The current culture of “safetyism” and “victimhood” prevalent in American universities and colleges is the result of a feminized campus bureaucracy, according to author Heather Mac Donald.
“Female dominance of the campus population is intimately tied to the rhetoric of unsafety and victimhood,” Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a contributing editor of City Journal, argues in her latest article, “In Loco Masculi: The feminization of the American university is all but complete.”
Strong divides among men and women on key issues, along with women dominating leadership roles on campuses, Mac Donald says, are factors driving neuroticism proliferating across colleges and universities.
“Seventy-five percent of Ivy League presidents are now female. Nearly half of the 20 universities ranked highest by Forbes will have a female president this fall, including MIT, Harvard, and Columbia,” Mac Donald notes.
“The more females’ ranks increase, the more we hear about a mass nervous breakdown on campus,” she writes.
“Females on average score higher than males on the personality trait of neuroticism, defined as anxiety, emotional volatility, and susceptibility to depression,” she explains. “When students claim to be felled by ideas that they disagree with, the feminized bureaucracy does not tell them to grow up and get a grip. It validates their self-pity.”
As noted in Mac Donald’s writing, numerous studies show that males and females hold divergent views on safetyism and tolerance, even among students.
At Wellesley College and Bernard College (two women’s colleges), more than 40 percent of students say they are comfortable with the use of violence against people with whose speech they disagree. A separate survey of more than 4,400 college students found that 71 percent of males believe protecting free speech is more important than promoting inclusivity, while 59 percent of females believe inclusivity is more important than free speech.
Two-thirds of male psychology professors believe pursuing truth is more important than pursuing equity, while just 43 percent of female psychologists agree. And 56 percent of men say that colleges should not protect students from offensive ideas, while 64 percent of women say they should.
Mac Donald claims U.S. colleges and universities have become “the conveyor belt into the outside world of safetyism, of the belief that minorities in the U.S. are endemically victimized, and of the ideas that words wound, that certain beliefs equal hate, and that such ‘hate’ should be banned.”
She added: “As long as the rhetoric of safety, threat, and trauma remains dominant, the push to shut down non-progressive speech will continue.”