I’m an advanced grad student in a program which is considered one of the best places to study feminism. Just two years ago, in one of our seminars, we were discussing Aristotle on sexual difference when one of our male grad students decided to tell the class that it’s true that women are passive and that this is because “the penis goes in the vagina.” When asked to clarify what he meant, he explained further that “the penis is active and the vagina is passive.” Our professor did not speak up and, aside from one feeble attempt to argue against the student, my classmates were silent. A handful of us spoke later about how we didn’t expect to be silenced in a department that sells itself on diversity.
The following semester, I was in a translation course that featured a professor who found ways to make rather shocking comments about anal sex, masturbation, and other sexual topics completely unrelated to the course material. Of course, each time I thought of a clever response to bring us back on topic, after the fact.
So much for a supportive environment.