Having read this essay by Laura Kipnis on how Title IX (among other things) is used by academic activists to shut people up, stifle debate – which led her to be sued for supposed Title IX violations – I feel that I can identify the real problem for Professor Kipnis. It’s actually three problems, really:
- Laura Kipnis is a heretic. Professor Kipnis – and note that she identifies as a feminist, and probably she (and I) would identify her as a liberal* – thinks that the current academic system dealing with sexual harassment issues is messed up, six ways from Sunday… and that the solution is not to go even further along the path marked out by the current crop of gender feminists. She is also of the apparently novel opinion that not every romantic and sexual encounter on campus is primarily an exercise in power dynamics. Even when they involve professors and grad students.
- Laura Kipnis is a scoffer. The good professor apparently finds a lot of the current rhetoric regarding sexual activities on campus to simply be silly – I’m basing that on the tone of her original article – and although she never used the terms ‘humorless killjoys,’ ‘Puritanical sheet-sniffers,’ or ’empty, soulless husks cocooned in smothering layers of inadequacy and deserved self-loathing’ I don’t know whether she’d privately disagree with me.
- Worst of all, Laura Kipnis scoffed and committed heresy in public. Private scoffing would have been permissible, probably. Actually making it clear that not everybody agrees with every drop of the sometimes-arrant nonsense that gets said in the defense of radical [INSERT FAVORED DEMOGRAPHIC GROUP HERE] identity politics? Doubleplusungood.