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Feminists Who Fake It By: Marni Soupcoff
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, August 15, 2002

Ever wonder where those college gals milling around the quad with protest signs, petitions, and plenty of piercings get their ideas? When I called Stanford’s Taco Bell-chic campus my home, I used to ask myself that question a lot. Where could these megaphone-wielding coeds — screaming about sex discrimination at the gas pump and freedom from uterine fibroids — come up with so many non-issues to get peeved about? I figured I had to admire their creativity, if not their logic or fashion sense.

But it turns out, I was wrong. The college feminists at Stanford and elsewhere weren’t relying on their own imaginations to come up with far-fetched womyn’s issues and illogical excuses to blast conservatives (a.k.a. the man). There is, as I recently discovered, a feminist web site that does all that hard work for them.

The site is called Choices Campus Community (http://www.feministcampus.org/). At least, I think that’s what it’s called. It’s tough to tell because the people running it are having an identity crisis.Sometimes they call themselves Choices Campus Community, sometimes Pro Choice Campus Network, and sometimes Feminist Campus Activism Online (though, sadly, never the more accurate Feminists Fabricating Faux Campus Issues).They are run by a group called the Feminist Majority Foundation, which may or may not be the same thing as the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliances, which seems sometimes to be called the Feminist Majority for short, but never bothers to answer the obvious question, majority of what? Elitist Smith College graduates?

But I digress. The salient point is that, whatever you call the group (and I will call them Choices for simplicity’s sake), their attempts at brainwashing college women into shrill intolerance is a sad sight. Ostensibly Choices is a pro-choice organization, but they seem just as eager to defend racial preferences as access to abortions and morning after pills.  According to Choices themselves, they were organized to "inform young women of the very real threats to abortion access, women's rights, affirmative action, and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered rights posed by right wing extremists." Hey, what about the Two-Spirited (a historical Native American male-female gender)? Aren’t right wing extremists threatening them too? Likely just an oversight. But it doesn’t make much of a difference since the Choices site gives barely any concrete evidence of these imagined threats, let alone of the real perils and troubles some women encounter.

Instead, Choices’ main purpose seems to be to invent trendy but fluffy problems and issues for their female college student members to become morally outraged and exercised about. For example, one of Choices’ greatest complaints is that “[t]oo often, the connection between environmental justice and women’s rights is overlooked."  Hmmm, can’t imagine how that might happen. Other serious crises Choices addresses are: the epidemic of women forgoing careers as sports coaches because they fear people will think they are lesbians; the importance of a confidential feminist census to counter the threat of the “right-wing, anti-women minority;” and the tragedy of America’s lagging behind Europe in the provision of free contraceptives. Thank goodness these people are here.

If you yourself happen to be a college woman and would like to join the Choices crusade, but are a little lazy or fretting about the time commitment, don’t worry. According to Choices, their study and action manual (SAM) is “so comprehensive that many of our students are receiving course credit for participation in the program.” Now, there’s a thought to send chills down your spine, especially if you peek inside the SAM. One section entitled “Know the Opposition” urges students to “take a look at the much larger picture of right-wing interconnections, the national and international scope of opposition to women’s rights, and the shared multi-issue agenda and anti-feminist ideology.” What the hell does this mean? I’m not sure exactly, but apparently it has something to do with exposing right wing think tanks and public education organizations such as “The Heritage Foundation” and “The American Enterprize” (sic). (Apparently knowing the opposition doesn’t include knowing how to spell their name.)

The SAM also goes on to list a number of conservative funding sources to watch out for, including the “Scaife Foundation,” the “Bradley Foundation,” the “Olin Foundation,” and, most notoriously evil of all, “Individual Donors.” According to Choices, “[w]hile upon initial examination, these groups appear to operate completely independently without a common agenda, upon closer inspection, the groups can be seen as different pieces of the same conservative pie.” Kind of makes McCarthy look naively trusting.

But I don’t mean to make the Choices people sound exclusionary. After all, they may not tolerate anyone with views to the right of Susan Sontag, but they do sponsor an annual retreat for Christian lesbians. “If you have been searching for a place to connect with sisters who proudly claim both their lesbian and Christian identities…,” the choices people begin. And I mean, really, who hasn’t? Unfortunately you’ve missed the “Sisters in a Strange Land” retreat for this year, but don’t despair. Presumably you will be able to join the sisters as they “name the pain we have felt at the hands of the Christian tradition” next year.

In the meanwhile, the next time you are wondering where the political and ideological intolerance that suffuses the nation’s campuses comes from, think of Choices. And be reminded that the feminists of the academy don’t need to use their own minds to discover actual injustices or violations of rights. They can sit back, relax, and rely on organizations like Choices to fake the issues and fabricate enemies for them.

Marni Soupcoff is an attorney and Toronto-based writer. She is a frequent contributor to http://www.iconoclast.ca.

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