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  1. Hi. I’m a [male] student attending a Catholic college in MN. I’ve recently signed up for a class called ‘Church, Family, and Society”, which I assumed when I signed up for it would be a class about the role of the family in society and the role of the Church in the family- you know, kind of standard stuff. I figured, moreover, that it would probably not be too much of a sexist class, because although we have separate campuses here for men and women, all our classes are co-ed and both campuses have done quite a bit of feminist activism in the past- we had a speaker from Feministing here last year, we have a big sustained campaign against sexual assault, we organized a delegation to the local Take Back the Night, we’ve had a couple of events about women’s empowerment and body image… so, you know, I figured it wouldn’t be that bad of a class, and it would take care of my theology requirement and also hedge my bets on my gender requirement (which I’m already fulfilling with a class on Globalization, Food, and Gender)

    However, now that I’ve read the class book list and learned more about the professor, I’m having second thoughts. All the books are about Christian dating, having a Biblical relationship, and saving yourself for marriage, and the professor is reportedly extremely socially conservative. I’m not ‘anti-family’, but I’m a supporter of feminism and GLBT rights, I oppose patriarchal and heterosexual privilege as well as gender roles, I believe in free love in the classical sense, and I’m not really down with marriage or the nuclear family (I support more communal, extended, and egalitarian familial networks).

    So, what am I to do? I know I can keep quiet all semester, but SHOULD I? What’s the ethical thing for me to do? If I do question the Professor’s views on women and the family, what’s the most respectful and effective way to do it?

    In short, I guess the question is: How do you respectfully and effectively raise an objection to a sexist or patriarchal attitude in a classroom setting?

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