By Joyce Mucci
The end of summer signaled the beginning of my son's first semester as a freshman at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Needless to say, I had been preparing for this day since his birth, and for the next eighteen years I labored to construct, nurture and otherwise form a decent human being.
So, with mixed emotions and the self-restraint of a saint (I secretly wanted to unburden myself of all the lessons I may have missed teaching him) I said goodbye to my new freshman. I was damn proud that my boy was in college and looking forward to our new relationship. That was a little over three weeks ago.
He has since experienced a baptism by fire.
I am not speaking about the grueling schedule, endless hours of study, and figuring out how to divide your money between ones' beer ration and decent nutrition. No, the hot coals of life my son was required to run across was his initiation into the bizarre world of feminism.
I am, of course, guilty of bringing him up in a traditional home where Dad went off in the morning and returned with the meat for Mom to cook up for the family. It was an environment laced with non-politically correct speech and a code that clearly delineated responsibilities according to gender. Ridicule of outside cultural interference was the norm.
At this point, however, it seems a world far away.
As in all other universities English is a required course for incoming freshman. What is not required, in my opinion, is to inculcate incoming male freshman with discussions about the status of women. It is baffling that there is even a connection between English and feminist thought. However, I attribute my ignorance to the fact that I am not an academic, so I would naturally not make this leap of logic. In any case, the topic of the day, in this particular English class, was the equality of women - do they have it or not and why.
As the story was related to me, there were some young men who took the opportunity to stick it to their female counterparts by declaring - foolishly of course - that women "should remain barefoot, pregnant and at home". Being the mother of an eighteen-year-old it comes as no surprise that young men of this age are given over to teasing and tormenting by the Testosterone god.
However, there was one particular eighteen-year-old young woman who was sitting in this class that did not find their comments at all amusing. It was my son's fate that this female was sitting next to him.
In due course the professor called on him for his opinion about the topic. In a very generalized, democratic explanation he stated his belief and summarized the obvious - that men and women are biologically different, and in that sense, women will never be equal to men in all things.
The aforementioned young woman apparently did not agree with part of his statement. She turned around in her chair and asked, "what did you say?" My son obliged her by repeating himself, at which point she slapped him in the face. The blow was naturally unexpected, and it sent him to the floor. The inflamed young feminist took advantage of his supine position to connect her foot to his body. With each blow she declared, in no uncertain terms, that he was "a miysogynistic SOB".
The professor, much to her credit, asked the girl to leave the room and my son was given the option to stay for the duration of the class or be excused. He left, only to be met outside by the overwrought young women, who continued her ad hominum attacks in the hall. When he did manage to get a word in edgewise he informed her that she was a "feminazi" and walked away.
Makes a mother proud.
However, life is not so simple as he would soon find out. The next day the Administration tracked him down in class. He was informed that the young women's behavior was inappropriate (frankly I could describe her behavior in terms more descriptive than that) and that he had the prerogative and their urging to press charges for assault. A decision, which carried with it, the consequences of the female student being brought before a board, and the very real possibility of being expelled.
His response to the school's generous option program was that she was probably "just having a bad day".
Now the girl in question has since, thanks to my son's benevolent disposition, transferred to another English class. But there are larger issues at stake. To begin with, if he had exercised his right to bring charges, there was a good possibility that there could be further repercussions down the road. For example, word could get out that he did press charges for assault and other women of her ilk would conspire to entrap him in a fabricated sexual harassment charge. Does that sound like an overreaction? Possibly. However, the culture of female complaint, facilitated by University regulations only requires a woman's word to set in motion a series of investigations that are quite likely to lead to a young man's ruined reputation. While on the other hand, a female is hailed as courageous for coming forward with charges, she in turn will suffer no social ostracism if she then recants.
With that reality starring him in the face I believe he made the right choice.
So how should we think about this bizarre outburst? Frankly, the female student involved in this harassment should be treated with contempt. Not only by the males in her class but particularly by those who share her biology. Why? Because she had a near seamless venue in which to address her disagreement with men. It could have been her shining moment. Quite possibly, if the feminist gods were taking notice, the males could have experienced an epiphany, turned their life around and this young female student would have had the praise and adulation of all. At the very least she may have compelled them to rethink their position.
But she blew it.
In part, because she lacked a keen sense of propriety - which goes a long way in personal relationships - even with one's enemies. But her behavior is indicative of the overall irrational, and in this case, harmful thought processes of young gender feminists. Who, in this case, used violent means to express her disdain for men.
Some would argue that we should feel pity for her, justifying their feelings by explaining that she is young and sincerely foolish. Be that as it may, the young woman is in need of counseling. Not, as you would imagine, by a trained anger management counselor, but by an older woman. A woman, who has mastered the fine art of persuasion and who has long ago called a cease-fire in the imagined war between the sexes.
Has this incident caused my son to become hypersensitive about his freedom to speak his mind regarding the equality of women? The answer is no. It did, however, just confirm to him that gender feminist are irrational, prone to violence, whiny, and self-centered females. Yet, despite this young woman's lack of decency, he conferred on her, based solely on the fact that she is female, a deference she did not deserve.
Joyce Mucci has been published in the Kansas City Star, MetroVoice and in e-zines such as The New Australian, EtherZone and Rightgrrl where she is an Advisory Board Member.
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