The feminists, who have no sense of humor, have given Americans a big belly laugh, but it's no laughing matter to the principals involved. The feminists lassoed Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, no less, and dragged him groveling through the ivy until they wrung from him all they wanted and more.
The most intolerant feminists are on the faculties of elite colleges and universities. The Communists used to severely punish as "deviationists" all those who strayed from the party line, but feminists have taken adherence to orthodoxy to new heights.
It didn't help Summers that he was president Bill Clinton's secretary of the treasury. Summers thought he was chatting off the record with intellectuals who had the maturity to engage in a little light banter combined with a provocative suggestion for academic research or possibly a new doctoral dissertation.
He was wrong. To liberals, some subjects are not only non-debatable, they are non-researchable because they think they already know the answers and they don't want to be confused by facts.
The cornerstone of the political correctness that dominates campus culture is radical feminism. And the first commandment of feminism is: I am woman; thou shalt not tolerate strange gods who assert that women have capabilities or often choose roles that are different from those of men.
Summers said that he had tried gender-neutral upbringing on his little daughter by giving her toy trucks to play with. She immediately pretended they were dolls and named them "daddy truck" and "baby truck."
Summers wasn't proclaiming a new scientific discovery. Sex differences from the cradle are known to every parent and were explained to the public in delightful detail in John Stossel's famous ABC documentary called "Boys and Girls Are Different." But a lot of feminists are still in the dark on this matter because they don't have any children or at least don't have both sons and daughters.
Then Summers suggested that some studies be undertaken to see whether there are any innate gender differences that might explain why fewer women than men have succeeded in science and math careers in academia.
That was the torch that ignited an international media firestorm. Abandoning all dignity, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Nancy Hopkins slammed down her laptop and stormed out of the room because, she said, "I would've either blacked out or thrown up." Her stereotypical behavior confirmed speculation that women might be unable to face scientific issues scientifically.
Another feminist demanded that Summers immediately submit to a week of "intense discussions" to get him to admit his guilt. Other feminists ran to the Internet and to friends in the media to activate an orgy of indignation and personal attacks.
Congressional liberals got into the act, too. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., was quoted nationally that Summers "knows that he clearly crossed the line."
Summers didn't say anything that hasn't been said by a few courageous scholars many times before. For example, University of Virginia Professor Steven Rhoads' book "Taking Sex Differences Seriously" (Encounter) is copiously documented.
But, as the dean at the very feminist Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies said, Summers gave us "an opportunity that didn't exist before" and we took it "to see that the changes at Harvard get made."
After two weeks of flagellation by the liberal media plus those "intense discussions" (a k a Soviet-style re-education) to force Summers to accept liberal dogma and use only feminist-permitted language, a contrite Summers apologized over and over again. It was unconditional surrender.
Summers appointed not one but two task forces: one on women in the Harvard faculty and another specifically on women in science and engineering, to recruit, support and promote women.
The task forces, which must report by May 1, are made up of 22 women and 5 men - the feminist version of gender equality. The chairman of the task force on women in science and engineering told the press she took the assignment only on Summers' promise that he will "act immediately on the suggestions."
It's doubtful that the task forces will make any suggestions - more likely they will issue orders. The announcement didn't include any caveat that new female hires be as qualified as the men who would be passed over, because Summers is already on record as endorsing affirmative action.
In one more Summers capitulation, he will appoint a commissar of faculty diversity. Perhaps we should say a commissarina since there's no need to speculate about her gender.
When will American men learn how to stand up to the nagging by the intolerant, uncivil feminists whose sport is to humiliate men? Men should stop treating feminists like ladies, and instead treat them like the men they say they want to be.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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