Sunday, February 22, 2015

Destroying the World, One Analogy at a Time

Over on FB a little while back, one of my Grounded Parents compadres had a fight with an idiot an under-informed young man about why women's trousers don't have pockets.

My compadre's position was clear and had the benefit of being correct -- women's trousers don't have pockets because those people who design, manufacture, and sell women's clothing have decided, for their own reasons, that women don't need pockets.  I suppose they are assuming that we don't need to carry money around?  That we all have giant purses?  Who knows.

The result is that women don't have pockets in their trousers or their shorts, and so we either have to carry giant purses everywhere we go; or we have to carry wallets and phones and keys in our hands everywhere we go; or we have to buy men's trousers (my solution).

ANYWAY.  My compadre raised this pocket issue.  Kind of off-hand.  As one does.

At once, this idiot this under-informed young man leapt into FB to inform her that it was her own fault.  See, it was simple economics.  See, if only she would not buy trousers without pockets, then women's clothing manufacturers would stop making trousers without pockets.  The simple fact that trousers appear without pockets proves that women want trousers without pockets.

The multitude of complaints you can find, online and elsewhere, in which women complain about the lack of pockets in their clothing?  Pssh.  You may ignore all that.  Women can't possibly actually want pockets, or they would stop buying clothing without pockets.

(What's that you say?  There are no trousers with pockets for them to otherwise buy?  Except over there in the men's department?  Which some certain portion of women do buy?  Or really expensive clothing, which only really rich women can afford?  I don't even know what point you could possibly be making here.)

What is my point?  (And I do have one!)

This same economic model is currently being aimed at our universities.

Which is to say -- our universities are more and more being redesigned into model that works only for a certain sort of student.

Not necessary a bad or wrong student.  Just one kind of student.

Vocational training.

Online classes.

STEM classes (and only certain STEM classes as well -- pure science need not apply).

Technical and "business" writing.

Business degrees.  Health science degrees.

Students who don't want this sort of education -- who want more from a university career than that -- well, when they come to the university, looking for an actual education, they will find they can only buy trousers without pockets.

What will they do, then, but buy trousers without pockets, since trousers without pockets will be the only trousers for sale?

Then what will happen?  Then the university administrators and the legislators and the assessment committees will declare to us that, obviously, trousers without pockets were what these students wanted all along.

Because, look!  They're signing up for those Trousers Without Pockets degrees!

Well, aren't they?


Tree of Knowledge said...

While I agree with your larger point (and would like our board of trustees to read your post), I also think that trousers with pockets is a worthy platform, and I support your pro-pocket stance. Worse than trousers without pockets are trousers with fake pockets, which I forget are fake until I try to use them. (I have lost weight and am wearing pants bought over 10 years ago from a time when I did not refuse to buy trousers without pockets; I hate them). I also want dresses and skirts with pockets. My baby has pajamas with pockets. There's no reason pants can't have them too. I know you have larger points here, but I'm hung up on the no-pocket issue because it is infuriating.

delagar said...

Oh, I am SO much with you on the Pro-Pockets position!

We need not splinter on this issue!

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I ONLY buy trousers with pockets, and you're right -- they are hard to find and when you do find them, they are more expensive, and/or the pockets are so small that you can't fit much in them without a big bulge resulting. It's annoying that the pocket cannot be a universal piece to the overall trousers. Ugh.

And as for the analogy with the university -- yes. We, too, are becoming so focused on STEM, and especially the healthcare aspect of that area, that we are going to be an expensive tech school pretty soon. It's demoralizing, for sure.

Bardiac said...

Amen! I too support trousers with pockets, and like you, I buy men's trousers for their pockets. And because you can buy a specific waist/inseam combination.

And educations that are without pockets are also not great, generally, because even students who want STEM benefit greatly from thinking in the humanities and social sciences.

delagar said...

"...even students who want STEM benefit greatly from thinking in the humanities and social sciences."

Yes. So much.

Right now, our STEM students are required to take a certain number of upper level humanities courses -- and we, therefore, are required to provide a certain number of upper level humanities that are open to the general population of students. This is why, for instance, I get to teach this wonderful Popular Culture class on Dystopian / Utopian literature next semester. And why I sometimes have Engineering students in my History of the English Language classes.


But our charming legislature, now wholly Occupied by the Tea Party, has been steadily whittling away at the number of hours students should be required to take to get a BA or a BS from an Arkansas university. Why do they need 124 hours? Surely 120 is enough? Surely 118 is enough? Surely 110 is enough?

You can see where this is leading. And what classes get cut first.

We'll end up -- as Fie notes -- not a university at all, but a very expensive two year tech school.