Why Are So Many Campus Feminists Anti-Male?

In 1970, I was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women in New York City. This quickly triggered invitations to speaking on campuses throughout the U.S.—from Yale to Harvard to Stanford. Each engagement led to an average of three more.

However, after starting hundreds of men’s and women’s groups — one of which was joined by John Lennon — I began integrating the life experiences of college men into my talks. I soon invited my entire audiences of college men and women to “walk a mile in each other’s moccasins”—the men in “men’s beauty contests” to experience the beauty contest of everyday life in which every woman participates; and then the women to take a few of the many risks of sexual rejection the guys typically experience.

The feminist groups that sponsored me loved the male beauty contests. My invitation for the women to risk the sexual rejection experienced by men was more complex: first, the college women found it much harder than they anticipated—but 70% or so could get up the nerve to take risks. Second, the ones who couldn’t get up the nerve had an emotional experience of the type of rejection men typically experience. And third, the feminist leaders on campus who were my usual sponsors—and had just been cheering during the men’s beauty contest that the men were “finally getting it”—suddenly either held back or left the theater once I asked the women to “walk a mile in the men’s moccasins.”

Related: A New Tactic to Undermine Free Speech?

It was then—in the early seventies—that I began to experience that the campus feminists wanted men to understand women but had no interest in understanding men. I saw the handwriting on the wall: if I were to persist in my journey from ideology to compassion, I’d be forfeiting a very rewarding career. I cannot say the decision was easy—income, awards, media were all at stake. But I did decide to persist. And sure enough, my speaking engagements on campus went from more than I could handle to the following experience at the University of Toronto in 2012.

A campus association at the University of Toronto (called Canadian Association for Equality, or CAFE), heard that I was working (with John Gray) on a book to be called The Boy Crisis. They had heard that my findings went deeper than boys throughout the developed world dropping out of school more than girls, but that they were also experiencing problems with mental health (e.g., mass shootings; depression; suicide); physical health (e.g., obesity; sperm count), and future economic productivity.

The book wouldn’t be published until March 2018, so no one had read it. Nevertheless, the feminists on and off campus, catalyzed by the Socialist Workers Party, organized a campaign to vigilantly rip down all the posters that were used to publicize my talk—usually moments after they were put up. And the night of the talk, they formed a human blockade of the entrance doors that you can witness in the video below.

When the campus police were unsuccessful distinguishing between, “protest yes, blockade no,” the Toronto city police had to be called in.

The feminists accused the police of being violent; fortunately, the video was available to offer evidence of the police restraint even as the feminists cursed them and gave them the finger. And that was before I had given any speech anywhere on The Boy Crisis. Shortly after, I gave a TEDx talk that gives you a sense of what I was in fact saying.

In the seven weeks since the publication of The Boy Crisis, my brief interview for Libertarian Matt Kibbe’s Free the People on Facebook on fatherlessness and mass shootings quickly went viral with more than 22 million views in five weeks. I have been asked by liberal and conservative organizations to speak on the causes and solutions to the boy crisis.

Related: Five Realities of Tribal Politics

Although I dig deep into solutions that can be employed in high schools and colleges, not a single college in the U.S. or Canada has asked me to speak on their campus. Rather than becoming men by finding their voices while in college, they will be told on campus that they have white male privilege; that saying what they feel is “mansplaining”; that anything they feel should be repressed, not expressed.

The Boy Crisis outlines ten causes of the global crisis facing our sons. Some of them—such as environmental toxins–are aligned with liberal perspectives. But I discovered the primary cause of the boy crisis to be minimal or no father involvement. The conservative media was fascinated with the hard data that reinforced their understanding of the importance of the intact family and dad-style boundary enforcement that leads to the postponed gratification boys (and girls) need in order to achieve. However, the impact of conservative media led to no outreach from college campuses.

