CLOUD WOMAN BLOG
What we learned at the Graduation Ceremonies
Categorized in these topics: Engendered Practices Feminine Matrix and Female Culture Media Watch
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2008, 04:49 PM
What we learned at the Graduation Ceremonies
It’s that time of year. Graduation ceremonies take hold in May and June and this year’s graduates are facing global issues at their individual level unheard of previously. The Depression Era is eerily similar to the graduates’ happenstance.
Attending my daughter’s graduation ceremony at Western Washington University is about suffering through the androcratic and bureaucratic system perpetuated at vulnerable thresholds.
What we learned at the ceremony is how these annual deadening rituals can change the course of the students’ lives. Why not ask for a ceremony that is inspiring and propelling students towards a harmony filled life well lived?
Encapsulated, the almost three hours assault of the senses ceremony lectured the soon to be graduates with:
• “I got away with plundering the Mother Earth, fuel resources and made oodles of money.” This is not an actual quote from the speaker but my summation. Soul-loss occured as the keynote speaker “Howard Lincoln” owner of the Mariners languished on about his “high times” at the same college, his consumerism of the planet without any restrictions and consequences. Lincoln gave the charge to graduating students to fix his mess that he left to them and future generations. One important thing was said; he stated how he was befuddled on why he was selected to speak and how it did not seem appropriate. In his closing remarks he made sure that the students knew their financial contributions to the University is expected as Alumni. Most of the students are facing school loans of sixty thousand plus and no jobs on the horizons along with not having the money to fuel their gas tanks to seek interviews. Perhaps it was the parents sitting in the audience who supported their daughters and sons during college that was the real target for University of Washington’s administration and board of directors to accrue more funding. It certainly was not the students who were rendered invisible by the University’s hidden agenda. The students were given more slavish lifelong homework assignments to be geared towards a future of making money to donate back to the University.
• “Strict processional activity diminishing curiosity and creativity for the graduating students.” Taking at least an hour to read each student’s name is the Patriarchal namesake torture routine as parents sit in the Western University gymnasium bleachers to hear for a few second their child’s name uttered by some male authority figure. It’s about “He begat ___”. I would much rather hear each student three sentences expose of the university. Please give the graduates their voice. I am returned to Andrea Dworkin’s insightfulness about academia as, “What they take from you in school is eroded slowly and this was big. …there is a specific kind of education itself is a seduction, a long, exciting-but- drawn-out coupling, an intellectually dishonest, soul rendering passion in which the curiosity and adventuresomeness of the younger person is used as the hook, a cynical use because the younger person needs what the older provides. “
• “Just when we parents want to hear it from the students what appears on the podium is a miniscule robotic and “stepford daughter” student representative mouthpiece.” It was awkward and uncomfortable for the student body which obviously knew that it was the University administration and board doing the talking through her. However, I honestly do not think she knew this. Here is the betrayal of the elder person’s role in taking advantage of the young adults’ unconscious state due to their sheer lack of life experiences. She was the only student speaker, a selected denomination Christian, who spoke about her “grandfather” (not her grandmother) on how he fought and survived WWII. Perhaps, she was heavily favored because she is female (and Caucasian). The B.A. she received has polished and finished sealing the young woman into the patriarchal daughter. I know there is not a majority of Christians on campus either but a majority in the administration and board of directors it appears. Her unconsciousness about the lack of gender balance and being her grandfather’s daughter at the expense of the maternal lines was attuned at how happy she was that her grandfather had some semblance of intimacy with his war comrades. What we learned at the graduation ceremony was that the only intimacy fighting men have is during war, violence and as a horde of perpetrators to perpetuating war and fear. Most graduates had tuned out already with the bombastic never-ending empty ritual sealing victimhood across their young minds. Not only do the students have to send money to the Western Washington University as alumni but they might have to give their blood, lives to another institution such as the army to gain intimacy.
• “You’d think a parade in this graduation ceremony would be an opening to more meaningfulness. “ Instead, just add insult to injury, the largely white audience witnessed the admission minority staff being paraded across the podium- not asked to speak but to be the token few people of color or of the female gender. The female recruiter for diversity in the student body was honored for doubling the abysmal low rate of minority students. Her stint at the podium was only a few minutes. Her speech largely supported the empty mind boggling rhetoric of the administration which was to substantiate how women in general have absolutely nothing to say or the right to say what is “nothing” and abortive to their feminine perspective. Was she feeling honored in having a few minutes of graduation ceremony and told to make sure her words was for adding into the coffers of a patriarchal institution?
• “Glazed eyes are connected to a glazed over heart.” The other keynote speaker, a woman sculptress and yes a member of the board was short in her speech noting how she was at the end of the agenda. Perhaps as she looked at her audience she saw the glazed eyes and hearts of the students. True to their form, she asked for money from the students. Another infocommerical within the graduation ceremony. I observed many graduates placing their hands at their chest while she spoke as if they had encountered heartburn.
As I sat through the excruciating ceremony I looked about and noted how most did not seem to notice the dominant system brutalizing our future. It was to my relief that my daughter and other students all spoke about the hype and the emptiness of their graduation afterwards. The graduates are aware of all that transpired.
My daughter had an epiphany about academia- how it is all about how much we pay for a piece a paper not a matter of learning levels.
So much for our so-called learning institutions…. So much for missing an opportunity to support our future grads –indeed, prevalence- of a world bent on money as the only possible currency as opposed to nurturing potentials as a rich resource.
And here we sit in a world where dwindling food and earth resources are at a catastrophic situation for most of the world.
Have we forgotten as the older generation in key influential positions that can hold sway over the young adults-graduates in this situation-to inscribe a changing character of social memory, arguing profoundly and with an advocacy against any static understanding of the memorial androcratic entrenched power system so illegitimately perpetuated in our institutions?
As a parent I am facing a precipice. I question why do we give money, our presence and participation and most horrific why we give up our inner authority to gender bias and lacking diversity perspective entities?