Feminism being redefined on the college campus
It seems everyone is weighing in on the oppressive nature of today’s college campus where “rape culture” is a given (even if it isn’t true) and “triggers” and perceived “aggressions” are treated as unforgivable sins to be punished by the “student collective” in the name of feminism. I remember when feminism used to mean strong, empowered women. Now, apparently, it means women who are victims of hurtful words and are afraid to come out of their “safe spaces” lest they hear some.
David Brooks actually does a fair job of describing the problem.
The problem is that the campus activists have moral fervor, but don’t always have settled philosophies to restrain the fervor of their emotions. Settled philosophies are meant to (but obviously don’t always) instill a limiting sense of humility, a deference to the complexity and multifaceted nature of reality. But many of today’s activists are forced to rely on a relatively simple social theory.
According to this theory, the dividing lines between good and evil are starkly clear. The essential conflict is between the traumatized purity of the victim and the verbal violence of the oppressor.
According to this theory, the ultimate source of authority is not some hard-to-understand truth. It is everybody’s personal feelings. A crime occurs when someone feels a hurt triggered, or when someone feels disagreed with or “unsafe.” In the Shulevitz piece, a Brown student retreats from a campus debate to a safe room because she “was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against” her dearly and closely held beliefs.
Today’s campus activists are not only going after actual acts of discrimination — which is admirable. They are also going after incorrect thought — impiety and blasphemy. They are going after people for simply failing to show sufficient deference to and respect for the etiquette they hold dear. They sometimes conflate ideas with actions and regard controversial ideas as forms of violence.
Essentially the special snowflakes, who can only exist in a closed system like a college campus, have created an oppressive atmosphere in a place that should be open and free because … feelings. And college administrators have allowed this nonsense to go on because of two reasons – students are paying the freight and Title IX. But Brooks is right … the end state of this nonsense is the creation of thought police. And the SJW’s on campus use their leverage (paying customer) and a wildly misinterpreted law (Title IX) to carry out their vendettas. And for years, college administrations have been complicit in advancing this nonsense to the the point, now, of absurdity.
However, it has begun to bite back, as it had to, within the college collective. Megan McArdle brings you up to date on the latest:
In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern, wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education in which she decried the creeping bureaucratization and fear that surrounds sexual activity on campus. Last week, she revealed that as a consequence of that article, she had been investigated for violating Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.
No, I’m not eliding some intermediate step, where she used printed copies of the article as a cudgel to attack her female students. The article itself was the suspect act. According to Kipnis, it was seen as retaliation against students who had filed complaints against a professor, and would have a “chilling effect” and create a “hostile environment” for women in the Northwestern community. Northwestern put Kipnis through a lengthy process in which she wasn’t allowed to know the nature of the complaint until she talked to investigators, nor could she have representation.
You need to read that article to understand what kangaroo courts the “system” within colleges have set up to appease their Title IX requirements as directed by the Obama Administration. They are incredible and a far cry from anything anyone in the country would call “fair”. But then fairness isn’t the goal … silence is. They want to silence all “uncomfortable” ideas that may “trigger” their angst. And, as you’ll note, the inmates are running the asylum. Title IX is out of control as Naomi Schaefer Riley points out:
Yes, that’s right, legislation that was originally supposed to combat sexual discrimination in public education and athletics is now being used to silence professors who write essays that contradict progressive wisdom.
Because, you know, they were offended. They thought they were “safe”. And since they weren’t or at least didn’t consider themselves to be, they had to act by attacking the source of their angst. Anonymously, of course. With no burden of proof. Just an accusation is all that is necessary, because in SJW-land, feelings rule, no matter how arbitrary and capricious they may be.
Is this the new face of feminism?