The State of Women's Studies, 1973, page 4
W omen’s Studies Continued from page 36 The program must be able to pass this knowledge on to the students. Programs such as the one begun at Sarah Lawrence College by his- torian Gerda Lerner serve as an example of how an intelligent and thoughtful program in women’s history is producing enthusiasm, scholarship, and meaningful fe- minist consciousness. If Women’s Studies programs fail to attain these goals they have failed their students. At Rich- mond, moreover, the failure has been revealed in a developing anti-intellectualism whose sup- . porters oppose disciplined schol- arship. The emphasis upon purely non-academic pursuits produces a dilettantism which may produce a raised consciousness, and an awareness of female culture, but a program in which a female student can graduate without the slightest idea of how to write a paper, construct a logical ar- gument, or read a book critically —not to mention understanding of uuw wumens position 15 main- tained through institutional struc- tures such as the family and knowledge of women’s role in the work force. If it is not intellec- tually rigorous, Women's Studies will continue to fail. I know some will construe this article as an attack on Women’s Studies, or as an attack on the gay community. I do not mean it to be either. I have seen fantastic : things happen to women who dis- cover their own history and iden- tity. I have seen women become aware of themselves and reclaim their lives. Being part of such a program has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. It is precisely because Women‘s Studies programs are so impor- tant and can be of such great val- ue that these issues must be publicly aired. Conflicts within Women’s Studies have already functioned to destroy existing pro- grams that could have been of meaning to a varied group of women. Unless we move seriously to build a sound and intellectually rigorous program of Women’s Studies, open to all women, we will only be working against the development of a mature feminist consciousness among women.