We just returned from a panel discussion at Marquette that was part of a program called “This is What a Feminist Looks Like Week.”
As the Marquette Tribune explains
As a part of “This is What a Feminist Looks Like week”, two student organizations will hold panels and discussions on sexual violence and gender roles today and Thursday.
The week is sponsored by feminist student group Empowerment and seeks to remove the stigma of feminism.
Today at 7 p.m. in Cudahy Hall 001, Violence Opposition in Community Education is sponsoring “Men, Masculinity, and Sexual Violence: A Discussion.” V.O.I.C.E. is a sexual violence prevention peer education group run through the Counseling Center, according to Christopher Daood, assistant director of the Counseling Center.
In the panel, five professors will discuss masculinity, male gender roles and male involvement in sexual violence prevention, Daood said.
It’s interesting that the article says that feminism has a stigma. Philosophy professor Theresa Tobin admitted, in her talk, that the stereotype of feminists is that they hate men. She insisted that this isn’t so.
But did her talk (and the others) really show this?
Ed de St. Aubin
The first speaker, Ed de St. Aubin from the Psychology Department, discussed how, if you dress a boy baby up in pink, people will make comments appropriate to female stereotypes, and if you dress a girl baby in blue, people will make comments reflecting male stereotypes (“look at that kick!”). This, to him, showed the evils of patriarchy, and the “hegemony” of males.
He mentioned the usual litany of evils, including the “fact” that women make “less pay for the same work,” apparently unaware of the literature of labor market economics
which shows that women make choices which lower their incomes -- but may be very fulfilling in other ways.
St. Aubin insisted on the “social construction” of gender roles -- shorthand for saying that there are few if any real inherent differences between men and women (although he did admit, in the face of massive evidence, that there are real hormonal differences).
So what is at fault for rape? “Gender rigidity” and “hypermasculinity.” He insisted that the U.S. is, among nations, particularly “rape prone” (an extremely dubious proposition) and that this is the result of the “rigid differentiation of the sexes” and the lack of “nurturing parenthood.”
What is the solution? Pretty much the standard liberal agenda, from Title 9 to chemical castration of sex offenders (which he admitted is controversial), to men doing more housework.
Tobin started off with standard and, if you are used to it, bland politically correct cant. The goal of feminism, she said, is “overcoming gender based oppression.” She said that early feminists stressed legal equality, but that society has to move beyond that.
But the root cause of inequality, she said, is “patriarchy.”
At this point her talk turned interesting, in much the same way that a rant at a Klan rally would be interesting.
Tobin rejected the notion that rapes should be seen as “acts of morally corrupt individuals.” Yes, guys, the fact that you have never raped any women and would
never rape any woman doesn’t let you off the hook. You are still part of the “deep social and political causes” of rape.
Why? Because you are part of a system that involves the “use of violence to keep systems of oppression in place.”
In fact, according to Tobin, you are part of a “protection racket.” Because of the threat of rape, a woman “needs to be protected by men against other men.”
And what is wrong
with men protecting women against rape? For Tobin, the system “forces compliance with traditional norms.” And further, “the penalty for being protected is to conform.”
That’s right, guys. If your girlfriend gets uppity and gets a job in a traditionally male field, you’re going to let her be raped. It’s your devious plot to keep her in line.
Who is at fault? For Tobin, “we are all responsible.”
R. Clifton Spargo
The final speaker was R. Clifton Spargo from the English Department.
While he didn’t exactly accuse all men of being rapists, like Tobin he got pretty close.
He rejected the notion that rape is “merely aberrant, deviant behavior,” and told the male members of the audience “you are living in the rape culture.” Where? “On Campus. In the bars.”
He discussed a continuum of behaviors, including at one end actual rape. But then there was making demeaning comments about women and the use of pornography.
But also on the continuum was tolerating rape (by not reporting a known case, for example) and tolerating demeaning comments that “objectify” women, and tolerating the use of pornography. He admitted these are not equally morally culpable, but insisted they are all part of the phenomenon.
He clearly implied (and St. Aubin said) that if a buddy of yours sees an attractive woman on the beach and says “wow, what a babe!,” it is your responsibility to rebuke him. And presumably, one is required to war against Internet porn, else one is “tolerating” the kinds of attitudes that lead to rape.
Feminists, in other words, are a contemporary variety of prudes. If the old-style prudes thought that letting people read Lady Chatterly’s Lover
would lead to the dissolution of Society as We Know It, the new prudes believe that any appreciation of feminine pulchritude will lead to rape.
One might ask what the point of an event like this is. There is plenty of room to argue pro and con on gun control or government health insurance, but who argues for rape?
The answer the feminists give is: you have to embrace our entire political agenda or you are a rapist —
or at least an accessory to rape. If you oppose Title 9, or women in combat roles in the military, or affirmative action to guarantee that women are half of all business managers, it’s your fault.
The event was very well-attended, largely because several professors had promised their students extra credit points to come.
And students who came without being bribed were doubtless a self-selected bunch who went believing the usual feminist shibboleths, and had their beliefs reinforced.
But would anybody be convinced that feminism doesn’t resolve, essentially, to man hating? The feminists who deny it aren’t lying. They don’t think
they are man haters, they just think they are working for “gender equality.”
But then, the average Klansman would probably insist he has “nothing against Negros.”
In the world of the feminists, the villains are the white males.