Juliet Samuel, in The Telegraph, 20 July 2017. There is something strange going on in the world of modern gender norms. Consider this: Britain’s advertising authority has just decided that it is demeaning and unhealthy for us to be exposed to gender stereotyping in adverts. In the same week, nearly 3 million Britons tuned in to watch the premiere of the new Game of Thrones season, a show in which about half of the main female characters have been raped.
Adverts which encourage gender stereotypes like women cleaning up after their family, or men failing to do housework, face being banned under strict new watchdog rules. Following a year-long inquiry the Advertising Standards Authority(ASA) has developed a set of tougher standards on adverts which portray “potentially harmful” gender stereotypes. From next year the new rules, which will now be finalised by the Committee of Advertising Practice, will be used to ban inappropriate adverts. The ASA found there was evidence to support stronger rules on the basis that harmful stereotypes “can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults”.
The new standards will not ban all stereotypes, such as women cleaning or men doing DIY jobs. But adverts that depict scenarios such as a woman having sole responsibility for cleaning up her family’s mess or a man trying and failing to do simple parental or household tasks are likely to be banned, it said. The ASA’s report also said campaigns suggesting a specific activity is inappropriate for boys because it is stereotypically associated with girls, and vice versa, could be banned.
The majority of complainants objected that the ad was offensive because it implied that it was acceptable to make fun of a mental health problem, with some claiming it was irresponsible because it equated anxiety with a lack of masculinity and helped perpetuate the damaging view that men shouldn’t admit to mental health concerns.
ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “Portrayals which reinforce outdated and stereotypical views on gender roles in society can play their part in driving unfair outcomes for people.”While advertising is only one of many factors that contribute to unequal gender outcomes, tougher advertising standards can play an important role in tackling inequalities and improving outcomes for individuals, the economy and society as a whole.”
So far, BBC Two’s hysterical historical romp Versailles has been most notable for its lustrous hair, rampant sex, cross dressing, palace building and endless court gossip – all rendered opaque by plodding direction and a wooden script. You may never be a Queen, but with this…” gasped Mme De Clermont, grabbing her semi-clad daughter by her most intimate part, “…with this, you may live like one.”
As so often in this genre of bone-headed historical bonkbusters, founded by The Tudors and aped in numerous TV series since, the splendour of the costumes and settings is in direct proportion to the grubbiness of the fantasies they purvey. In that respect at least Versailles is certainly outstripping its predecessors and, miraculously, even making then seem marginally less offensive by comparison.
Not to worry, Harvard leads the way with a solution to rape and gender role-playing.
From The Weekly Standard: It looks like the finale for the final clubs. A Harvard faculty committee released a report last week recommending that all fraternities, sororities, and similarly “exclusionary” single-sex social organizations be phased out by the spring of 2022. The committee determined that it would not be enough for these organizations to go co-ed; the campus must be rid of them completely. Harvard withdrew official recognition of final clubs decades ago, but last year the administration went further, declaring that their members would not be able to hold leadership positions on campus or receive the recommendations required for some postgraduate fellowships and scholarships, including the Rhodes Scholarship.
The absurdity of the recommendation to eliminate them was not lost on outside observers: How can Harvard, of all places, tell students not to join exclusive institutions? But many faculty—not to mention students and alumni—say such a policy would also be an unnecessary breach of students’ freedom. As psychology professor Steven Pinker wrote recently, “A university is an institution with circumscribed responsibilities which engages in a contract with its students. Its main responsibility is to provide them with an education. It is not an arbiter over their lives, 24/7.” As the folks at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education point out, Harvard is clearly violating promises of freedom of association it’s made to its students over the years.
