The difficulties of the integration of race and gender in academia. Gender equity has many more steps to become inclusive.
Readers often find the concluding section of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tales, titled “Historical Notes,” somewhat disjointed—if readers continue to the section at all.
While these final pages are important to helping readers understand many of the nuances of the narrative constituting most of the novel, “Historical Notes” is also a brutal satire on academia, spurred by Atwood’s own troubling experiences with graduate school that exposed to her a stunning level of patriarchy and misogyny common in universities in the early 1960s.
Nearly five decades later, Roxane Gay, novelist and author of Bad Feminist, details her own experiences of being marginalized, of feeling as the Other in higher education, first as a graduate student, like Atwood:
At both my master’s and doctoral institutions, I was the only black student. Any success I achieved only spurred me to work harder and harder so I might outrun whispers of affirmative action
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