Psychologist: Colleges foster environments ‘actively hostile’ toward men

Katie McHugh Associate Editor
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The college environment is “actively hostile towards men,” psychologist and author Dr. Helen Smith explained in a Tuesday interview with Forbes.

Smith has authored the book “Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and The American Dream — And Why It Matters,” and discussed the effect that overreaching feminism has on men with reporter Jerry Bowyer.

Bower stated that groups who see themselves as oppressed since the 19th century have blazed past a goal of equality to exact “comeuppance” on their oppressors, and American men bear the brunt of this attack. Smith agreed, recalling how she was taken aback by the modern feminist movement’s animosity toward men.

“I thought feminism was supposed to be about equality,” Smith said. I was somewhat of a feminist, or I was very much a feminist when I was younger, because I had this idea — naively — that it was about equality, that we wanted to see men and women as equals. Instead, women today want special privileges and no responsibilities or very little, and they want men to have the responsibilities but none of the privilege. As you point out, there’s the problem.”

In her book, Smith referrs to colleges, where female enrollment rates rise as males’ drop, as hostile places to the average guy.

“There’s so many women at the University of Vermont, they call the place Girlington as opposed to Burlington,” Smith said. “What’s interesting is that it’s something like 60 percent women going to college and 40 percent men. … I don’t think that it’s just the higher education bubble. … I think that actually what’s happening is that not only is the commodity much less desirable to men, but I think that the environment itself is actively hostile towards men.”

“So, I think you’ve got two things going on there: You’ve got a commodity college which isn’t to men as important as it used to be, and there are other things that men are finding to do,” Smith continued. “And at the same time, I think that the discrimination against men in these diversity-field, women-dominated schools is also acting as a kind of barrier to men. A lot of men don’t want to put up with it, and a lot of people think, ‘Of course that’s not really happening,’ but people have no idea what men face in our colleges today. For example, they can go into a college today and be charged with any type of sexual harassment or sexual abuse, and there doesn’t have to be really proof shown that they’ve done something. There are a lot of cases across the country … where men actually can be charged with a very low preponderance for crimes as hideous as rape. And there’s campus tribunals at some of these colleges that just say, ‘You know what, we think you did it and you’re out of school.'”

“The presumption of innocence doesn’t function in these campus tribunals,” agreed Bowyer.

Smith also referred to an April article in the Wall Street Journal, in which lawyer Judith Grossman detailed a nightmarish “fall through the Alice looking-glass” into the world of campus tribunals bent on handing down guilty verdicts to male students accused of rape on shaky pretenses.

Grossman, a staunch feminist, was horrified to see her son, a senior at a small liberal arts college in New England, dragged before a tribunal without a preliminary inquiry or presumption of innocence for years-old, retroactive charges of rape made by an ex-girlfriend.

She helped her son defeat the charges, but she and her family were shaken by the nature of the proceedings.

Bowyer noted that acquitted students who survived the tribunal’s proceedings could still suffer from a tainted reputation, especially on hypersensitive campuses.

“I mean, can you imagine how these men must feel?” Smith asked. “It’s just in our society, we don’t care how men feel. We only care about how women feel.”

Feminists portraying themselves as vicarious victims of a oppressive system are eager to condemn men in general, whom they see as historical enemies, Bowyer explained.

“That’s part of the idea that the traditional victim group is given all benefit of the doubt and the assigned victimizer group is given no benefit of the doubt,” he said.

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Katie McHugh