Target: David Naylor, President of University of Toronto
Goal: Mandate that all English teachers include men and women writers in syllabi
A Toronto University literature professor has deliberately kept women writers off of his class syllabus. David Gilmour, a novelist who is teaching college level English, has no interest in women writers. He allegedly vowed to only teach about authors that he loves upon getting hired; his preferred writers just happen to all be male. Many women writers have had a huge influence on literature, past and present; women writers have earned their spot in history and should be a required asset to an English class.
The course in question is ‘Modern Short Fiction,’ focusing on a period that was rich with influencing female writers. Gilmour, however, desires to only teach ‘serious heterosexual guys.’ Gilmour believes that most women writers are too serious, or too hard to understand for most of his students; he believes that all women writers, from every era, fall into this disposition. He does have one woman writer pop up on his syllabi occasionally: Virginia Woolf. Even then only one of her short stories is covered, and this is allotted to a third-year English class. Deliberately leaving writers out of an English class is not doing any of the students any favors. There have been women authored stories that have quite literally shaped others stories a century after they were written. Take Mary Shelley, the imagination behind Frankenstein. Countless tales have taken lessons from her monster masterpiece, and there have been many film adaptations of her novel. The monster that she created is now a holiday staple. Without exposure to women writers a student of English may be considered illegitimate.
Toronto University normally requires a doctorate to teach a course; Gilmour did not go to school to become a professor. He boasts that he is a natural teacher and was asked to teach a class years ago because he is, to put it simply, very good at what he does. Frankly, a good teacher keeps most of his bias under wraps. Countless teachers teach authors that they are not fond of, because those authors are important to the world of literature. Without women writers students are not able to see the complete spectrum of literature, nor all that it has to offer the mind and the world. Women writers deserve to be represented strongly; urge the president of Toronto University to implement a rule that will force David Gilmour to teach his students about women writers.
Dear David Naylor, University of Toronto President,
I am shocked to learn that a professor at your university, David Gilmour, refuses to include women writers on the syllabi for his English classes. Mr. Gilmour does not include them because he simply does not like them. Writers of substance are male, according to Mr. Gilmour, and women writers are too sophisticated for college students. Women writers have had an immense and impact on literature, movies and everyday life. An English professor should not be allowed to intentionally exclude women writers, or any influential writers, due to a personal bias.
Mary Shelley is one of the most influential writers of all time, and she is undoubtedly a woman. She was the imagination behind Frankenstein, a novel that has inspired horror, science fiction and film for a century. Margaret Atwood, a modern woman writer, has created post-apocalyptic fantasy unrivaled by a man’s depiction. An English class about literature is not a complete course without the addition of women writers. A student enrolled in a bias-based English course such as Mr. Gilmour’s will be considered unversed in literature unless the student supplements with a course taught by another professor.
Personal biases are understandable when it comes to literature. An author cannot appeal to every reader. However, extending this bias to students is not right. Students must have both men and women writers in an English course, because both men and women writers have had a profound impact on literature. Please issue a new rule for your professors: literature courses must include both men and women writers, and no personal bias may be an influence on the students.
Thank you for your consideration, Mr. Naylor.
[Your Name Here]
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