Author: Toni Airaksinen

Feminism Blinds Students to the Truth About Men

As a student at Barnard, a women’s college in NYC, feminism pervades all aspects of the curriculum. As students, we’re awash in the pervasive narrative that women are always on the losing side of the gender wars. This is ridiculous. At a school where acknowledging intersectionality is de rigueur, one would expect to encounter dialogue about issues that men face too.  However, after two years here, I have never witnessed students or professors broach the topic in a positive way. What’s more alarming is how often female peers display conspiratorial glee when they make fun of and delegitimize men’s issues. Last week for example, a classmate posted a video featuring the scholar Christina Hoff Sommers to the Barnard 2018 class Facebook page. The video had legitimate talking points about male academic underachievement. However, in a  vicious effort to delegitimize the video’s claim that “male underachievement is everyone’s concern,” a fellow student sanctimoniously wrote that the concern is “not [her’s],” followed with an acronym that denoted laughter. This outright delegitimization of male issues was met with …

The Myth of “Rape Culture” at Columbia University

Last year, Columbia University become ground-zero for anti-rape activism when Emma Sulkowicz, then a senior, began carrying her mattress around campus in protest of the University’s failure to expel her alleged rapist. What ensued was a protracted saga that caused reverberations of hysteria and fear on liberal arts campuses across the United States.  Here on campus, it was the impetus for a number of rallies for sexual assault survivors. At these rallies, which I attended, fellow  students shared stories of assault and admonished the university for condoning “rape culture.” On campus, the trope of the powerless victim and the depraved predator was propagated relentlessly. Campus activists eagerly proclaimed a number of absurd statements, including that 1 in 5 women will be a victim of rape while on campus, and that drunk women couldn’t consent. As a dilettante activist in a different area of concern, I had a great number of conversations with people involved in anti-rape activism, notwithstanding the rallies I attended. With Emma Sulkowicz volunteering as tribune to be the face of the nascent …

The Thought Police Aren’t Administrators—They’re Us College Kids

With all of the discourse regarding the encroachment of administrative oversight onto free speech, one would think that college administrators are unyielding censorship tyrants run amok. Administrators are often depicted as autocratic bullies, seizing every opportunity to steer a student into the disciplinary conduct process. Indeed, as administrators are beholden to the overarching goal of the institution—to perpetuate itself—sometimes it can seem like that. Anything from saying a microaggression, to criticising your college in the school newspaper can cause you to find yourself being called into the Dean’s Office. But in the face of mushrooming concern over speech censorship, one must stop to consider: the Thought Police aren’t our administrators—they’re us. Students at residential colleges live in an oppressively tight bubble of conformity. Flanked by a herd of people we agree with,  other 18-23 years olds, our comfort zones usually stay intact. Our peers satisfy our need for social connection, while our professors spoon feed us external validation. Our basic needs are met, either through money from our family or financial aid. Here, on the …

I’m Not a Feminist—Even Though I Attend a Women’s College

As a student at Barnard College, one of the few women’s colleges in America, identifying as a feminist is de rigueur. Just like lamenting the cost of tuition or complaining about dining hall food, feminist ideology is a hallmark of the conversations here. Yet, I adamantly shun the contemporary feminist movement that sweeps liberal arts campuses like mine, and you should too. Feminism is purported to be a movement towards equality. Fair enough. Most reasonable people support that. But feminism manifests itself differently; instead of the focus on rights and equal opportunity, it is on personal victimhood, political correctness, and attacking others. And, as with all movements, the parameters of feminism are defined by the loudest voices. It is this dominant ideology that I cannot associate myself with. Contemporary feminism inculcates adherents into a cult of victimhood and exquisite vulnerability—it panders to women’s traumas and teaches them that they have been victimized solely because they are female. Women’s only sin? Living in a world dominated by the patriarchy. The remedy, especially for college students? Trigger …