Harvard University continues its collective work to set the standard for misogynistic attitudes and chauvinistic theorizing. It seems that Professor Harvey Mansfield is another eminent thinker in the Lawrence Summers school of gender studies. Reports The Harvard Crimson:
Professor Harvey C. Mansfield â€™53 drew dozens of students to Sever Hall last night to discuss the role of women and gender in society.
â€œWe need a new feminism,â€? said Mansfield, the Kenan professor of government, â€œbecause we have a new way of life.â€?
According to Mansfield, this change in traditional society has grown out of womenâ€™s desire to achieve success in the workplace and at home. In his lecture, entitled, â€œFeminism and The Autonomy of Womenâ€?, the professor identified this problem as one arising from â€œradical feminismâ€? which sought to â€œlower women to the level of menâ€? in terms of sexual behavior.
Ah, he must be referring to the promiscuity feminists. You know, those damn women who dare to have sex.
â€œBy the age of 30, you see men,â€? he cautioned, â€œwho are used to getting free samplesâ€? and will not enter into loyal, reliable relationships. Citing evolutionary biology research, Mansfield said that â€œmen are interested in quantity, and women are interested in quality.â€?
â€œWomen play the menâ€™s game, which they are bound to lose. Without modesty, there is no romanceâ€”it isnâ€™t so attractive or so erotic,â€? said the professor.
Maybe Professor Mansfield just needs to try a dating service instead of slumming in pubs. (I assume he's theorizing from actual experience, and isn't trying to extrapolate psychology and motives from ogling the 18-year-old women on campus.)
Mansfield appeared most comfortable when answering questions from the audience. He emphasized the role that nature plays in gender behavior and the necessity of the traditional family structure. Audience members questioned the professor on the validity of both contentions.
Why am I reminded of the August Strindberg play, "The Father"? Male anxiety over actual paternity of offspring may have a biological basis, but that hardly seems to be the basis for sweeping statements about social engineering. Families happen because we want them. Monogamy is hardly an endangered psycho-social mindset. Yet this patriarchal tendency to enforce (rather than encourage) social institutions that help to alleviate male anxieties over paternity is seeming to build in intensity of late.
And calling it a new kind of feminism is really a laugh.
Multiple students challenged Mansfieldâ€™s opinions concerning gender and family in respect to gay and transgender people. Mansfield responded that he thought gay and transgender people are on â€œsocietyâ€™s marginâ€? and should remain there.
â€œSubstitutes for the traditional family are dysfunctional,â€? he said, â€œYou wouldnâ€™t want children to grow up in them.â€?
James Dobson couldn't have said it better himself.
And lest you think Professor Mansfield;s expressions of male anxieties over paternity and sexuality have been limited to the classroom, rest assured: He's written a book called, "Manliness." Published by Yale University Press, no less.
And here we thought feminism wasn't popular! Thank goodness the smart men of Harvard are here to save us from ourselves.
[Via Jessica at feministing]