On Wednesday The Washington Post printed an article focusing on Professor Elizabeth Velez's Feminist Theory class, which has 16 students (15 female and one Renfield), many of whom are quoted (except the Renfield, which was good, because as everyone knows, there is no room for men in the feminist movement except as Renfields).
The article is interesting in the sense that it discusses the unease many students have with modern feminism which as we note in our Arguments & Ideas page, is for all intents and purposes a movement focused on encouraging women to play the victim, securing preferential treatment for women vis-à-vis men, and creating a culture that allows women to avoid the consequences of their own freely chosen decisions.
There's also that thing about trigger warnings and silencing others, which we reported on at the beginning of last semester in our five-part series for freshmen entitled "The Year You Missed: Class of 2019 Edition." We also mentioned feminism on Wednesday in a post where we present a video by Lauren Southern in which she DESTROYS feminism in all of three minutes.
Because seriously, that's about as long as it takes.
Oh yeah, and did we also mention feminism is mainly interested in dealing with the concerns of middle and upper-class white girls and not minorities or those on the low-end of the socioeconomic spectrum?
The article, like so much of the content in the mainstream media, presents itself as a "news" piece, though if read closely, you see it's really a defense of the term "feminist" and questions younger women who take issue with the movement's toxic and angry politics. The authors also bring up the wage gap myth, which has even been thoroughly debunked by The Washington Post itself and isn't believed by anyone who is being honest with themselves or who has a basic understanding of statistics.
Another interesting thing about the article is it got Velez to admit that her left-wing activist politics informs her Women's Studies classes (beware: the same is true for all such grievance industry courses), which is clearly is not about the pursuit of truth and the attainment of knowledge (one might say these two things should be the goals of all courses), but about turning her students into professional victims and feminists activists.
Also revealed is Velez's and her more ardent students' belief that feminism should be highly exclusionary and if you don't believe in free abortions on-demand, then apparently, you're not much different than a racist who wants to restrict voting rights and you should be excluded from the movement . . .
The last 15 minutes of the 2½-hour class, though, were devoted to Fiorina, the lightning-rod former CEO of Hewlett-Packard now running a middling race for the Republican presidential nomination. Of particular interest to Velez’s class was Fiorina’s identifying herself as a feminist, trumpeting her own triumphs in the business world and espousing a view that all women have the internal strength to fight their way to the top.
“A feminist,” Fiorina once wrote, “is a woman who lives the life she chooses.”
However, Fiorina also opposes abortion rights — an essential plank in the feminist platform since the movement’s earliest days — and has spoken out in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood.
The question Velez put to her class: Could Fiorina legitimately claim to be a feminist while fighting against abortion rights? The majority opinion seemed to be no. It is one thing to be opposed to abortion, students argued, but yet another thing to actively seek to ban it.
But there was another, smaller faction in the class that wasn’t ready to exclude a powerful woman and role model who wanted to identify herself as a feminist.
“We have this weird and often damaging tendency to [divide people], where you’re either one thing or you’re not,” said sophomore Grace Smith, a government and women’s and gender studies double-major (Free Advice: Grace, with a women's and gender studies major you're signalling to most employers you're a hiring risk and chose to waste your time in college by taking frivolous courses, which means with that major on your resume you are severely limiting your future employment opportunities . . . drop it, keep the government one, and pick up a difficult language or something else STEM or business-related . . . you'll be glad you did) from Troy, N.Y. “ ‘You’re either a man or a woman.’ ‘You’re either a feminist or you’re not.’ And I think there is a gray area, and I think being a feminist takes all different forms, and at the core of it is being inclusive and not excluding.”
Velez mostly keeps her own views to herself in class, in the interest of sparking the students’ own discoveries. But here, she spoke up.
“One of the things I am struck by is your desire to be inclusive,” she said, addressing the class collectively. “Y’all are saying: ‘We don’t want to exclude somebody. We want feminism to be broader and inclusive.’ [But] the thing I want you to focus on for a minute is [that feminism] is not about breaking through barriers in your own life. It’s not about being successful as a CEO. Those are personal goals we might have. [But] the word has to mean something. It’s got to have some boundaries. Because otherwise it’s just this feel-good kind of word that [means], ‘Hey, we’re all feminists; we’re all in this together.’ ”
Velez had touched a nerve, and one student quickly fired back. “I feel like the personal is also a part of feminism,” said junior Victoria Riley, a women’s and gender studies major from Hyattsville, Md. “Being assertive and all the things [Fiorina] mentioned, even though they’re not everything, they’re still important to recognize, as well. And not just say, ‘That’s not feminism, this is feminism.’ ”
“You make a very good point,” Velez said. But at the very end of class, as the shadows out the window grew long across the Dahlgren Quadrangle, she left her students with this thought. “Let me just say this: There are a lot of people I don’t want on board,” Velez said. “If we were talking about race instead of gender, and someone said, ‘Listen, I really am a supporter of civil rights — but I don’t support voting rights’ — I’m sorry, I don’t want you in that particular group.”
The final thing of note in the article is how the people who are increasingly rejecting the political aspects of feminism are redefining it to be more about personal issues. The piece suggests this is because they see themselves (accurately) as living in a world where equal rights have been achieved and where women as a group tend to have it better than men, so their focus is on securing certain personal desires, such as being able to express themselves however they want sexually (i.e. not be judged for sleeping around) and have both a career and family (i.e. not lose any promotion opportunities or income if they take more time off than their male or single female peers to have children and be good moms).
This lack of interest in feminist politics makes sense when you look at the statistics regarding certain quality of life issues broken down by gender and see that in many ways women are better off and treated more equally than men, not to mention the fact female issues are intensely reported on and addressed by a wide array of programs whereas men's issues are generally ignored or made light of (especially by feminists).
For instance, women outlive men by an average of five years, are more likely to go to college, are more likely to have higher grades in both high school and college, are more likely to graduate from college, are more likely to go to graduate school, are less likely to die of suicide or homicide (79% of all suicides in the U.S. are men and 77.4% of homicide victims are male), are less likely to be homeless (75% of the homeless are men), are less likely to die on the job (92% of which are men), are less likely go to prison (93.4% of prisoners are men), experience a lower incidence of rape ("The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women." also, see here, here and here), and are more likely to earn a higher salary in their post-graduation years than men until they opt out starting around their late 20s or early 30s in order to have a family or achieve a better work-life balance by working less hours or choosing less demanding careers.
At any rate, it's a good thing feminism is changing and that younger women are finding it less attractive. Maybe now if they actually start focusing on equal rights, quit the man-hating, and starting caring about issues beyond those of privileged white women, then the number of people not considering themselves feminists will dip below 82% (translation for feminists who find math hard: only 18% of Americans consider themselves one of you).