Some Modern Feminists Describe Women as Weak Victorian Ninnies

By George Will Copyright Washington Post Writers Group | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), October 25, 1993 | Go to article overview

Some Modern Feminists Describe Women as Weak Victorian Ninnies


George Will Copyright Washington Post Writers Group, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


My grandmother lived in a world of manicures, hair salons, and no place to go in the mornings.

That felicitous first sentence is the fuse that lights Katie Roiphe's bombshell of a book in which she argues that a perversion of feminism is reviving stereotypes that constricted her grandmother's world.

In today's victimization sweepstakes, many prizes, including media attention and therapeutic preferences from government, go to those who succeed at being seen as vulnerable and suffering. So hell hath no fury like that directed against someone like Roiphe, who casts a cool eye on the claims and logic of some women who consider their victimhood compounded by any calm analysis of their claims. This Roiphe provides in "The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism on Campus." It is giving some feminists the vapors.

Roiphe, 25, a Ph.D. candidate in English at Princeton, dissects the contemporary feminist obsession with sexual harassment and rape, both very broadly defined. Behind this obsession Roiphe detects the old image of woman as exquisitely delicate, "with her pure intentions and her wide eyes," constantly on the verge of victimization.

Into what Roiphe calls "the normal libidinous jostle of coeducation" has come gothic feminism. It portrays men as predators and women as prey - women who by nature are innocent, passive, manipulable and almost asexual and whose fragile composure crumbles at encountering male sexuality.

This feminism explains a feature of contemporary campus life, the "Take Back the Night" marches. At these rituals, "survivors" of sexual "violence," very broadly defined, "speak out" about their "voicelessness." They describe being "silenced" by a shadowy force with several names - "men" or, for the intellectually up-scale, "patriarchic hegemony" and "phallocentrism." As Roiphe notes, being "silenced" is an experience of the articulate, whose tone is often self-congratulatory: I survived victimization, so I am very brave. Participants in these marches-as-therapy, says Roiphe, are "more oversaturated with self-esteem than with cholesterol."

Today, when certified victim groups surely aggregate to at least 200 percent of the nation's population, one often-repeated statistic of suffering is that one in four college women is a victim of rape or attempted rape. One study that popularized that factoid has interesting flaws. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Upgrade your membership to receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad‑free environment

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Some Modern Feminists Describe Women as Weak Victorian Ninnies
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved in your active project from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.