Last quarter, I had a few students who thought that feminism was Dead(tm) and No Longer Necessary(tm). No surprise, they were all men. They met opposition from the women in the class, and from a few of the guys, as well. A teaching moment! But not a comfortable one. My class is about horror and the zombie subgenre, not feminism, for a reason. But racism and feminism come up, so... sometimes we talk about it, in the context of the films and books we cover. Usually it's tangential and respectful. Not so last quarter! By the end, I was convinced that no, really, the world is going to shit because the teenagers are socially unaware and most of them are misogynists. Had one, in particular, who was flat out Mr. Hostile Work Environment, not because he was overtly threatening, but because he made it clear that he thought women were inferior, period and full stop, by nature, but they could sometimes be like men if they, you know, had personality. Awesome. So then I have to walk that line between Not Preaching* and making the class comfortable for everyone--which it isn't, if you're a woman and dealing with some asshat who thinks you're best if you shut up and listen to what HE has to say.
This quarter, through no prompting from me--they are talking about it on their own, and debating, and being hella more thoughtful than 'no such thing!' or 'women are just THIS WAY' or whatever. Nice. Should make discussions less...combative. And maybe I will drink less, too.
*Because we don't. I know that's the popular stereotype, that we left-leaning college instructors indoctrinate our students into the Terrible Left, but no. My rule in the classroom is Don't Be A Jerk. It applies to all of us.