(Or alternatively: how do we communicate that bra-burning is just fine?)
Anti-feminism is alive and well.
Virginia is an odd place. Being a typical battleground state and incredibly politically diverse, there are a plethora of perspectives within even the smallest radius. We have everything in this state from the Twin Oaks Community and activism-rich Charlottesville, to some of the largest and most prominent conservative institutions in the country.
One of those institutions made some …interesting headlines this week. Patrick Henry College, widely considered by some of the country’s most conservative people to be an incredibly rigorous, Classically-inspired collegiate environment. While PHC definitely espouses a markedly conservative and religion-centered worldview, its students are some of the smartest and most capable I have ever met.
Which is the why the content of their most reason “Faith and Reason” Lecture is particularly disconcerting and uncomfortable. Professor Baskerville of Patrick Henry College gave a lecture supposedly discussing the concept of ideology, but it quickly turned into a problematic attack on feminism, at one point going so far as to equating feminism with Stalinist Russia. He claims that feminism and the “Sexual Revolution” is responsible for rape, child abuse, and high incarceration rates. He even goes on show clear sympathy with those accused of rape.
This is rape culture, people. Right in our own backyard.
This mandatory lecture at PHC has come under a lot of fire, but my question goes concerns that student body, which is in fact co-ed. What does it mean to be a strong, independent woman at a Christian institution? Regardless of whether or not one aligns oneself with the feminist ideology, what does it feel like to be told that women’s increased independence is responsible for some of our society’s most heinous crimes? Is that environment one in which they feel comfortable with expressing discomfort with enforced ideologies of authority figures? I don’t have these answers, and would love some input.
The chief concept behind this rhetoric of feminist-blame and demonization is doubtlessly caused by and fundamental misunderstanding of what feminism entails, what feminists do. People are threatened by what they don’t know, and this is usually regardless of how far left or right one is.
How do we open this conversation up to those who don’t understand feminism or have never been exposed to it? How do we avoid feminism becoming a closed circle of people sitting around agreeing with each other?
A PHC alumnus’s response to the lecture: http://www.patrolmag.com/2013/09/14/david-sessions/a-response-to-stephen-baskervilles-lecture-at-patrick-henry-college/
The bloody thing itself: http://www.scribd.com/doc/168175446/Stephen-Baskerville-Politicizing-Potiphar-s-Wife
Antoinette Tuff: Meet the Woman Who Prevented a Mass School Shooting Yesterday
Fortunately, Tuesday’s gunman incident at an elementary school near Atlanta ended with no injuries or deaths. This is mainly thanks to Antoinette Tuff, a school clerk who spent about an hour calmly persuading the gunman to put his rifle down and surrender.
Tuff feared the worst when she encountered the gunman carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and other weapons in her school office. She told reporters, “I saw a young man ready to kill anybody that he could.” Approximately 870 pre-kindergarten to fifth grade students at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia were safely evacuated during the incident. While the gunman exchanged some shots with the police, no one was hurt.
Tuff told Atlanta’s local news station that the 20-year-old gunman was able to pass the school’s security because he followed a parent who had not shut the door. She immediately began speaking with the gunman in an attempt to reason with him. The gunman told her he had nothing to live for before loading his gun. “I just started talking to him … I let him know what was going on with me and that it would be OK,” she said. “I give it all to God, I’m not the hero. I was terrified.”
She told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that much of her conversation focused not only on trying to understand the gunman, but also on trying to get the gunman to relate to her. “I just started telling him stories,” she said, and things like, “You don’t have to die today.” Tuff told him a story of tragedy in her own life, and explained to reporters that she simply asked him to put his weapons down and surrender to police. She “talked him through it” by reminding him that “life will still bring about turns, but we can learn from it.”
Student Social Justice Organizing Retreat
Prince Gallitzin State Park in Patton, PA
July 19 - 22
*Free* (but we pool resources, from camping gear to carpools)
Join students organizers from across the Northeast for a weekend of sharpening our organizing skills, building effective campaigns for justice, and having a great time camping out! Half party in nature, half fine-tuning your organizing skills, the plan is to get to know other student organizers in our regions, share ideas, campaigns, and organizing skills, sing and tell ghost stories and campaign victory stories around the campfire, roast marshmallows, play Truth or Dare… the whole bit. Don’t miss this fun, free, impactful event! We’ll recharge, gear up, and roll on to campus like a hot wind this Fall, ready for action!
learn how to build grassroots democracy
practice a variety of organizing tactics
participate in and/or contribute useful workshops on coalition building, leadership skills, and more
sharing our stories- learn more about successful student campaigns and celebrate in the victories
strengthen the foundation for student solidarity in the region
enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery with other students!
And be sure to check out the facebook event
Asked by Anonymous
Definitely! Email email@example.com and we’ll add you to the listserv so you can stay connected with our weekly update about meetings and events.
Asked by Anonymous
That’s a great question, and depending on who you ask, you are sure to receive a wide range of answers. In FIFE, we do our best to host meetings that serve as open forums for discussion, because there really is no single definition of “true feminism.” Your identity as a feminist is something that only you can determine. We would love to hear more about your perspective at a meeting next semester!
Interested in gender activism and the politics of food? FIFE wants to publish your poetry, prose, photography, drawings, digital media designs, ALL OF IT.
Not an artist/auteur you say? NOT A PROBLEM. Take our survey here.
Submit all art and literary works to firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: Noon, April 14th
A little tidbit that wasn’t adequately addressed in the debates: the newly elected President of the United States will likely appoint 2 or even 3 justices to the Supreme Court - and if you’re foggy about SCOTUS, remember that they set precedent for the laws of the land. So when you VOTE TODAY (because choosing not to is WILDLY IRRESPONSIBLE) realize that your decision will affect the legal environment of this country for far longer than 4 years…HAPPY ELECTION DAY!!