Scrolling through Facebook, I saw a post proclaiming that college students shouldn’t expect to receive financial aid, considering we’re squandering thousands of dollars on useless degrees, such as Feminist Basket Weaving. Well, I guess that means that I should be paying full tuition, given what I'm studying.
I’m planning on majoring in either Art History, English, or French. I’m sure the stereotypical parent would be horrified at my choices. How can I possibly expect to be hired after college with such a useless degree(s)? Haven’t I seen the economy lately? We need more majors in STEM!
Based on my superfluous choices in college, can one draw a line be drawn between making the baskets, pieces of art, and studying the creation of past basket weaving masters? Learning about women in art, and being a feminist?
I'd argue that art is an integral part of our lives. Sure, we could all focus on math and physics, which are admirable subjects, and my defense of the arts is not an attack on math/science. Indeed, it’s often these number-based courses working in tandem with the arts that creates the best masterpieces. So here’s a defense of practical applications of creative talent:
Without people majoring in theater, where would actors learn how perform?
Without Studio Art, where would the next Picasso learn how to hold a paintbrush?
Without music, where would the next Taylor Swift learn how to compose?
Without English who would write the script to the next La La Land?
The pattern quickly becomes obvious: we need the arts.
As for the feminism aspect of basket weaving, I don’t know anyone who has a major solely in Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS). Everyone I’ve talked to, which, granted, is a relatively small sample size, has at least a minor in some more ‘applicable’ skill. The people that choose to study the social sciences know that the job market will be incredibly competitive for them, but the lessons they learn about discrimination and people are vital. If politicians couldn’t recognize the disparity between the sexes, the unfair treatment homosexuals are subject to, the racism and classism our society faces, then we haven’t advanced at all. GSS, English, even art, can teach us these lessons much more than organic chemistry.
In my English class this semester, an intro to the English major, the professor asked if people’s parent’s had an influence over their major. A fair number of people raised their hands. The concern is understandable, from a parent’s perspective. And remember that this was an English class, not a studio art class, where the choice of study might be even more scandalous. After all, the odds of making it big as a painter are slim to none.
To the assertion that feminist basket-weaving is a useless major, yes. If you take it literally, learning how to weave baskets while fighting the patriarchy seems a bit ridiculous. But if we’re taking this in the broader sense, then I guess I’m just one of those idiots who does what I love, with the cognizance that I’ll probably work some menial job after college, earning minimum wage. That doesn’t stop me from believing that the more people aware of the problems facing our society, the more people who demonstrate interest in creating things of beauty, the less of a detriment ignorance will be to our society.