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 The Best Valentine's Day Gift for College Students:
Gender Reconciliation

By Glenn Sacks

 

Valentine's Day, once a happy occasion for college students, has instead become a day of rancor and discord which symbolizes the divide between men and women on college campuses.

Much of the sour sentiment surrounding Valentine's Day has been caused by Eve Ensler's "holiday" campaign "V-Day: Until the Violence Stops." For years the holiday's backers and its campus supporters in Women's Studies departments and women's centers have propagated a series of discredited falsehoods which stigmatize and vilify men by wildly exaggerating the extent of American men's violence against women. Dissident feminist Christian Hoff Sommers calls these canards "hate statistics."

Ensler's "holiday" is now "celebrated" on over 500 college campuses, and college newspapers are saturated both with misandrist (anti-male) V-Day ads and approving news stories and opinion columns. Valentine's Day, which in the past symbolized the romantic bonds between men and women, has been turned into a day which further separates them.

Bringing gender reconciliation to our college campuses will require several reforms and changes, the first and foremost of which is the reformation of Women's Studies.

Women's Studies began as a legitimate attempt to recapture women's lost place in "his story" as well as in modern culture, and to highlight the massive yet often hidden societal contributions of women. However, as many dissident feminists have noted, feminism has been hijacked by a bigoted minority which has excluded moderates and freethinkers. Women's Studies has become, to use Lenin's term, a "transmission belt" carrying misandry into the population at large. Both by its ability to capture media attention and its influence on the thinking of the 2.3 million men and women who graduate college every year, Women's Studies has helped poison American culture against men.

Rather than employing an entire class of academics who are paid to research, invent, teach, and propagate misandry, we need academic programs that promote true scholarship. The voices of dissident feminists and men's advocates, which are currently excluded, must be heard. These include: the eminently sensible Cathy Young, Camille Paglia, Wendy McElroy, Warren Farrell, and Sommers; as well as many others.

Second, we need anti-misandrist campus political organizations dedicated to promoting gender reconciliation. Many feminist groups and campus women's centers claim, at least in public, that "men are welcome here, too." Some have even changed their names to include men, and many now include male victims among the female victims in their statistics sections.

However, the reality behind their “welcome” is that men are invited to join feminist groups so they can be taught to dislike men as much as feminists do. Male victims are only listed and acknowledged if the perpetrator of the crime is also male, as in child molestation or domestic violence between gay men. Crimes committed primarily by women, such as child abuse, parental murder of children, and child endangerment, are ignored, as are heterosexual male victims of domestic violence and victims of false accusations of rape or abuse.

Campus groups which seek gender reconciliation face many challenges. For example, the University of New Hampshire group Stop Hating Men, formed in February of last year, disbanded because it faced a wall of feminist-generated hostility and stood little chance of getting administrative approval.

On a more basic level, men need to stand up for themselves and women need to stand up for what is fair. Men's silence has been partly responsible for allowing the discussion of gender issues to become a one-way diatribe which has raged unchecked by opposing views or reality.

Part of the reason why men have not resisted is that many men genuinely want to help the women they've been told they oppress. Many others are simply chivalrous and, after thousands of years of being conditioned to protect women, have little desire to battle or even criticize them.

Still others have been shamed into silence. After all, any complaints a young man might have pale in comparison to the seething world of rape and battery which they've been told lies behind the walls of every college dormitory.

As a result, anti-male bigots have committed countless campus outrages—without resistance. In Catharine A. MacKinnon: The Rise of a Feminist Censor, 1983-1993, Christopher M. Final describes a scene which might properly be labeled modern collegiate America's darkest hour. According to Final, during MacKinnon's 1989 Yale commencement address she said:

"Some of the proud mothers in the audience [are] sitting next to men who [have] battered them. Some of the well-dressed fathers [have] sexually abused the women who [are] now graduating."

The men's reaction to this outrage should have been an immediate and unanimous walk out—and every decent woman should have been right behind them. Instead, as Final notes, "the unfairness of [MacKinnon's] generalization did not diminish the enthusiasm of her supporters. They led the audience in a standing ovation for their departing heroine."

And the men—most of whom had worked long hours for decades to support their families and allow their daughters to attend one of the world's most prestigious universities—did not resist, instead remaining mute, silenced and shamed.

There are signs that college men and women are weary of misandry and are finding common ground. College students are increasingly looking away from the political correctness on their anti-male campuses and towards alternative views, largely via the Internet. While anti-male feminists have largely succeeded in locking up the campus media (just as they have done with much of the mainstream media), they cannot do the same with the Internet.

Most importantly, more and more young men and women sense that misandry benefits neither men nor women. As one recent UCLA graduate school graduate noted:

"I've never understood how misinforming women helps women. The average woman is going to have a lot of important men in her life—her husband, her sons, her relatives, her coworkers. Do feminists really believe women want to see these men defamed and stigmatized? Who wins from this?"

This column first appeared in She Thinks (2/13/03).

Glenn Sacks writes about gender issues from the male perspective. He can be reached at Glenn@GlennSacks.com.

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