On the liberal end, college campuses would potentially be reached by The Atlantic and CBS Sunday Morning, both of which carefully considered coverage of The Boy Crisis, only to suddenly drop their interest. I held out hope when Katie Couric came to my home to interview me for an episode on gender for her America Inside Out series on National Geographic, to be aired on May 9. While this series will be available on many college campuses, the boy crisis will never reach the ears of college students via Katie Couric or National Geographic.

Related: Insisting That Whites Should “Step Back”

Readers of Minding the Campus already know how liberals, the champions of free speech on campus, have become the champions of censored speech. How the champions of female progress are now the champions of mixed signals: “I am woman, I am strong,” versus “I am offended, I’ve been wronged.”

Does the solution include an evolutionary shift in the male-female tango? Yes. But let’s do it with respect for women. When females are encouraged to speak up, and males are told to shut up, that does not generate respect for women.

And let’s do it without undermining feminist progress toward female equality. When both sexes get drunk and have consensual sex, if the drinking erases her accountability, but not his, that undermines the responsibilities that accompany equality. When due process is eliminated to protect only women, that also undermines the responsibilities that accompany equality.

When boys know they want sex more, and girls want it less, increasing boys’ chances from the outset of being rejected, and then boys learn to risk sexual rejection by expectation while our daughters risk it by option, we prepare our sons for more risk-taking than our daughters. That does not prepare our daughters to be equal risk-takers in business or life.

In aggregate, advancing a narrative of victim power ultimately leaves girls and women protected, but powerless. Yes, the over-protected are more loved; but the over-protected are less respected. The next evolutionary step we need in the male-female tango is equal accountability, equal respect, equal listening to both sexes, and equally loving both sexes.

Until we do, we’ll be preparing more boys like Royce Mann for the next freshman classes. The brilliant 14-year-old Royce Mann won a poetry slam that went viral by articulating the shame he feels at becoming a man—at becoming “mostly an attacker.” The shame Royce has already absorbed will be reinforced when he learns that anything he feels should be repressed, not expressed.  When the feelings of boys, already repressed, are further repressed, boys can become depressed. And our sons find themselves, male privilege and all, committing suicide with five times the frequency of their female campus colleagues.

Whenever only one sex wins, both sexes lose.

Warren Farrell

Warren Farrell

Warren Farrell is the author (with John Gray) of the just-published The Boy Crisis. The Financial Times lists him as one of the world’s top 100 thought leaders. His books, published in 19 languages, include two award-winning international best-sellers, Why Men Are the Way They Are and The Myth of Male Power

13 thoughts on “Why Are So Many Campus Feminists Anti-Male?

  1. “Why Are So Many Campus Feminists Anti-Male?”

    They’re called “feminists”, not “humanists”, for a reason. Feminism has ALWAYS been solely about female supremacy. It’s disheartening for well over half a century, you’re still falling for the sanitized, selective reading definition of feminism.

  2. What a bizarre question. Why are so many campus feminists anti-male?
    You make a question out of the definition.

  3. ” catalyzed by the Socialist Workers Party, organized a campaign ”

    The socialists are always in the background working and organizing and stirring up trouble. It’s been this way on campus since at least the 60s.

    One would almost think it a communist plot to cause hate and dissension amongst Americans.

  4. When girls all wanted the dangerous and dark character, boys became dangerous and dark and the girls reacted with dismay when boys acted out.
    .
    If girls all want boys to feel shame at being masculine …

  5. Thank you, and press on! In a sort of quasi-semi-Oriental fashion, I apologize on behalf of all the women who have taken the cheap route of denigration of men, thinking they could burgle their way to respect. My chief experience with academic feminism happened in the 90s…and it sounds like those women, so grievously blinkered as to the true avenues on which they were traveling and leading others, have temporarily “won.” The road back will be tough.

  6. You must realize that Males losing is the plan of Feminists.
    Everything they do shows this.
    Then they turn around and go after Bad Boys that treat them like dirt.
    This will not end well for Feminists.

