From the April 2000 Idaho Observer:
Of Handguns and Talking Vaginas
An enlightening peek into the mindset of disarmament
by Wendy McElroy
Geology professor David Deming of the University of Oklahoma was tired of the very vile rhetoric hurled at people who support Second Amendment rights. As a result, sexual harassment complaints against him have been filed with the University and Deming may be dismissed.
His confrontation with political correctness began on Feb. 18, when the school newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily, reprinted a column by anti-gun zealot Joni Kletter. Kletter stated that current gun laws allow criminals, youth, and the mentally disabled to quickly and easily kill as many random people as they want.
In a letter to the editor, Deming replied, I just want to point out that Kletter's 'easy access' to a vagina enables her to 'quickly and easily' have sex with 'as many random people' as she wants. Referring to Kletter's unregistered vagina which could spread disease, Deming expressed the hope that she was as responsible with her equipment as most gun owners are with theirs.
In the aftermath, a group of professors -- led (of course) by sociologists -- collectively condemned Deming's letter. It was said to increase the likelihood of rape. The backlash has been so extreme that Deming's wife felt it necessary to publish her own letter to the editor stating that her husband is not a hater of women, but a hater of stupidity. His analogy was meant to parallel Kletter's own in the time-honored manner of reductio ad absurdum. Just as vaginas are not inherently dangerous, neither are handguns. She concluded, I'm personally angry at a group of persons would use my husband as a whipping boy to further their radical feminist agenda.
Becky Hebert -- an associate professor of human relations -- has filed a legal complaint with the university's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. It seems his brief letter violates the University's Sexual Harassment Policy Grievance Procedure that reads, Sexual harassment shall be defined as ... verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature ... when such conduct has the purpose or effect of ... creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment. Hebert wants Deming to undergo sensitivity training and to apologize for having equated my vagina with a handgun. (Of course, feminists have never compared male 'equipment' to guns.) Deming realizes the underlying threat to his job.
People express controversial opinions all the time, he stated, You usually don't try to silence [them]...by trying to get them fired.
One recent source of controversial opinions on campus has been a student group, Advocates for Sexual Assault Awareness who publicly excoriated Deming and demanded his reprimand. This same group backed a project entitled The Vagina Monologues -- advertisements for which were chalked across the campus.
What are The Vagina Monologues?
Author Eve Ensler describes her three-woman play, I was worried about vaginas. I decided to talk to women about their vaginas, to do vagina interviews, which became vagina monologues. Among the questions Ensler posed to the 300 women she interviewed was what their vaginas preferred to wear -- high heels, feather boas? For such insights, the Village Voice has likened the play to an international AA meeting for vaginas. Currently, a nationwide endeavor is underway to have the play performed on every college and university campus. The performance is often co-ordinated with V-Day (Feb. 14), which carries the triple meaning of Violence Against Women/Valentine's/Vagina Day.
In short, Deming's critics throw around the v word with wild abandon when it furthers their own politics. For them, it is a term of awareness and empowerment. Yet, having raised the banner of vagina, the ASAA wants a monopoly on how their symbol is discussed. Defenses of Deming and the First Amendment are muted. It can be worth a professor's career to oppose the trendy feminist double standard that currently terrorizes campuses nationwide. Some students have had the pluck to speak out. One wrote in The Oklahoma Daily, I urge you all to come to Deming's support, or, failing that, to exercise your First Amendment right by going up to the next sociology professor you see and shouting, 'Vagina, vagina!'
With this background of turmoil, the radical feminist Susan Faludi addressed the University of Oklahoma, on March 2, to celebrate Women's History Month. Faludi's latest book, Stiffed: the Betrayal of the American Male, purports to be a defense of men who are also victims of culture. But, as the journalist and individualist feminist Cathy Young has observed, Stiffed is an attempt to shift all blame for men's victimization from the shoulder of feminism. Young writes, While Faludi discusses vague cultural forces that victimize men, she never mentions the male-bashing that infects popular culture. Faludi claims that men have scapegoated feminism for frustration with their cultural disempowerment.
According to Faludi, the true betrayers of contemporary men are their fathers, who imbued them with unrealizable dreams based on post-World War II optimism. Radical feminism can rectify men's disempowerment. Presumably it can teach them to address vaginas appropriately, inquiring after what they are wearing to dinner tonight.
People often wonder why most feminists don't 'get' the Second Amendment.
They haven't made it past the First one yet.
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