, but I clearly remember having a male philosophy prof. called Philip who tutored at St. Hilda’s so I don’t know what that’s about--perhaps he was off the books in some way.

Anyway, he relayed this one eccentric discussion about power and knowledge that came out of an undergrad session at St. Hilda’s where a Hildabeast posited that sometimes it’s necessary to fake a lack of knowledge to get ahead. The example issued was: girl pretends that she doesn’t know how to play pool so the bloke she’s picked can put his arms around her on the pretext of teaching her. (Mmmmm, the merits of an Oxonian education…) You’re probably giving the idea an eye roll, but the ensuing debate on who holds the actual power--the faker or the duped--has genuine merits; try it and see.

It makes sense that the majority of students at St. Hilda’s voted against allowing men, after all there’s plenty of evidence that young women are paid more academic attention when there aren’t any rowdy boys around but if you had told me or my friends who were stuck in all-girls catholic schools including during our most boy-crazy years, we would *NOT* have believed you : ).

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