Class Failures; Report Finds Bad Information, Hidden Agendas in Women's Studies

Article excerpt

Byline: Amy Doolittle, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Women's studies courses at colleges and universities teach misinformation and give bad advice, says a study by the Independent Women's Forum (IWF). In these classes, the report says, female empowerment is a project advanced by casual sex in a world without marriage and male dependence.

But a hard look at the facts, says IWF, shows that casual sex brings scars, not power, and that long-term relationships are more likely to lead to happiness.

The special report "Sex (Ms.) Education: What Young Women Need to Know (But Won't Hear in Women's Studies) About Sex, Love and Marriage," was written by Carrie Lukas, IWF policy director.

"The point of this paper is really to give young women the full story of sex, love and marriage so they can make informed decisions on how to achieve their own long-term happiness," Mrs. Lukas says.

Although feminist texts depict sexual liberation as the source of ultimate freedom, that is simply not the case, she says.

"I started to review popular women's studies textbooks and overwhelmingly they painted a really negative picture of marriage," she says. "I felt like there was a real lack of facts that these texts were giving their readers."

Mrs. Lukas cites several surveys that show "casual sex is not exactly liberating."

A 2003 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Seventeen magazine found that more than 60 percent of girls who had sex wished they had waited. Nearly 40 percent of sexually active girls specifically wished they had waited until they were older.

Another survey conducted in 2003, this one by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, found that 67 percent of teens surveyed wished they had waited longer before having sex. Nearly eight in 10 sexually experienced teenage girls and six in 10 sexually experienced teenage boys reported they wished they had waited.

The IWF report quotes from several women's studies textbooks, including excerpts from an essay by Rebecca Walker in "Listen Up: Voices From the Next Feminist Generation."

"The question is not whether young women are going to have sex, for this is beyond any parental or societal control," writes Ms. Walker. "The question is rather, what do young women need to make sex a dynamic, affirming, safe and pleasurable part of our lives?"

The problem with these books, says Mrs. Lukas, isn't so much the misinformation as it is the audience.

"These college-age women are making some important decisions of how they are going to lead their lives and it is important to have the other part of the story - that marriage has benefits," she says. …