(More on the boy-blind professor of childhood studies)
Feminists love their neologisms. Mansplaining, manspreading and the shecession are recent examples culled from daily newspapers in the UK. Today, I would like to coin my own neologism – andranopsia (an means without, opsia means seeing and andros means man), a condition the renders men and boys culturally invisible. One victim of this disabling condition is Emma Renold who is Professor of Childhood Studies at Cardiff University. You can find her bio on the Cardiff University website here. She featured in my post November 20th that you can find here.
Given that she is a Professor of childhood studies you might think that she would have a least some interest in boys who make up a little over 49% of children. If you did think that, you would be in for a disappointment because her work almost exclusively foregrounds girls. If boys are portrayed at all it is purely as a problem to girls. They appear to have no existence as complex and varied individuals. They are simply an identity group in need of ‘queering’ ( a verb taken from the extremist pseudophilosophy of Judith Butler). Professor Renold appears to be a keen disciple of Judith Butler and that should worry us all.
The YouTube video below, Transforming relationships and sexuality in education caught my eye. It appears to be more about indoctrination than informing and explaining. What also worries me is that this attempt to stir up androphobia was funded by the taxpayer through the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC).
Onto the vido itself, at 1.36 Emma Renold, sitting with girls only, says…
“AGENDA counters this approach by offering an affirmative, inclusive and rights-based approach to a range of issues from feminism to slut shaming“
However, watching the video from beginning to end (an excruciating experience) shows that it is not at all inclusive and almost exclusively features women and girls. The voice of men and boys is not heard once.
At 1:40 Siriol Burford an Educational Practitioner says….
“Emma’s work is creating the change that has badly been needed, so that our generations build better, positive, kind relationships where people listen to each other and can be change makers for the world.”
‘Listening to each other’ would require both boys and girls in the room and I don’t see a lot of evidence of that in the video. – only encouraging girls to demonise boys.
The workshops described in the video focussed exclusively on the problems faced by girls and exclusively on those problems caused by boys. Studies on playground behaviour by anthropologists have shown the girls also bully each other and that bullying is much more long-lasting than that perpetrated by boys. None of this is mentioned in the this video.
At 2:48 there is actually a man standing in the background. What a surprise! He doesn’t say anything though.
At 3:05 Sally Holland the Children’s Commissioner for Wales speaks. Again her words are revealing..
“What’s important to me about Emma’s work is that it draws on children’s experiences, she works with children to develop her researching any materials coming out of it. She was elected by the Welsh Government to lead an expert panel on sex and relationships education..”
Emma Renold’s work does not focus on children’s experience (boys and girls), it focuses almost exclusively on the experience of girls and even then, it seems to me, Emma Renold is able to project her own prejudices onto them. It is easy for authority figures to control the narrative and the pupils would have been well aware of the sort answers required and were happy to oblige.
In my post of November 20th I reviewed some Emma’s ‘research’ that consisted of divining the unspoken views of girls though the medium of interpretive dance. From that she was able to determine that ‘the intentionality of the girls moves relates to the molar forces of patriarchy.’ If you believe that constitutes research or drawing on children experiences, you will believe anything.
At 3.39 Kirsty Williams, Cabinet secretary for Education, Welsh Government thanks Professor Emma Renold. A red Plate is held up with the words gender stereotyping written on it. The question I ask is- who is doing the gender stereotyping? The answer is Emma Renold.
The video ends at 4:20 and not a single male voice or opinion has been heard and males have barely been seen and only then in a passive listening capacity. The world can only be improved by men, women, girls and boys working together. Demonising boys and viewing them as only as potential aggressors does not help, anymore than stigmatising all women on the basis of the small number who commit infanticide or damage the foetus by drinking in pregnancy would help.
In my opinion, Emma Renold is a charlatan and a dangerous fanatic. Sally Holland and Kirsty Williams would be wise to rethink their association with this practitioner of ‘critical theory’ as applied to gender. According an article in the Critic of June 2021 –The Welsh variant: why is Cardiff actively spreading queer theory in schools?– Emma Renold ‘is an advocate of queer theory, which insists that gender can be wrongly assigned at birth. This once niche set of ideas originating with Judith Butler is now being presented to seven year olds as established truth.’
Perhaps Emma Renold’s problem goes deeper than andranopsia, what she actually stands for is the dehumanisation of boys.