Liberal feminist aims gradually shifted from the position:
“Everyone deserves human rights and equality, and feminism focuses on achieving them for women.”
“Individuals and groups of all sexes, races, religions and sexualities have their own truths, norms and values. All truths, cultural norms and moral values are equal. Those of white, western, heterosexual men have unfairly dominated in the past so now they and all their ideas must be set aside for marginalized groups.”
Liberal feminism had shifted from the universality of equal human rights to identity politics. No longer were ideas valued on their merit but on the identity of the speaker and this was multifaceted, incorporating sex, gender identity, race, religion, sexuality and physical ability. The value of an identity in social justice terms is dependent on its degree of marginalization, and these stack up and vie for primacy. This is where liberal feminism went so badly wrong. When post-colonial guilt fought with feminism, feminism lost. When it fought with LGBT rights, they lost too.
So aware of Western imperialism having trampled on other cultures historically, western liberal feminism now embraced their most patriarchal aspects. A western liberal feminist can, on the same day, take part in a slut walk to protest western women being judged by their clothing and accuse anyone criticizing the niqab of Islamophobia. She can demand the prosecution of a Christian baker for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same sex-couple, and condemn the planning of a Gay Pride march through a heavily Muslim area as racist. Many inter-sectional feminists do not limit themselves to the criticism of other white, western feminists but pour vitriolic, racist abuse on liberal Muslim and ex-Muslim feminists and LGBT activists. The misogyny and homophobia of Christianity may be criticized by all (quite rightly) but the misogyny and homophobia of Islam by none, not even Muslims. The right to criticize one’s own culture and religion is seemingly restricted to white westerners. (The best analysis of ‘The Racism of Some Anti-racists‘ is by Tom Owolade.)
Over the course of the evening, Sommers touched on a variety of topics, focusing mainly on trigger warnings, safe spaces and the importance of free speech.
“It’s primarily the ‘fainting-couchers’ demanding trigger warnings,” Sommers said, referencing the portion of the modern feminist movement who advocate for such warnings.
Sommers said as a feminist from the ’70s, the emphasis on trigger warnings and safe spaces is puzzling to her.
“We are not children, we are not fragile,” Sommers said. “Trigger warnings seem to be infantilizing to women.”
Sommers also spoke about the statistics commonly used by activists while addressing issues such as the wage gap or sexual assault. Those statistics are often overhyped, Sommers said, and although sexual assault is a problem, survivors of assault need help rather than hype.
“If women want to change the wage gap, they should change their majors,” Sommers said.
Sommers said while there was an interesting conversation to be had about the value placed on jobs occupied primarily by women, they aren’t necessarily being cheated.
USC students required to detail sexual history before registering for classes
A mandatory online course at the University of Southern California (USC) asks students to disclose the number of sexual encounters they have had over the past three months and teaches students to ask for consent by saying “how far would you be comfortable going?” and “would you like to try this with me?”
In an email obtained by Campus Reform, students were told they must complete the Title IX training in order to register for courses in the spring.
“This course is mandatory, and you must complete it by February 9, 2016. If you do not complete the training by this date you will receive a registration hold until the training is complete,” the email stated.
Many universities require students to complete a course on Title IX, but some students at USC are worried the online course they are required to take is too intrusive.
“It was just full of super personal questions,” Jacob Ellenhorn, a student at USC, told Campus Reform.
Despite some students being uncomfortable with the content of the course, the campus-wide email assured students they would “enjoy the assignment.”
“We believe you’ll enjoy the assignment, and that this training is in line with our shared belief that Trojans care for Trojans. It is an innovative, engaging, and informative online course, created with students for students,” the email stated.
The course begins with a detailed questionnaire that asks students to reveal how often they are having sex and using drugs or alcohol. The survey also asks students to specify the number of sexual partners they have had in the past three months.
After revealing both the number of times they have had sex and with how many different people, students are then asked to state whether or not they used a condom.
“It kept on saying that drunk people cannot give consent. In one scenario both the man and the woman were drunk but the video still blames the male for the assault. I found that a little confusing,” Ellenhorn said.
In a subsequent portion of the course, students are encouraged to “challenge gender stereotypes” and question the validity of “traditional thinking.”
“When someone’s appearance or behavior do not ‘line up’ with traditional thinking, how does traditional thinking ‘line up’ with everyone being born free and equal,” the course states, suggesting “traditional thinking” does not endorse ideas of freedom and equality.
The course also touches on the topic of sexual assault and offers tips to students who have been accused of sexual assault. The first tip suggests students admit they may have “crossed a boundary” even if they don’t remember the event.
The evangelical drive to teach boys to be feminists reached a new high last week with the news that every 16-year-old in Sweden is to be given a free copy of the book “We Should All Be Feminists”.
The short essay, based on a 2013 TED talk by the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has become a sacred text for those who share Yvette Cooper’s belief that “we need our sons growing up as confident feminists”.
So should we welcome the crusaders who wish to convert our male progeny to the “one true Goddess” of gender politics, or should we teach our boys to become free-thinkers who can choose for themselves whether they want to be feminist or not?
I share Adiche’s belief that the world would be a happier, freer place if girls and boys didn’t face the pressure of gender expectations. That’s why I am a proud non-feminist, because one of the greatest gender expectations currently being placed on men and boys is the suffocating belief they we should all become feminists. Boys should be free to choose for themselves whether they want to say YES or NO to feminism.
Fanciful economics, however, isn’t feminist utopia’s biggest obstacle. It’s women—actual individual women who have their own plans and dreams for their lives—who really doom feminist visions such as Bapat’s.
Bapat, who carefully mentions both “men and women” receiving payments for caring for their own dependents, nevertheless assumes that this system would encourage more men to participate in childrearing. In fact they have to, otherwise she’d have to acknowledge that her system would dramatically undermine other central feminist goals, such as increasing women’s power and prestige in the world of corporate and political affairs. Bapat’s feminist sisters dream of women holding (at least) 50 percent of all corporate board positions and elected offices, and their policies’ aim is often to make it easier for women to succeed at work.
In the countries where such government-sponsored policies have been implemented, however, they have often backfired when measured in these feminist terms. Western Europe, for example, is often held up as a model for their state-provided family-leave policies and childcare subsidies; many European countries even provide a version of Bapat’s direct cash payments to parents for taking care of their own children. Yet asober examination of the results of these programs reveals that they have impeded women’s economic advancement, making it more likely that women will earn less and hold fewer leadership positions in the business world.
The insurmountable problem for those who dream of a feminist utopia is that most women simply don’t seem to share the feminists’ obsession with economic power, and often prefer spending their time and talents at home, even when their work there offers no monetary reward.
Study includes ‘remarks about physical appearance’ to trump up sexual violence numbers
One of the best tactics so-called researchers have used to conclude that fully one-fifth of college women will be sexually assaulted is to vastly expand the definition of what it is.
A new study, conducted at Rutgers University, relies heavily on this tactic to stoke fear and encourage witch hunts of college men across the country.
Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown dissects the study, noting the definition of “sexual assault” and “sexual violence” included everything from “remarks about physical appearance” and “persistent sexual advances that are undesired by the recipient” to “threats of force to get someone to engage in sexual behavior, as well as unwanted touching and unwanted oral, anal, or vaginal penetration or attempted penetration.”
There’s an ocean of difference between someone saying you look good today and someone physically pinning you down against your will. To include both under the category of “sexual assault” is just ludicrous, and certainly not a serious way of studying the issue.