Jewish World Review Nov 28, 2005/ 26 Mar-Cheshvan,
The naked truth on campus
College has always been about pranks, the more bizarre the
better. Swallowing goldfish shocked the home folks in Grandpa's day. Panty
raids scandalized generations that followed, and then came stuffing a
half-dozen co-eds, as the young women were once quaintly called, into a
telephone booth. (Ain't we got fun?)
Stealing panties is hardly shocking when boys and girls live
together, sharing bedrooms, bathrooms, closets and everything else, no doubt
occasionally even panties. Animal-rights fanatics would shut down the campus
now if someone even suggested snacking on a goldfish. Everybody's got a cell
phone, and no one can remember a telephone booth.
Nevertheless, Joe College and Carolyn Campus must find something
dumb enough to shock the grown-ups who pay the bills. The difference is that
pranksters on the contemporary campus take the prank seriously, mixing
political perversity with sexual exhibitionism. Or is it mixing sexual
perversity with political exhibitionism? Students at Columbia University,
for example, ape contemporaries at Yale and Brown with a bash with only one
rule, that everything you wear to the party has to be left at the door.
"Compadres," reads the invitation obtained by the New York Sun,
"join us in refusing to comply with a culture that tells us to hide our
[sic] body, to be ashamed of its scents, secretions, curves, and hair, to
conceal those parts that have been dealt sexual connotations." It demands
ending the bondage known as "clothing" in exchange for partying "like the
savages we really are."
The young scholars are in dead earnest, and signal that even
though Columbia University has not abandoned its core curriculum, remaining
one of the few elite schools to require study in Western civilization, the
folks on Morningside Heights are just as hip as the kids in Harvard Yard.
They pride themselves on challenging the status quo, which is difficult,
since it's almost impossible to find a quo to challenge.
The only authentic challenge to a campus quo might be dressing
modestly, in clean clothes and leather shoes, dancing to a waltz and sipping
Earl Grey from a china cup. Behavior this shocking would have deprived a
certain Yale student of the learning experience of interaction with law and
order. He pleaded "no contest" to fourth-degree sexual assault after a young
woman accused him of drugging and attacking her at a party where clothing
was not optional.
What's not optional on campus is the straitjacket of conformity
dictated by the politically correct culture, which imposes a vulgarization
of just about everything between men and women. Feminism, which set out to
empower women, now deconstructs them to the sum of their specific body
parts. In "The Second Sex," which is required reading in most women's
studies courses, Simone de Beauvoir describes a pregnant women as merely an
incubator with eggs.
But that's the Torah of the bible of feminism. New
Testament feminism is captured in Eve Ensler's play, "The Vagina
Monologues." Although it purports to be a tract against violence against
women, the play actually reduces women to the sexual object it sets out to
liberate, offering explicit and voyeuristic descriptions of child rape,
lesbian sex, and even a 6-year-old describing the vagina she probably didn't
know she had. Eve Ensler says she was inspired by being sexually abused by
"The Vagina Monologues" has become so popular on campus that on
many campuses, "V-Day" has replaced St. Valentine's Day, with romance
replaced by a "celebration" of female body parts, with recitations such as
"My Angry Vagina" and "Reclaiming [Most Intimate Body Part]." Participants
are encouraged to shout the four-letter word that women have always regarded
as the vilest of all four-letter words. On one campus, the actress Glenn
Close exhorts 2,500 young men and women to stand up and chant the word;
Wesleyan University has established a "[vile word] workshop"; Roseanne Barr,
who redefines the meaning of vile, performs in her underwear, discussing
certain bodily scents, for an audience of 2,000. Devotees can buy the body
part of the hour sculpted in glass, lollipops and lamps.
The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute (www.cblpi.org), which is
dedicated to mentoring and training conservative women leaders on campus,
has received so many complaints about V-Day that it recruits speakers to
articulate alternative values, to talk about marriage, motherhood, and the
accomplishments of women in professions other than exhibitionism.
"The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute," says its president,
Michelle Easton, "sets out to reclaim the romance and beauty of Valentine's
Day, to celebrate the intellect, strength, integrity, and spirit of the
modern American woman, and promote respect in a way to honor rather than
debase and degrade women." If the message is not shocking enough, the women
speak fully clothed.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington
and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.
Suzanne Fields Archives
© 2005, Suzanne Fields, Creators Syndicate