Friday, April 1, 2016

Bubbleheads reporting for gender sensitivity training, Mr. Madam


On those occasions when Blogger’s Block besieges us, we sometimes find ourselves thanking our lucky stars for the Bowdoin Borient, the would be campus newspaper at the nearby college, operated by members of the student body, whatever that means in the postmodern era.

Take this week’s issued, dated today, April 1st.  It’s possible we could be falling for a ‘fools’ day’ trap set by the editorial staff, but two things argue against that possibility.  First, playing an April Fools Day prank on readers would infer at least a modest sense of humor, and based on our experience over the years, we’re pretty confident humor is not an aspect of anything inside the Bowdoin College bubble.

Secondly, the articles that caught our attention in this issue are entirely in keeping with what we have seen in the way of cultural and editorial ‘norms’ in all things Bowdoin.  In other words, this issue differs not a whit from all the others we’ve perused, except for its date.

So let’s begin with a reference to our most recent post, nearly two weeks ago, titled thus:

Appropriately Inappropriate: the self-inflicted trials and tribulations of those inside the Bowdoin Bubble

The front page of the current edition includes this headline:


It contains this passage (

Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs Rick Ganong said that in the weeks following the party, his office has received over 400 formal comments from alumni and parents. The “overwhelming majority” of these complaints expressed disapproval of how the incident was handled.

That recent post, as readers know, made sport of things inside the Bubble, especially as they related to the response.  We’re not a media consultant, or a statistical expert in public reactions.  None-the-less, for a small institution like Bowdoin, we’re guessing ‘400 formal comments’ is a pretty overwhelming response.  Which we suggest lends significant credence to this passage in that prior post:

Leading us to suggest that the icing upon the sponge cake of this post is the delicious irony that according to published reports, the Grand High Poobahs of Bowdoin’s administration have wet the very beds they sleep in.  On more than one recent occasion, they’ve approved/sponsored the very “cultural appropriation” they so virtuously despise.  Post-modernism is a wondrous thing, isn’t it?

But we’re reminded of the old saying: ‘the proof of the public bed-wetting is in the effect on alumni donations.’

Next, we’d like to highlight this suprisingly revealing article (,) particularly as it relates to total lack of self-awareness on the part of the student body, if not abject cluelessness.  At least a ‘segment’ of the student body.


Forgive us a moment of pettiness, but if this was our daughter writing, from her lofty slot at a high end elite ($60,000 plus per year) liberal arts college, we’d call her home and tell her to find something else to do with our money.  Several passages in the column rise up and slap us in the face, including these:

according to Natalie Kitroeff in the New York Times, “many young women are finding that casual sex does not bring the physical pleasure that men more often experience.” The hookup is “over” when the guy “finishes.” This misconception is true here at Bowdoin, but there exists a more serious problem. Frankly, many of the men are so detached and therefore sexually inept that physical pleasure is beside the point. The real inequality that exists in heterosexual hookups at Bowdoin is rooted in disrespect. Men have ceased to treat women in the polite and courteous manner we deserve and have begun to view us as disposable playthings.

Hookups are not a service.

This particular male unjustly deemed my friend and me disposable and still is blind to how objectifying and deplorable his treatment of us was.

As a community and a generation, we need to ask ourselves how we let this happen and how we can establish a safe environment going forward.

I am simply advocating change. Men should not, under any circumstance, treat us like we are disposable objects. There needs to be a complete shift in our hookup culture.

The gender inequality that our hookup scene perpetuates is disgusting. It is absolutely time for men to treat women at Bowdoin with the respect we deserve.

(note that the author is a ‘senior,’  whatever that means in this day and age)

Consider these thoughts in the context of a campus and student newspaper that recently indulged these items :


This one ( features this graphic:


And this related item (


Anyone familiar with this “production” knows that it is about ‘women’ getting on stage and waxing theatric about ‘down there.’

And then members of their cohort have the unmitigated gall to talk about being objectified?  Does the word ‘feminism’ mean anything in the common sense area?

Can you say “Duhhh” loyal readers?  Are we to take these fragile flowers seriously?

On the flip side, so to speak, the same Borient issue addresses the merit of “Unmasking masculinity” in an editorial (  A passage or two:

Recently, discussions about the potential dangers of masculinity have been coming out of the woodwork on campus. On Wednesday, the Bowdoin Men’s Group, partnering with the Women’s Resource Center and the Center for Gender Violence Prevention and Education, hosted a screening of “The Mask You Live In.” The film explores the limiting ways in which masculinity is socially constructed and taught to boys from an early age. Many of the ideas it addressed are not foreign to our campus. For instance, in her article for this week’s opinion section, Skye Aresty ’16 calls attention to what she sees as an unhealthy and unequal hookup culture at Bowdoin fueled by men exerting a sense of entitlement over women.

We’re not sure how “gender violence” is differentiated from all the other forms of violence, but we can tell you we don’t feel ‘socially constructed.’  Then look at this passage:

As Professor Judith Casselberry pointed out in the discussion following the screening of “The Mask You Live In,” autonomous spaces, that is, spaces where people can talk with people like them, can be incredibly valuable. This is not to downplay either the importance of incorporating diverse experiences into conversations, or the necessity of recognizing that many of the people hurt by toxic displays of masculinity are not men. The Men’s Group is a good effort by a small group of students to recognize that issues of masculinity—including sex, fatherhood, emotional expression and mental illness—often go undiscussed, and to facilitate healthy conversations in spaces specifically designated for this purpose.

Notice how insiduously the statements infer that ‘toxic displays of masculinity’ (though not all by ‘men’!!!) are a concern, and that safe, designated ‘spaces’ are extremely valuable to address these ‘experiences.’

We’re not sure what the term “Orwellian” means, but we have a hunch it’s creeping right here into our very own perfect little town and its discourse, led by the cultural architects and renovators on the Bowdoin campus.  Think Human Rights Task Force.  Or overpriced gobbledygook spewing from coddled academics.  And degrees in “studies” of various sorts.

Please be careful where you pee, lest you be acused of a display of toxic masculinity.  Such behavior is reserved for the ‘boys will be boys’ men of Bowdoin, who frequently find public settings to be their preferred choice.

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