Once “feminists” were strong women, proud to be women, and confident of their strength. Liberal feminists aimed at equality with men, equal pay for equal work, the right to compete for the same jobs, and a fair shot at an equal playing field. Radical feminists sought a re-imagining of the world, where men would be conquered by powerful, “womyn-centered-womyn” who would best them by virtue of their basic moral and intellectual superiority.
Today’s so-called feminists are unworthy of the name. They have not only created a vision of women that focuses almost exclusively on their genitalia (a bizarre parallel to the male sexism they once decried and no one accepts any more), but one that diminishes their abilities to the point that they cannot be taken seriously as adults.
Modern college feminists, instead of being empowered by the enormous range of options they now have, imprison themselves by insisting that nothing in education, culture, society, or politics should be allowed to confront their biases, challenge their assumptions, or “trigger” their emotions.
This is the exact opposite of what “college” is supposed to be.
Alan Dershowitz says “The university should be an uncomfortable place for comfortable ideas.” I will argue, as well, that it should be just as much a safe space for dangerous thoughts. The university should provide the boundary within which the boundaries can be stretched and strained, pushed and prodded. It should be a place full to the brim not only of the conventional, but also of increasingly free, creative—even forbidden—thoughts. Concepts confronted in college by men and women learning to be individuals and citizens should be challenging—even “triggering—to encourage moral and intellectual growth.
If a university is a “safe” space for emotions because it is a restricted space for intellectual debate, it is no better a conduit of education than a day-care center. In this intellectual space, all the unpleasant concepts are covered like the sharp corners on the snack table, to protect fragile feminist ears from being confronted with ideas that might make them uncomfortable. In such an atmosphere, it is impossible to learn anything of value, and the only result of such an education is to reinforce pre-existing biases and produce stunted children with stagnant minds.
Until the humorless politically correct regime began its climb to the top of the academic mountain, the university experience was as much about becoming an adult as, say, becoming a business major. It was a means of growth, a place where Intellectual exercises were rigorous and demanding, where previously sheltered children discovered that the things they thought they thought weren’t their thoughts at all. And then they could begin to think their own thoughts, with the tools to analyze them.
Today, however, the university has become a place to become a mere graduate after four years of resolute indoctrination as to what is and is not funny, and what may and may not be thought—much less, said. The only exceptions to the “do not offend” rule of campus speech codes are (surprise!) Christians. If a Christian is offended, it is because he or she is “oppressing” the offending speaker, or exercising “privilege.” There is no appeal. And, of course, if the Christian gives “offense,” however imaginary, there is no grace to be had.
The “special snowflakes” who cannot be triggered and must live exclusively in their “safe space” cocoons are depriving others of a legitimate and useful education. If you are an adult human being frightened by words and ideas, perhaps college is not the place for you.
How ironic it is that the new order of feminism seeks to restrict speech and thought and the things that make us uncomfortable. What, exactly, do they think feminism is? Is it not a set of ideas that were, at one time, incredibly disruptive to the status quo and the moral order? A new, unapproved, unwelcome notion that made many people “uncomfortable?”
Do they not understand that once it was feminism itself that was a forbidden and “triggering” thought, and women that were suppressed and silenced? As with their compatriots in the gay rights movement, now that feminists have gotten their ideas out into the mainstream and captured the fancy of the educational, political, and entertainment establishments, they seek to silence everyone else—by taking away from others the very avenue through which they got what they have.
But they should be careful in their zeal to impose speech codes and censorship, to ban frightening ideas and to suppress politically impure thoughts. From their own histories they should realize that ideas and thoughts do not stay buried long, and even if you try to ban them, they will come to life in the place you’re not watching.
One of the best dancers I ever knew was a Chinese man who had grown up during the Cultural Revolution, when all things Western were banned. He and his young friends met in basements, playing forbidden records, and learned ballroom dancing when the state wasn’t looking.
Ideas can’t be killed.
Someday feminists may find themselves in the cross-hairs. The culturally-preferred opinions may someday clash with theirs. Tradition may return—or liberalism may go beyond feminism, or reject it entirely.
Then they will pine for that intellectual freedom they tried so hard to abolish.