Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I see where Sweet Briar College has become the scene of another skirmish in the culture wars due to the blunt comments of this year’s graduation speaker:

Students and alumni of Sweet Briar College are expressing outrage after the school’s commencement speaker said she has only “partial sympathy” for the #MeToo movement.

“I do intend to change your view of yourselves and your world just a little if I can,” Nella Gray Barkley, who graduated from Sweet Briar in 1955, began her speech on May 12. “I do not intend to suggest you put on your armor and ride into battle in a man’s world. In fact, I do not believe it’s a men’s world; we women just need to claim the part of it we want and claim that with high expectations and no ambivalence.”

Barkley went on to say that her sympathy for women claiming to be victims of sexual harassment or assault depends in part on the woman’s role in the encounter.

“I applaud the woman coming forward who was cornered in a locked wine cellar by a man who was her superior,” Barkley explained, but added that “I have little patience with the woman who arrives breathlessly at her boss’s hotel room for a so-called conference. What did she think was going to happen?” 

Reminding graduates that “it is you who makes the ground rules, and you who enjoys the consequences of them,” she asserted that it’s “only natural for men from Mars to follow the shortest skirt in the room.”

I became aware of this largely due to the hissy-fit it provoked on the Vixen Facebook pages I still frequent even though Eldest Gel has finished up her time there and is transferring this fall.

For what it’s worth, the President of SBC issued a statement a few hours after the speech and resulting kerfluffle, basically suggesting that everybody grow the hell up.  Good on her.

As the father of three girls, of course, Ol’ Robbo is hardly sympathetic to a laissez-faire  “Oh, well, Boys will be Boys” attitude.  (I am, in fact, in favor of the strong restraints placed on male behavior by that obnoxiously patriarchal and antiquated Code of Chivalry.)  On the other hand, I fail to see why opposition to such a position is incompatible with basic common sense.  My advice to the Gels is and always has been simple:  Don’t. Do. Stupid. Things.  Don’t go to a frat party and get drunk.  Don’t walk around without a basic plan for your own self-defense.  Don’t, as the speaker suggests, go alone to a hotel room with your boss (or any other man not related to you by blood or marriage, for that matter).  Indeed, I would think that if you know men can be louts, this is exactly the practical path to take to avoid such problems.

But no, under the tortured reasoning of Third Wave Feminism, such an attitude is so much double-plus ungood wrongthink.  It’s “slut-shaming” and “victim-blaming”.  How dare anyone suggest that if the wimminz take the power and authority of their own lives, they also take responsibility for them?


Oh, for what it’s worth, the Gels have all internalized my common sense approach very thoroughly.  And they all loathe modern feminism.   So there is that.