I never had Professor Adrienne Pine as a teacher, but I did run across her article, “Exposéing My Breasts on the Internet” a few weeks ago. I found the article interesting and admired her perseverance in trying to fight the unjust views many people have about the female body.
However, she made pretty hasty conclusions about the student body and the school newspaper that she should reconsider.
It’s possible that in approaching Pine about breast-feeding in class, the reporter from The Eagle may have wanted to share an empowering experience with the rest of the student population. It’s also possible that she was just curious. Whatever her motive was, the reporter’s request for information, as quoted in Pine’s article, did not sound critical or “anti-woman.”
The reporter never said she felt uncomfortable. Instead, the reporter said she wanted to prevent Pine from feeling uncomfortable. From that, Pine jumped to the conclusion that she was about to be turned into a spectacle.
If the event inspired this student to write an article, to share something interesting, then it was a mistake on Pine’s part not to encourage her. I love AU because students here care enough to discuss issues like breast-feeding in public, and most of the professors love that about the students, too.
Pine, however, did not find curiosity to be a redeeming quality. She is a self-described “militant” in her profile on the AU website and seems to attack everything that she comes across. I am fine with that, but in a classroom one should look for the best in his or her students and encourage them to analyze the world around them. This includes examining their professor’s behavior.
In her article, Pine also took The Eagle to task about some “date rape” articles it published a few years ago. She said that The Eagle “has long had a solidly anti-woman slant.” She has overlooked three crucial points.
First of all, one writer does not equate to an entire newspaper. The Eagle did not back the opinions of Alex Knepper, who wrote two years ago on this topic. Even so, we would have more of an issue if The Eagle prevented free speech. After all, isn’t that what newspapers have always been symbols of?
Second, one article does not count as The Eagle having long had “a solidly anti-woman slant.” Such an allegation, inconsistent with the facts, is the sort of character assassination that so many people find unacceptable in the current political climate and national dialogue. By making such broad claims about The Eagle, Pine is helping to pave the way for the allowance of misinformation in this country.
Lastly, if Pine is comparing the reporter, a curious student, to someone who rants about the illegitimacy of date rape, it’s pretty obvious that she needs to reevaluate her method of thinking. Her militant attitude clouds her judgment as a professor. Furthermore, as an anthropologist, she should be aware and tolerant of the curiosities that arise when a person breaks a social norm, making her anger at the students even more misplaced.
Pine looks at us, the students, as people with “gendered assumptions,” people who don’t treat others well. But I have seen so much good done on this campus. AU is full of caring individuals who are sensitive to the special circumstances of others. We are more than tolerant, we are welcoming.
Pine has revealed her breast to us, but I hope that she can also learn to reveal her heart.
Emily Adler is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences.