What’s Missing?

The other day, I found myself in Berkeley with a spare hour to kill, so I did what any 20-year veteran campus minister would do and walked the campus at Cal.

What a beautiful place. Stately architecture, a wonderfully diverse student body, and pleasantly surprising pockets of nature throughout.

Unfortunately, I also caught a subtle glimpse of Tertullian. Here:

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Do you see what I saw?!?

Evidently, Cal has two faculty clubs. Well, and an eye center, but I digress…

There’s a “Faculty Club,” and then there’s a “Women’s Faculty Club.” The nomenclature is significant in good part because of what’s missing:

“Men’s.”

You see what’s happening here? Cal is lacking a “Men’s Faculty Club.” Instead, it has a “Faculty Club” alongside its “Women’s Faculty Club.” Evidently, there’s no need to explicitly designate the Faculty Club as “Men’s.” Why?

Because in our world masculinity remains the default setting. 

Friends, this is male privilege. To not have to clarify that the Faculty Club is (or was) for men only is the epitome of bias.

I did a bit of research this morning, and let me fill out the picture a bit. According to this history, Cal’s Women’s Faculty Club was formed in 1919. Why? You guessed it. Because women weren’t permitted in the other, male only Faculty Club. Instead, the Women’s Faculty Club offered Cal’s female faculty “a place of their own.”

As for the Faculty Club, well, the building looks pretty amazing, and the website does note that “women have enjoyed full membership benefits for decades.” How many decades? The site doesn’t say. We don’t know.

But we do know this:

It’s time to be done with the masculine default.

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