  7. “And our sons find themselves, male privilege and all, committing suicide with five times the frequency of their female campus colleagues.”

    I’m thinking that the on-campus feminists see this as a feature, not a bug.

  8. How right you are! I fear for my 2 grandsons, one of whom is about to graduate from high school. I come from a very educated family. My grandfather was a college professor, both my parents college graduates, my mother holding a master’s degree, I have my doctorate and my wife a master’s. I now question the wisdom of my grandson going to college, at least right out of high school. I am thinking military service or work might be a better option for him for a couple of years to prepare him emotionally and mentally to withstand the brain-washing that colleges now perform on males.

  9. It’s not a Feminist Movement. It is a Misandrist Movement. It is run by shrill, man-hating lesbians. If you look at it through that lens, it all makes sense.

  10. There is a sick inevitability to all this, of course.

    If I see myself as Victim, then you must be Oppressor. Two sides of the same coin,one cannot exist unless matched by the other. If I see you as powerful, then I must be powerless. If I see you as aggressive, then I must be the victim of that aggression. Everything in this Wonderland a zero-sum game with only oppressors & victims.

    If I attribute the ills of the world (and my own not inconsiderable malaise) to you, saying you as male are always responsible, then I must equally define myself (and my fragile femininity) as being, naturally, always incapable of that same responsibility.

    If you advance upon me (asking me for a date, a cup of coffee, a lunch, whatever) and I did not wish it so, then your advance is by definition harassment. If you attempt a kiss when I do not wish to be kissed, assault. If you embrace me in the absence of explicit and provable invitation, then you do not have affirmative consent and you are a sexual criminal.

    And even, on the off chance, that we have sex …and even if I have somehow agreed… and 5 weeks later I change my mind — because drinking — well, then once again I am Victim (unaccountable for my actions or decisions because alcohol) and once again you are Villain (accountable always regardless of the number of jello shots you took).

    Further down the rabbit hole we tumble.

    If you have persuaded me to have sex and I agreed — I am not accountable — because male persuasion. If you have pressured me to have sex, bugging me incessantly (“C’mon you know you wanna!”) and I agreed — I am not accountable — because male psychological pressure. If you have threatened me, to convince me to have sex (as in, and I quote, a threat to no longer love me), and I agreed — I am not accountable — because male threat.

    I am Victim, hear me whimper.

    True — I used to demand my equal rights. I used to assert my equal responsibility. I used to proclaim: My Body / My Self and express my powerful sexuality with the same freedom historically accorded men. All that used to be true. I used to write about the “Zipless F**k”; I used to sing about Free Love. I used to even believe that anything you could do I could do better.

    But that was then and this is the Ragged Now of Don’t See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, or Make me in any way at all uncomfortable because I am a precious and delicate blossom, easy to wilt, prone to faint, bruised by the slightest contrary breeze. Can i get a safe room? Can I get a Title IX counselor to talk through last month’s drunken hook-up: “no, of course I didn’t really want to!”

    Joyce would stumble…
    In Yale as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I
    put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes or perhaps a black no and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and in my dorm room and after the dance, and I thought well as well him as another — or maybe not — and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes, but then my eyes blinked no, or not at all, and why and how could he, must he have read my eyes …who cares, not I said this Andalusion Girl, and then he asked me would I …yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I almost was thinking saying no or hinting with my eyes a no or not but instead I put my arms around him yes, but thinking no, not then of course, the then was full of yes sort of maybe not and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes but did he have permission not my breasts he grabbed I think now too harshly saying yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes….No, next week he didn’t text me, saying yes, so I started saying No, did not text or pass him in the Quad, laughing with that Other hating now yes with my eyes, and yes there was blood from my Andalusian flower or not, I said, I told the nurse 4 months later. #metoostillagainavictimalways no, I’m not responsible. No.

    The Red Queen is very definitely off with her head.

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