Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Counter-Reformation on Campus

You have the Reformation which might be called the state of gender politics especially as it relates to campus life and the Counter-Reformation, a movement which has been ignited by authors like Camille Paglia. Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender and Feminism and Laura Kipnis in her recent book Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Come to Campus. If the Reformation was an attempt to rid the church of hypocrisy, then the attempts to litigate sexuality have derived from excesses that genuinely infected campus life. No one doubts, for instance, that professors have had a long history of exercising their droit de seigneur with impressionable young women or men, depending on the sexual inclinations of the parties involved. Now comes the Counter-Reformation with its hopes to reform the church itself. Isn’t it comparable to those authors who don’t want to throw the baby, that is to say the biological drives which constitute human sexuality, out with the bathwater. The Reformation is represented by statutes like Affirmative Consent, which turns sex between adults on a University of California campus into a legal matter that could ultimately require the services of attorneys. Remember another trendy tome, Kate Millett's Sexual Politics? Though this might be good for expanding the purview and incomes of matrimonial lawyers, it’s not likely to have an salubrious effect on instinct, which is increasingly becoming politicized and scrutinized, as if Big Brother or Mother were indeed watching. Counter-Reformationists are a little like conservationists dealing with protected lands. Society insures that nature preserves will not be destroyed by developers, but what about the pre-conscious world of the animal known as man or woman?

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