How to survive the wacky gender politics on campus | FACTUAL FEMINIST


If you’re headed for college for the first
time this fall, you need to be aware of some strange new developments. Don’t be alarmed
by what I am about to say. Most of you are going to be very happy at college and will
thrive there. But you need to know what to expect. Coming up next on the Factual Feminist:
how to negotiate your way through the wacky sexual politics on campus. Colleges throughout
the United States are carried away with eccentric gender politics. In general, the higher the
tuition, the greater the eccentricity. At schools with a more working class population,
the students often have more pressing concerns than finding new ways to be offended. As an
incoming freshman, many of you will be subject to special training sessions and introduced
to a new vocabulary with unusual terms like “trigger warnings,” “othering,” “microaggression,”
“male privilege,” and “safe spaces.” Outside Speakers—especially comedians—
will be called out and boycotted for breaches of sensitivity. Colleges are changing their
mission: Truth seeking is being replaced by the more sensitive goal of making everyone—especially
female students– feel safe and validated. Ideas that get in the way of this mission
may not tolerated. Well, here are three survival tips—custom-tailored to your political views—plus
a fourth, bonus tip for everybody. Number one: If you are libertarian or conservative, no
one is that concerned with your feelings. That’s actually a good thing. You’re going
to face a challenging intellectual environment. According to a recent UCLA study, there are
nearly 5 times more liberal professors than conservative professors on college campuses.
Your views are going to be tested every day, but most of your teachers will treat you respectfully.
Your ideas are going to face critical scrutiny and you may end up revising or abandoning some
of them. Again, that’s a good thing. That’s what education is supposed to be about—and
it’s something many liberal students are missing. What is not good is that a noisy
minority of students—and a few professors—will see you as the embodiment of evil. If you
express your opinions vigorously, some classmates may complain to school authorities that your
presence makes them feel “unsafe.” But here is the bright side. Even at schools overrun
by the new orthodoxy, you will find great friends and allies, male and female, and professors
too, whether they agree with you or not. Now, if you are liberal and idealistic, and also
a woman, you face a different sort of risk. When you get to campus you will find a large
and excited group of gender activists—students and some professors—eager to recruit you
to their cause. They will present you with shocking statistics of sexual violence on
campus, and theories about an oppressive patriarchy. They will tell you how mistreated and traumatized
you are. It will seem new and exciting to you. Maybe a way to make friends and fight injustice at
the same time—and you may be tempted to sign up. Just be aware that most of the victim
statistics you will hear are wildly exaggerated and the theories about women’s oppression
are twisted and surreal. As for trigger warnings and safe spaces—these are infantile. They
are the opposite of empowerment. It’s the fashion on many campuses to treat women as
delicate flowers—fragile little birds. But most of you are tough and resilient. The gender activists I am describing
will probably say, “Don’t listen to her.” “Don’t take her word for anything.”
Well, that’s true you shouldn’t take my word on these matters. You shouldn’t take anybody’s word. Think for yourself. And remember that your feminist foremothers fought and won a battle for your right to be educated on a par with men. They knew you were tough, and they wanted you to have the opportunity to put that strength to use. Don’t waste it by falling captive
to a pointless ideology or indulging in victimhood. Take serious classes in philosophy, science,
and history. Avoid courses that luxuriate in female oppression. Third bit of advice: If you are a liberal and idealistic man, you may face an even greater risk. You probably think of yourself
as an open-minded, well-intended progressive. But many on campus will not see you that way.
Today many college women practice gender profiling. It’s the fashion among activists to judge
men by the worst members of their sex and women by the best. Many of your attempts to
exonerate yourself or your friends will be dismissed as “mansplaining.” To save yourself
from excommunication, you’ll be asked engage in a fair amount of self-flagellation and
male-bashing. But don’t do it. Have some dignity. Don’t be the guy who sends tweets like this. Today’s campus manias are not going to last. Sooner or later, the age-old virtues of higher education will reassert themselves—free speech, intellectual diversity, open inquiry, vigorous competition of ideas, mutual respect. If you learn to be a critical, independent thinker yourself, you can play a part in this intellectual renaissance. Well, let me know what you think about today’s politically charged, safe-spaced campus. And if you’ve been to college recently or have kids in college, do you agree with my characterization? I welcome your comments. If you appreciate this series please subscribe, follow me on Twitter and Facebook—and thank you for watching the Factual Feminist.

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