Feminist writer Jessica Valenti argued that men shouldn’t be allowed to decry safe spaces on college campuses Wednesday in her first column for Marie Claire titled “Men Don’t Get to Say We Don’t Need Safe Spaces.”
Valenti attacked The New York Times conservative columnist Bret Stephens recent commencement speech. Stephens told graduating students at Hampden-Sydney College to step out of their “safe spaces” and learn to accept their intellectual adversaries.
The feminist writer criticized Stephens for discouraging ‘safe spaces’ created at universities.
“To men like Stephens, an issue like rape can be an abstract notion, but women don’t have the privilege of sexual violence as a thought exercise,” Valenti wrote. She said that “until they, too” understand what it’s like to fear for their safety on a daily basis, men shouldn’t decry safe spaces.
Valenti also grilled Stephens for delivering his commencement address at an all-male, 84 percent white college and wrote that he has “zero credibility.”
The founder of Feministing.com, Valenti tackles reproductive rights, workplace issues, and popular culture among other issues on her blog. One look at her site shows disagreement with her viewpoints or in-depth discussion is not allowed. Blog comments are moderated and remarks deemed to be “racist, sexist, ageist, transphobic, sizeist, ableist, homophobic, victim-blaming, fat-shaming, silencing, insulting, or that question the feminist validity of a topic are not approved.
She urges women to ask, “Who would I be if I didn’t live in a world that hated women?” and writes on her blog that she can’t imagine a world like that.
Stephens responded that he is not sorry he gave a commencement speech at a single-sex school, and said “You [Valenti] are entitled to your case, but not to distorting my speech in service of your case.”
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