Attacks on Campus Feminism Spread Misinformation, Propaganda

By Bennett, Lisa | National NOW Times, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

Attacks on Campus Feminism Spread Misinformation, Propaganda


Bennett, Lisa, National NOW Times


Because rape and sexual harassment can damage a young woman's life at worst and limit her opportunities at best, students on college campuses have been educating their peers about the impact of violence against women. At schools across the country, feminist activists are speaking out about date rape, the use of Rohypnol (the "date rape drug"), women's health and safety on campus, and the typically weak response of college officials to the issue.

Characteristically, anti-women's-rights groups have responded with an attack on what they call "victimology" feminism by spreading misinformation to college students. The so-called Independent Women's Forum (IWF) is leading the way, thanks to funding from the top conservative foundations in the country.

"Take Back the Campus" is an IWF propaganda campaign initiated last spring and designed to halt progress toward preventing and punishing violence and to discourage young women from identifying as feminists. The campaign even calls campus feminism "kind of a cult."

The campaign's first move was to place ads in college newspapers, challenging what the MWF calls the "myths" of feminism by criticizing statistics on domestic violence and rape, downplaying pay inequity between the sexes, minimizing the problem of sexual harassment in schools, and more. With questionable statistics and heated rhetoric, the advertisement targets students it says need "deprogramming."

Next up was the release of their own "study" and supportive opinion pieces in national newspapers arguing that women's sexual freedom and empowerment are making it difficult to find a mate. The IWF-- commissioned "survey" claimed that "Marriage is a major life goal for the majority of today's college women, and most would like to meet a spouse while at college," and that casual "hooking up" is getting in the way of meeting that spouse while still in school.

For Valentine's Day, the campaign asked students to reject Eve Ensler's play "The Vagina Monologues," which addresses how women feel about sex, love, men, other women, rape, war, gynecological exams and, of course, their vaginas. "The Vagina Monologues" has become an important tool in recent years for educating students about violence against women and the play's popularity on college campuses is clearly irking the IF.

The IWF is spreading its tirades against feminism to the national media through a setup no progressive group could get away with. …

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Attacks on Campus Feminism Spread Misinformation, Propaganda
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