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An open letter to feminist students (from a guy who shoots straight)

Perhaps you’ll smear all of what follows as “mansplaining” so as to extricate yourself from critical engagement. That would be a shame, though not wholly unanticipated.

Rather than focusing obsessively on tiny slights to your uberliberal, niche multiculturalist sensibilities (e.g., “offensive” Halloween costumes—and yet you conspicuously ignore honor killings in the Middle East and elsewhere), odd pronoun and gendering preferences (what the Hell does “zir” even mean?!), and an almost militant cognizance of microaggressions, let’s work instead toward a targeted assessment of truly consequential issues and craft plans to rectify them.

First and foremost, we should be angry that university bureaucracies and administrators have infantilized our sense of rape and sexual assault, cheapening their meaning beyond recognition.

Simply put, if you go out and get drunk, hook-up with someone, and then regret your decision the morning after, news flash: That is not rape. Do you know what it is, though? It’s called life, and life is messy and full of mistakes.

Do you know what mistakes demand? That we dust ourselves off, man up, and move forward. (Yes, I specifically chose to employ gender-reinforcing phraseology. Deal with it, because it’s another part of life!)

It is repugnant that women are coached by feminist enablers who are, broadly speaking, informed by the ideology’s principles to reinterpret past sexual encounters as rape because they presently feel emotionally damaged—and are then actively encouraged to weaponize that regret to the ruin of many young men who are simply following cultural cues brought about by the Sexual Revolution—ostensibly a feminist movement, to boot.

We should be sickened by the abrogation of due process in the wake of this hysteria. It is not the job of a university to adjudicate potential rape claims. That task falls to and is within the purview of police departments (which gather evidence) and then to the courts (which discern the veracity of said evidence and, if necessary, then mete out a proportional punishment). The rule of law and due process specifically were enshrined in our Constitution to protect the rights of the accused (yes, they do indeed retain certain rights, ladies), and insulate them from tyrannical, mob-like, groupthink-fueled decisions (think Rolling Stone’s UVA rape scandal non-story or Emma Sulkowicz, “Mattress Girl,” of Columbia).

Given the fallibility of human beings, working in environments of both limited and incomplete information, I’d say that the principle has worked remarkably well, that it’s the best one we’ve got, and that we ought to continue making full use of it.

We should also be especially concerned over intolerant zealots’ dictating what is and is not worthy speech. We should have been up in arms when Manchester University (in a supreme fit of irony) censored Milo Yiannopoulos and Julie Bindel from debating whether feminism has a nasty habit of, you guessed it, censoring free speech.

In the real world, “safe spaces” do not, and frankly cannot, exist. Out there, individuals will not spare fragile psyches. They will speak the way they will speak and say the things they will say. Megalomaniacal language-policing, especially of “hate speech”—which is quite obviously not speech deemed genuinely harmful but rather is merely a politically expedient smear used to signal your disagreement with an idea or argument—does not accomplish much.

Universities are places where critical thought ought to be encouraged and where exploring new ideas and concepts should be accompanied by a certain sort of fearlessness. They are places of learning, of tradition, and of growth. Or they should be. Universities are now run like businesses, and businesses seek to maximize their profits by making their customers as happy as possible. So is it any wonder that we see universities catering to every obscure complaint, every student’s nebulous charge that they feel “unsafe”?

Ladies, on to the matter of love: We have been sold a lie regarding sex and relationships. Despite popular opinion and feminist assurances, hooking-up endlessly will not make you happy, and, yes, women enjoy random hook-ups with total strangers much less than men do. Anyone who has had even the briefest interactions with women knows this readily. Informing them that water is wet would probably be more earth-shattering to them.

And yet, we are endlessly treated to repeated calls to “de-stigmatize” promiscuity and to put an end to the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad practice of “slut-shaming,” as though turning a blind(er) eye to the socially destructive behavior of sleeping around will help. Women are wired for relational intimacy, not transient spurts of uncommitted pleasure. An endless parade of campus “Sex Weeks” will never change that fact.

Allow me another dose of reality. That the “patriarchy” is still even proffered as something we ought to take seriously is itself a joke and … I can’t even really get mad at this one, just sort of chuckle, really.

American women are freer and more successful today than at any other point in history and in any other country. We should respect people’s choices and stop whining about a fictitious gender imbalance. (See here, here, here and here.)

Meanwhile, reigning feminist theory attempts like mad to distort and downplay to the point of erasure the prima facie reality that there truly are real, substantive, non-trivial differences between the sexes. Men and women are simply different, to their cores, and no amount of high-falutin’ posturing, silky words, and arcane academic articles published in journals that no one reads (and who has the time to try to understand them anyway?) can change that. Somewhere along the way to locking themselves away in their ivory towers, egocentric academics became mired in a​n ersatz​ attempt at piercing inquiry (at bottom, it’s purely ideologically driven). Tragically, they have lost an extremely basic, commonsense view, undoubtedly held by a vast majority of the world’s population (over 93 percent of which is not college educated, remember!): that men are men and not women, and women are women and not men. The two are different. What a shocker!

Some declare feminism dead. The movement is unhinged, unmoored from its original purpose—and manifestly unattractive as a result. Stereotypes often come from a place of truth, however small that place might be. I ask you to consider the stereotypes of your own movement, and ask: Why?

Take steps now to reclaim and purify it or watch it eat its own. It truly is your choice.

Deion Kathawa

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About the Author
Deion Kathawa -- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor