The Corner


What Has Campus Feminism Done for Women?

Women attend the Women’s March in Washington D.C., January 21, 2017. (Canice Leung/Reuters)

American college campuses are awash in feminist theory, feminist events, feminist centers, and feminist faculty. But has this done anything to improve the lives of women? In today’s Martin Center article, Shannon Watkins argues that it has done the opposite.

In fact, she dares to suggest that the real “war on women” is being waged under the banner of feminism.

“On the surface,” she writes, “feminist ideals seem to have the good of all women in mind: After all, who would characterize him or herself as opposed to women’s ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’? But a closer look at campus culture reveals that, in order to be considered ‘pro-woman,’ one must accept a narrowly defined set of values — values that many women find unrelatable, if not repulsive. This includes the glorification of abortion, the rejection of masculinity, and the exaltation of sexual liberation.”

One aspect of this is the “hookup culture,” which feminists embrace as bringing about sexual equality. Many campuses celebrate it with “Sex Week” programs. Never mind that promiscuity has led to a great deal of long-term pain. Leftists, of course, always think of short-term pleasure and ignore the long-term. Feminist theory is like “progressive” economics.

Moreover, feminism works as a “gateway drug” to get young women into radical leftist politics.

Watkins writes,

But today’s feminism also has a side that is not even about women; the objective is to use feminism to draw women into the larger leftist political project. A quick glance at programs sponsored by college women’s centers reveals how feminists recruit college women for all types of political purposes. Take, for example, a program sponsored by the women’s centers at both Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: The Moxie Project. As a Moxie Scholar, a student earns a summer stipend while volunteering as an activist in local organizations such as the North Carolina Justice Center, Lillian’s List, and NARAL Pro-Choice.

The shock troops for Democratic campaigns come largely from women who have been indoctrinated with statist notions in college. That’s a big reason why the left loves to subsidize higher education.

As feminism has advanced, have women become happier? On the contrary, they’ve become less happy.

Watkins absolutely nails the truth here:

Even though the winds of change are in the air, the broader feminist movement will likely continue to dominate college campuses in the foreseeable future — with the majority of young women blindly clinging to its destructive narrative. After all, the movement depends on maintaining support from young women: among feminists themselves, women between the ages of 18-34 relate the most to the feminist movement’s current goals. In the attempt to counter this movement, it is important to understand that, more than anything, today’s college women want to fight for a noble cause — they are just largely misguided as to what that cause should be.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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