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Archive for Saturday, August 20, 1994

PROF CAUTIONS STUDENTS ON GENDER ROLES

August 20, 1994

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A KU professor presents a haunting summary of what it means to be male and female in today's society.

Bob Minor didn't mince words while dismissing illusions of bliss a group of Kansas University students had about human relationships.

Males and females are treated differently from the moment they're born, the KU professor of religious studies said Friday at a Hawk Week session.

"Is it pink or blue?"

By the time children are 3 years old they have received intense gender conditioning that does little to foster positive relationships.

"They are already conditioned to understand that male is best. Nonmale is not best," Minor said. "They get the message that boys are supposed to put down girls, and girls are supposed to take it."

At puberty, he said, gender roles become further entrenched.

Young women are taught their value comes from using their body to please a man, he said. Young men are simply conditioned to conquer.

"It means getting laid. The biggest stud in the school is very much like James Bond," he said.

Male conditioning is such that men treat women as objects. They "feel like a man" by viewing relationships as an opportunity to become manipulative, self-centered, compulsive, impersonal and goal-oriented.

"These ... things constitute the legal and moral definition of rape," he said. "If this is correct, the mainstream sex culture in society is rape conditioning."

Gender conditioning is enforced in this country with violence, threats, ridicule, humiliation, isolation and rejection, he said.

"I'm not blaming men or women. This is a system. Every institution in our society supports it," Minor said.

The list includes family, schools, universities, fraternities and sororities, churches, governments, Wall Street and Madison Avenue.

At KU, he said, students should seize an opportunity to begin viewing people they meet simply as human beings.

"You can choose to be human," he said. "We're talking about human liberation."

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