“Neo-Victorianism on Campus” is explored by Heather Mac Donald at the Weekly Standard, who asks, “Is this the end of the collegiate bacchanal?
It turns out that when you decouple the sex drive from modesty and prudence, it takes armies of elected officials, bureaucrats, and consultants to protect females from “undesirable” behavior. Virginia’s governor Terry McAuliffe is establishing a task force on campus sexual violence comprising up to 30 top state officials and representatives from law enforcement and higher education. Connecticut is requiring colleges to form sexual assault response teams, on the model, presumably, of active shooter response teams. California has just enacted a law mandating that colleges receiving state funds require students to be in “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” in order to engage in sexual activity, agreement that is “ongoing throughout a sexual activity and that can be revoked at any time.” Gloria Steinem and a gender studies professor from New York’s Stony Brook University explain in the New York Times: The California law “redefines that gray area” between “yes” and “no.” “Silence is not consent; it is the absence of consent. Only an explicit ‘yes’ can be considered consent.” In other words, California’s new statute, like many existing campus policies, moves the sexual default for female students back to “no.”
But isn’t this bureaucratic and legislative ferment, however ham-handed, being driven by an epidemic of campus rape? There is no such epidemic. There is, however, a squalid hook-up scene, the result of jettisoning all normative checks on promiscuous behavior. A recent case from Occidental College illustrates the reality behind so-called “campus rape.” Girls are drinking themselves blotto precisely in order to lower their inhibitions for casual sex, then regretting it afterwards.
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We have come very far from the mud-drenched orgies of Woodstock. Feminists in the neo-Victorian era are demanding that written material that allegedly evokes nonconsensual sex be prefaced by warnings regarding its threatening content, so that female readers can avoid fits of vapors and fainting—a phenomenon known as “trigger warnings.”
Socialism’s heyday was a century ago, when early “Progressives” such as H.G. Wells, Margaret Sanger, and Woodrow Wilson walked the otherwise puritanical America and England. Perhaps the ideology’s growing sense of nostalgia is what’s causing it to claim puritanism for itself.
Of course, given the nightmarish portrait that campus administrators are painting of their own legacy education models, it’s a good thing that more advanced rape-free educational alternatives exist in the 21st century:
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