The Corner

Education

Here’s One Feminist Prof Who Thinks the ‘Rape Culture’ Notion Is Nonsense

Yes, there are a few leftists with enough intellectual integrity to admit when their narratives about the world are wrong. Count among them Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis, who has written an illuminating book about the “campus rape culture” idea that has so many “progressives” in its grip, demanding various government policies to protect women. Her book is entitled Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus and in today’s Martin Center article, Shannon Watkins discusses it.

Speaking of the fight against those unwanted advances by men on campus, Watkins writes, “while this fight is meant to help women, Kipnis contends that it is undermining fundamental feminist principles of autonomy and gender equality.” Just so — feminism was originally about liberating women, but the crusade to stamp out “rape culture” is treating them like helpless objects requiring incessant protection.

Kipnis opposes the Obama standards that made a mockery of due process for men accused of harassment to rape and uses the case of a faculty colleague of hers, Peter Ludlow, to show how those standards lead to injustice.

Watkins concludes her review:

Unwanted Advances shows that campus feminists often contradict feminism’s traditional focus on female autonomy and responsibility. If they truly wish to combat problems such as sexual violence, they should not peddle myths or an agenda that give rise to paternalistic and unjust campus regulations. Doing so alienates potential allies, and does nothing to promote female empowerment.

In other words, the campus rape-culture narrative is just another of those leftist causes that does real damage while hoodwinking people into going along with increasing government power over them.

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

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