Monolith Looms Over Harvard

Foundations Of Civilization Shaken

March 2, 2003

I am informed by the Harvard Crimson* that the boys among the studentry recently fashioned a large penis from snow on the grounds of the university. Grave consequences ensued. A great squealing arose, as if a Victorian spinster had found a man under her bed. There was righteousness enough to gag Jonathan Edwards. Feminists made solemn asses of themselves. It was a splendid show and a good time was had by all.

The--I will avoid all the obvious plays on words--construction of the offending organ was the sort of tasteless, crass, immature, natural, and entertaining thing that college boys are supposed to do. I wish I had thought of it. The reasonable response would have been for the administration to take it down and go about their business of mismanaging the school.

But no. The feminists among Hahvad's girl chillun promptly got their knickers in a bunch over the chill appendage. (The frigid attacking the frigid.) (Wait. No, I promised I wouldn't do that.) But then, perhaps the uproar represented progress. These basilisks being what they are, I'm surprised they recognized the thing.

As in all affairs involving feminism, language was the first casualty. One Amy Keel, class of '04, opined, "As a feminist, pornography is degrading to women and creates a violent atmosphere," which implies either that pornography is a feminist or that Amy wasn't paying a lot of attention in sixth-grade English. No, Amy, pornography does not create a violent atmosphere.

She then proceeded to pull rank by claiming to be a "rape survivor." This is a show-stopper for feminists, for whom it is a stock in trade. They cherish rape as a tobacconist does tobacco. The least of them, which is all of them, can quote statistics showing that seven out of every three women have been raped in the last minute and a half. To doubt the veracity of such a traumatized girl would be terribly insensitive and few men will essay it. Which is the reason for the claim.

Now, I know nothing of Amy, except that she speaks estrogenated Marxigunch. Yet I notice that an awful lot of feminettes parade themselves as rape veterans, and brandish their status as a political broadsword. Given that they tend to be phenomenal liars, in such cases it might be prudent to respond, "Yes. No doubt. You can show me the police report, I suppose. Otherwise the skeptical might think you had awarded yourself a Purple Heart. We wouldn't want that."

(Their response would be, "It was so destructive to my self-esteem that I didn't report it." Then, often, they tell newspapers about it. I can hardly think of a better way to keep a secret.)

Continuing her analysis of the snowy projection, Amy said, "Men think they have the right to force that on you. It's a logical extension." No doubt the sculpture was an extension of sorts, but…logical? The adjective would not have occurred to me.

Amy, with a roommate in support, assaulted the protuberance with the intention of deconstructing it. "A few people came out and crowded me with their bodies and one person shoved me away from the penis," she said. "It was gendered violence, because [their comments] were said in the context of our gender and accompanied by aggressive actions toward us."

As silly cant and boilerplate prudery, Amy's approximations of thoughts are amusing, but the undercurrent of prissy sexual fear depresses. When I was a college boy, the girls would have laughed, rolled their eyes and said, "Guys. What can you do with them?" and perhaps made invidious comparisons concerning their boyfriends. Then they would have wandered off and done something constructive. Study, even.

Understandably people get tired of "When I was a kid" wisdom. Yet there is a relevance. The girls of rural Virginia in 1962 were emotionally hardy, perfectly able to handle boys, seldom depressed, and couldn't have achieved neurosis with a birddog and a buzz saw. As far as I know, the word "self-esteem" didn't exist. Anorexia and bulimia hadn't been invented, and would have found no market. Within the limits of the shocks the flesh is heir to, girls were happy and psychically sound. So were boys.

What happened? Those who devote their young lives to looking in closets and being perpetually angry when they have no reason for doing so, who seem devoured by pointless anxiety actively courted, cannot be happy.

Adolescence is not the exclusive province of the adolescent, though it loses its appeal in those beyond its proper ambit. Saith the Crimson, Harvard has a lecturer in Women's Studies called Diane Rosenfeld, who teaches Women, Violence and the Law. (Remember when Harvard was a university?) Said Diane, "The ice sculpture was erected in a public space, one that should be free from menacing reminders of women's sexual vulnerability…Women do not need to be reminded of the power of the symbol of the male genitalia. My guess is that they are constantly reminded of it in daily messages."

One imagines a long line of FedEx employees rushing up with the messages.

The solemnity of the incorrigibly absurd is perhaps its own punishment. I hope so. But whence the "sexual vulnerability"? The sorrow of my life in college was the lack of such vulnerability.

My guess is this. The sexual vulnerability of women springs not from rapists but from having been made by feminists into easy sexual game. When I was coming up, college girls could say "yes," and frequently did. But they didn't have to. They could choose whether, when, and with whom. The Pill existed, but society had not decayed to the point that a girl almost had to use it.

The rules changed, but women didn't. Under the old rules, a male had to stick around if he wanted sex. Since he was going to be around for a while, he chose someone he really liked. Sex was a wonderful idea, and always a possibility, but not the heart of things.

Under the new rules, the woman has to provide sex in advance to have any hope of anything else, because there is always someone else who will say yes. Among young males, the sex drive trumps everything if women let it. Today, waving the flag of liberation, they do. They still want respect, romance, commitment, and marriage. Yes, many will furiously deny it. Date them a few years later. But feminism and contraception have turned the tables not so much in favor of men, as in favor of sex over all else.

The effect has been to commoditize women, to make them into, yes, sex objects. One day they will come shrink-wrapped.

*E.g. February 21, 2003