I know it may seem extreme, but the reality is, we do experience it, and often some of us experience aspects of it daily despite our capabilities. Nuke, if you honestly experience derision, insults, threats of physical violence, and are demeaned despite your talents and ability to do your job well, I am truly an advocate for you too.
The thing is, most people experience that, to some extent, regardless of gender or race. I think all of us agree some automatically get it worse. I don't want you to think that I am equating 4 years at University with a lifetime of sexism, because I'm not; I just wanted to avoid getting "you can't know".
So, yeah, UWO (visual arts), was a pretty unique pocket.
As a quick aside -
But, scholarship is always revisiting canon through lenses of popular critical trends of the time - and in any fine arts program that I know, you don't just get to do what you want, you are provided a structure through which you explore the art - whether you personally feel compelled to do your art that way or not.
deserves it's own thread, really.
But, in short - that's something I see as a huge flaw in fine arts, that the established artists dictate practice and style to the students. There's a difference between nuturing an awareness of issues and movements, and compelling people to stay within them. There's a huge issue if, instead of balancing the range of views, you purge a department of those whose outlook isn't in lockstep with your own, and replace them with people's who's views are "right", but who are wrong for the role they are given.
Basically, when you have a drawing course with a prof who is ideologically sound, but starts the year with "I see drawing itself as obsolete and pointless", and "I frown on figure studies and other depictions in general, and don't think men should be allowed to deal with the female form at all..", it's gone beyond what you discuss.
On the other hand, my next drawing prof was also a woman, and a staunch feminist. The difference was she didn't dictate to students what they could work on, she wasn't telling us anything thing, she actually took the effort to explain the issues, to allow us to integrate what she saw as important with what we saw as valid.
To be honest - it was a pretty toxic atmosphere for most people, students, faculty, men and women. There's nothing good about witnessing an argument between profs over heavy handed agendas, and hearing one woman call another a failure as a female artist for not staying in line with one groups desire.
(Oddly, at the time, I was dating the head of the student Women's Issues Committee. And then not dating, but still close to. Made for interesting discussions and realizations all around)
But yeah, that was the early 90's.
Again- don't take this to mean I'm denying sexism exists, I'm saying I'm very sensitive to, and critical of, the way it is discussed/approached, the tone, if you like.