The Corner

Education

The Baleful Effect of #MeToo on Campus

Old Campus at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, November 28, 2012. (Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters)

Remember the series of hurricanes that pounded the Caribbean last summer? Something like that has been occurring on college campuses, as they’re hit by one destructive mania after another: diversity, Title IX, anti-speech protests. Now it’s the #MeToo Movement. In this Martin Center article, British academic Joanna Williams writes about its impact, both in the U.S. and the U.K.

She writes,

Many argue that #MeToo has provided a much-needed check on Hollywood’s sexist exploitation of women and has shone a useful light on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. The burgeoning movement has grown to encompass a wide range of behaviors from rape and sexual assault to unwanted hugs and clumsy seductions. Campaigners say offenses against women are on a continuum: the unwanted hug legitimizes men’s entitlement to women’s bodies and therefore rape. But this argument serves to trivialize the most serious crimes as equivalent moral outrage is dispensed for both misconstrued affection and serious criminal offenses.

One of the problems Williams sees is the creation of anonymous naming and shaming lists which are an open invitation to abuse, but that doesn’t matter to the activists who are only concerned with the supposed “greater good.”

Naturally, schools, especially those run by “woke” administrators are falling into line with more regulations meant to prevent any unwanted contact or attention ever. For example, Williams writes,

At Antioch [College], the discussion of consent is now moving beyond sex and friends are encouraged to ask permission before giving hugs. The freedom to negotiate relationships for yourself, to be spontaneous and relaxed, is, it seems, something Antioch’s students are happy to sacrifice in favor of policing one another’s behavior.

Exactly — these authoritarians are mainly interested in policing one another’s behavior — as well as their thinking.

Williams concludes,

Individual men risk losing their reputation and livelihood, but women as a whole risk losing hard-won freedoms. The days of chaperones, curfews, and single-sex dorms are not that far behind us. Whereas a previous generation of feminists fought against these restrictions, today’s campus activists call for increased regimentation and dubious protections. This is a hollow victory for women.

Quite right.

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

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