As I continue my explorations of wokeness in academia via the perusal of college newspaper websites, one thing that strikes me is that it is often difficult to determine if something is meant to be taken seriously. Things are getting so weird out there in university land that I am sometimes not sure whether I am reading an earnest argument or a parody.
Take this column in the GW Hatchet, a student newspaper serving the George Washington University community. The piece is entitled, Feminism at GW needs an intersectional makeover. I thought as I glanced at the title, “Oh, this should be fun—the wacky left is going to attack the women’s movement. Serves the feminists right given how coarse and nutsy they have gotten in recent decades.”
But what we readers get is not so much vitriol as just plain weirdness from the writer. At least mainstream feminism is concerned with the concerns of, you know, women. This student journalist excoriates feminists for being, well, feminists (i.e., women concerned with women’s issues) and demands that feminists surrender any interest in actual women in favor of a policy of that regards a man who says he is a woman to be a woman and to treat said man as a woman. And all of this nonsense is assumed by the writer to be of paramount concern to those attending or teaching at George Washington University.
Here we go with this article. You will soon see, dear reader, what I mean when I say that I had trouble determining that this was not some sort of parody of wokeness. I had to consult a friend who said, yes this was for real and not a send-up of woke wackiness.
The writer starts out by huffing:
I have attended several meetings for feminist organizations on campus that have failed to include gender inclusive language in their dialogues.
One would think it would occur to this person that feminists, being laser-focused on women’s issues, would not want to muddle matters by bringing men (or what the writer calls “nonwomen”—more on whom that covers anon) into the picture.
She goes from fussing about matters of language to calling for the marginalization of actual women in favor of women who refuse to admit that they are women:
People who have a uterus and ovaries, but do not identify as a woman, need access to abortions and other reproductive rights as well. Transgender men, non-binary folks and other genders all fall into this category of people with uteri and ovaries.
Given that the left loves to lecture the rest of the world about “listening to the scientists” one would just point out that the “category of people with uteri and ovaries” are called women. Nothing very complicated there.
I am opposed to abortion, but I sympathize with feminists who are trying to maintain some sense of clarity in the matter of who is involved in it: mothers. (Although, admittedly, feminists ignore the matter of babies and they try to avoid using the word “mother.”) And who are mothers? Women. Abortion activists of the traditional feminist sort must roll their eyes at notions such as our student columnist puts forth:
When noninclusive language is used when discussing abortion rights, it further perpetuates this lack of safety in the health care sector for nonbinary and transgender people.
Abortion activists must despair at point. After decades of seeing as their enemies Christians and other religious people and after years of repeating the mantra, “Decisions about abortion should be left to a woman and her doctor…” are now being hectored by the woke and the transgender thought police into saying, “Decisions about abortion should be left to people who have a uterus and ovaries who could include women who think they are men…” And sometimes they don’t even require uteri or ovaries and refer to “birthing people.”
Like many of the woke, the writer seems to want to eradicate the word “woman” and the concept of womanhood and to reduce women to a dehumanized status based on anatomy:
Instead of using “women,” gender neutral language like “people who can get pregnant” or referring to people anatomically, like “those with uteri,” creates a safe and all-encompassing dialogue. This kind of language should be included in presentations given at meetings, newsletters that are sent out to members and announcements to the public.
(Mind you, given the feminist obsession with vaginas, feminists can scarcely complain about anatomy now trumping everything else about women.)
The writer then returns to displaying her inability to grasp what a women’s movement is for:
To broaden their scope of advocacy, protests like the women’s march and abortion rallies should also adopt gender neutral language.
Yeah, I guess a hundred years ago the slogan “Votes for Women!” should have been “Votes for people with uteri and ovaries!” And why broaden the scope of their advocacy? Isn’t the point of an interest group to advance the interests of a group, not those of everyone on the planet?
The writer, perhaps for just a split second realizing that her proposal to obliterate the use of the word “woman” is not, shall we say, helpful to women argues that including those who refuse to be considered women even though they are and including deluded men who insist they are women is actually good for feminism:
Using gender neutral language, or the advocacy of using gender neutral language, is not intended to take away from the women’s movement or the cisgender women who are indeed the ones primarily affected by abortion bans. But including others in your fight only makes it stronger. Advocacy work, student organizations and class discussions at GW should be intersectional.
Sorry? Expunging the words “woman,” “women” and applying “she” to men renders the women’s movement stronger? Don’t think so…
Should we care about a column by a freshman at George Washington University? After all, we were all young once and young people are finding their way in the world and saying silly things is part of the process of growing up. But there are reasons to follow what is being said in campus newspapers at fairly prestigious universities like this one.
First of all, the fact that a writer at a top university that produces future societal leaders takes for granted that telling other people in a wide variety of settings to use ludicrous wording when it comes to basic facts of biology is perfectly fine is scary. The fact that this writer advocates forcing other people to go along with the charade that a woman is a man or a man is a woman is scary.
Second, the wording and reasoning are hard to decipher making one wonder if the writer herself knows what she means—and that this is what passes for reasoning at a highly rated institution of higher education is also scary. What is one to make of this passage, for instance:
the unique discrimination nonwomen suffer from due to their perception as women
Huh? I take it that a man who dresses like a woman feels that he has been discriminated against if, say, an actual woman takes exception to her sex being made to look ridiculous by some beefy drag queen type flouncing around in a skirt in a classroom. The writer wants everyone to “validate” transgenderism and to refer to “people who can get pregnant” (obviously, the word “female” would work there, but is not “inclusive” enough) and says that using the word “women” is not conducive to the creation of a “a safe and all-encompassing dialogue.”
She also does not see the irony in the idea of eviscerating the women’s movement to benefit two groups in particular a) women who prefer to be thought of as men and b) men who have decided that they are actually women and who wish to secure their life choice by destroying the women’s movement.
Third, it is notable that the writer is only a freshman and the very first thing she wants to do at George Washington University is to censor the speech of others—even of activists. Did she get her ideas about squelching free speech in high school and/or from her family? Are admissions officers at GW intentionally choosing students who want to crush free expression or are they just not aware that when selecting those with the kinds of credentials admissions officers at elite schools look for these days (i.e., lots and lots of social justice-related extracurricular activities) they are also choosing those who do not brook opposition to their zealotry? One wonders if there is much oversight of the admissions office by alums and faculty members and if the admission officers ever ask applicants questions like, “What do you think the mission of a university is? What would you do in a classroom setting if someone said something not in line with your views on something you care deeply about?”
Let us hope that professors and the activist community throughout academia will ignore these demands for “intersectionality” on steroids (which boils down to the simple and not on its face objectionable idea that people can think of themselves as several things at once—female, white, heterosexual, etc. but which has been taken up to advance extreme identarian politics) and concentrate on education.