In the spring of 2016, the school released a report regarding sexual assault on campus, which concluded that the all-male clubs deserved a disproportionate share of the blame. According to Harvard’s survey, 47 percent of female college seniors “participating in the Final Clubs”—that is, attending male final club events or belonging to female final clubs—reported “experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact since entering college.” The same was true of only 31 percent of all seniors. The report concluded that “a Harvard College woman is half again more likely to experience sexual assault if she is involved with a Club than the average female Harvard College Senior.” The clubs are bastions of “sexual entitlement,” troubling areas of potential alcohol abuse and sexual assault, and a “vestige of gender inequity” on campus.
So what happened? Why didn’t the committee simply force the final clubs to go co-ed and call it a day? Well, the committee’s report includes testimony from students who say that unpopular kids feel bad when they are not chosen for these clubs and poorer kids feel bad because they don’t have tuxedos to wear to final club events and can’t afford the expectations that come with membership. In other words, simply making the clubs co-ed wasn’t checking enough privilege. “Our main reservation about the stated goal of the policy was whether the focus on ending gender segregation and discrimination is too narrow,” the report reads. “If all of these organizations adopted gender-neutral membership in a timely fashion, there would remain a myriad of practices of these organizations that go against the educational mission and principles espoused by Harvard University.”
But doing away with the clubs won’t solve any of the problems faculty and administration set out to address. Not only will Harvard always be an exclusive institution, there will always be gradations within it. There will always be students who skip the cafeteria lines and spend their weekends trying out trendy new restaurants in Cambridge and Boston. During vacations, some will ski in Europe and sun themselves on Maui. Some will even find places to wear their tuxedos. Harvard can offer free tuition and subsidize summer internships, but it is presumably not going to guarantee that everyone has a summer place on Nantucket.
As for the original issue of curbing sexual assault, the university has been misguided from the beginning. The survey the university conducted, which again was the impetus for changing the final club policy, was badly written and poorly analyzed. The questions themselves were deeply confusing. “Since you have been a student at Harvard University has a student or someone employed by or otherwise associated with Harvard . . . continued to ask you to go out, get dinner, have drinks or have sex even though you said no?” If you answered yes to that question, you were counted as a victim of sexual assault.
Though there is almost no mention of it earlier in the report, there is a table at the end titled “Percent of Female Victims of Nonconsensual Penetration Involving Physical Force or Incapacitation by Involvement of Substances and Tactic.” In almost two-thirds of cases involving physical force, the victim was voluntarily drinking alcohol; in another 4 percent of cases, the victim was voluntarily using drugs. In these cases, 69 percent of the offenders were drinking and 5 percent were using drugs. From the similarity of these numbers, you might think that the victims and offenders were drinking or doing drugs together before they engaged in sexual activity. This gets to the heart of the problem on Harvard’s campus and many others these days: The drinking culture has gone off the rails. Students are not exercising good judgment regarding sexual encounters because many of them are too drunk to do so.
While overall alcohol use among young adults has not changed much since the 1970s, there has been a shift on the extreme end of the spectrum. According to a 2013 report in JAMA Pediatrics on high school seniors, “On occasion, 10.5% consumed 10 to 14 drinks, and 5.6% consumed 15 drinks or more.” In every recent account of life on campus, men and especially women describe “pre-gaming,” that is, getting tipsy before they even leave their dorm rooms. For women, this is often so that they can shed their inhibitions and behave like men (also known as “empowerment”).
It would be nice to think that getting rid of some off-campus locations for drunken sex would solve these issues, but the truth is that it will not even make a dent. Like most colleges, Harvard is not serious about fixing its drinking problem, let alone its message that young women have achieved equality when they act like men. Declaring that you are going to take on the campus rape crisis sounds much sexier. College administrators don’t want to seem like old fogies trying to curb something as frivolous as a few extra beers. And heaven forbid they consider the problems of co-ed dormitories and bathrooms.
And now from Doug Wilson, the difficult truth:
The liberation of women was a false flag operation. The true goal was the liberation of libertine men, and in our day this was a goal that has largely been achieved. These were men who wanted the benefits for themselves that would come from easy divorce, widespread abortion, mainstreamed pornography, and a promiscuous dating culture.