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December 4, 2015

CRYBULLIES & NARCISSISTS: The president of Oklahoma Wesleyan blames the current campus tantrums on students who are taught to be “self-absorbed and narcissistic.” He’s on to something, according to Jean Twenge, who has reported an increase in narcissism among young people.  Narcissists have inflated conceptions of themselves and feel entitled to special privileges, while at the same time they’re quite brittle — if anyone questions their wonderfulness, they quickly take offense and turn extremely aggressive. (Remind you of anyone?)

Twenge has found the rise in narcissism to be especially notable in young women, so it may be no coincidence that the crybullies have so often been female. The drama at Yale began with highly dubious claims by women that a fraternity excluded minority women from a party because it was for “white girls only.” (The accusation keeps getting repeated despite the absence of evidence — and a flat denial from the fraternity, which has black members and says there were black women at the party.) As the Yale drama evolved into arguments about Halloween and alleged racism, Yale’s dean said that the complaints were coming mostly from women. Jonathan Haidt also found a striking gender imbalance when he was confronted by crybullies at a high school. After his speech urging schools not to protect students from uncomfortable ideas, he was fiercely attacked by the girls in the audience while the boys sat there quietly (and then went up afterwards to thank him for the speech).