Today he called to tell me something he learned in class last night that he thought I would find interesting. It seems his teacher was covering feminism and Angel was shocked to find out that feminists are portrayed negatively by much of society. She showed them clips of people describing feminists and told them a personal anecdote about being left at the table and stuck with the bill on a dinner date after disclosing she was a feminist. Angel has since then polled some of his female friends to see if they identify as feminist and has again been shocked and a bit dismayed upon hearing their reactions. Now Angel is the sole male member of the only feminist organization on his campus and is close friends with the president but I don't think he was polling those friends. I believe he was talking about his sorority sisters. He goes to a pretty conservative school so he heard some harsh reactions.
I'm not quite sure what to make of it all. Of course I am thrilled that he is enjoying the class so much; that he is interested enough to talk about it with others; and that he finds it so hard to understand why feminists have a bad rap. What I don't really get is how he managed to reach the age of 20 without learning of it before. I'm not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing (and probably it is neither) that he's been sheltered from this knowledge his whole life. He grew up in a very liberal environment. He grew up the son of a feminist mother who hangs with a feminist crowd and honestly I've received very little flak over my lifetime on my feminist positions. So I guess he has had very few opportunities to learn about it.
It does make me think about what my students (including the undergraduate 'Women and...' course I teach in the fall) and what bells I may be ringing in their heads. The longer I teach the more I realize how much I incorrectly assume something is general knowledge. I think this happens the most when I "teach feminism."