Thursday, June 19, 2014

Add these to the misandry hall of fame

The year isn't half over, yet we've already seen a rash of kooky statements that evince a disturbing hostility to men and maleness. It is perplexing that these sorts of assertions are rarely widely denounced. What follows are some pretty disturbing quotations collected from just this year alone:

Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, declared that campus policies aren't going far enough to protect students. She asked: "Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?"

Dartmouth defended Childress's comment, noting that she "was asking a question—a provocative one—meant to generate dialogue around complex issues for which answers are necessary to continue to strengthen and promote fair and equitable processes at all colleges and universities.”

Ms. Magazine blog intern Emily Shugerman says that men who are suing colleges for alleged violations of their due process rights in connection with sexual assault claims are just "playing the victim" and that their suits are a "backlash" in the "face of this rising tide of feminist action."

The Ms. Magazine blog also quotes someone named Caroline Heldman, a professor at Occidental College: "These lawsuits are an incredible display of entitlement, the same entitlement that drove them to rape."

California’s Senate Bill 967 would codify the use of the low “preponderance of the evidence” standard (50.01% likelihood) in sexual assault cases on campus and mandate “affirmative consent” at every step of a sexual encounter. The co-author of the bill in the Assembly, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, said when she was asked how an innocent person is supposed to prove consent: “Your guess is as good as mine. I think it’s a legal issue. Like any legal issue, that goes to court.

Stanford grad students Anna Ninan and Jonny Dorsey wrote: "While an alleged sexual assault is under investigation, the principle of innocence until proven guilty and the right of all students to pursue their education free from fear or intimidation may be in conflict." They said: "Stanford needs a process for considering the balance of harms in adjudicating such conflicts." How do Ninan and Dorsey propose that the "balance" be struck? By "tak[ing] the survivor's perspective," of course. Specifically: "Stanford should . . . consider the option of removing accused students from campus on a case-by-case basis . . .."

Jenny Davis said the use of the word "seminal" is "blatantly sexist" and "perpetuate[s] inequalities or marginalization."

A petition to ban a statue of a sleepwalking man at Wellesley College said the statue was "a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for many members of our campus community," and "a source of undue stress for many Wellesley College students."

Zoe Magid, a Wellesley College junior, said this about the statue ". . . it's making students on campus feel unsafe . . . ."

Tracey Spicer wrote: "I know it's sexist. But I don't want my kids sitting next to a man on a plane."

Sen. Claire McCaskill circulated an extensive survey about sexual assault to 350 college and university presidents. The survey classifies persons who make accusations of sexual misconduct as “victims,” and in one place calls persons merely accused of sexual misconduct “offenders.” Then on page 14, it contains this query: "Below is a list of policies and procedures that may discourage victims from disclosing and reporting assaults at some schools . . . . 1. Disclosure of offender’s rights in the adjudication process . . . ." The implication: it is somehow improper to insure that students accused of serious sexual offenses are aware of their rights.

A jury acquitted former Dartmouth student Parker Gilbert of raping a female student at the school in a "he said/she said" dispute. A juror told a reporter “(The woman’s) story of how the night played out, the evidence wasn’t there to support that." And: “There is tons and tons of evidence that just doesn’t add up.” But WISE, an organization that seeks to empower victims of domestic and sexual violence, issued a formal statement: "Today’s decision in the Dartmouth rape trial of Parker Gilbert is devastating and there is no doubt that it sends a terrible message to survivors of sexual assault."

James Taranto wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal in which he said that it is unjust to hold only the male responsible for sexual assault when sex partners engage in mutually reckless, drunken sex; that is, when they engage in precisely the same conduct and the only difference is that one has a penis and one has a vagina. Tara Culp-Ressler twisted Taranto's words beyond recognition: "In a Wall Street Journal column published on Monday," Culp-Ressler wrote, "conservative commentator James Taranto argued that a 'balanced' approach to the college sexual assault crisis involves placing equal blame on rapists and their victims, if both of them were drinking alcohol." (Shortly after that, the nation's leading authority on campus sexual violence, Brett Sokolow, cautioned colleges that when a man and a woman engage in mutually tipsy sex, the school can't single out the male for discipline because that would be discrimination against him.)

Duke University Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek was asked what would happen if two students got drunk to the point of incapacity, and then had sex. "Assuming it is a male and female, it is the responsibility in the case of the male to gain consent before proceeding with sex," said Wasiolek.

Pamela Geller had a conniption because major universities are instituting "non-gender specific bathrooms" that have both stalls and urinals. Geller explained that unless your daughter is the type who will "fellate any guy who asks her to, and if she actually respects herself, her body and her self-worth, this could be – sexually traumatic."

●A male student writing in The Technician, student daily newspaper of North Carolina State University, said that "as men, we have no right to tell women what rape is. We have no right to weigh in on the logistics of what constitutes rape. Our role is to shut up and stop raping people."

I think the reason that these sorts of outlandish, anti-male sentiments are largely given a free pass in the mainstream media, while less egregious comments about women are immediately denounced, is because the media treats groups that are perceived to be disadvantaged with greater sensitivity. A couple of years ago, the BBC's director-general admitted that Christianity is treated with far less sensitivity than other religions because it is "pretty broad shouldered."  Since most positions of authority are occupied by males, comments like the ones quoted above are largely ignored.

The problem is, of course, that while men are more likely than women to occupy positions of authority, there are also more men than women at the bottom rungs of society. For virtually every social pathology, more men than women are afflicted.

The mainstream media's insensitivity to issues affecting men is a misplaced and outmoded remnant of an era long since passed. The aforementioned statements, and many others like them, ought to evoke far greater scrutiny by the mainstream media.