Summary: Feminists are building a new culture for America. Here two feminist Professors gives us a glimpse of life in the promised land.
“And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.”
— A speech by union leader Nicholas Klein in 1914. See the origins of this insight.
A Feminist’s revised version of Pride and Prejudice.
What are the origins of the #meToo movement, with its wildly varying concepts of harassment? The foundations were laid in America’s universities, with generations of young women instructed in the ways of feminism. Two Professors of English demonstrate this thinking in their analysis of Pride and Prejudice.
By Paula Marantz Cohen.
An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
She is a Dean and Professor of English at Drexel University.
“If you’re struggling to make sense of the sexual-harassment issues swirling around us, you could do worse than read Jane Austen. I was struck by this recently while teaching what she called her “rather too light and bright and sparkling” novel, Pride and Prejudice.
“Consider the portion of the novel in which Elizabeth Bennet is proposed to by the egregiously foolish and self-important Mr. Collins. …
“The scene caricatures a familiar dynamic in recent news: A powerful man believes that a vulnerable woman will succumb to him. He equates his power with attractiveness and confuses her resistance with playful seductiveness. …
“That said, even Jane Austen, writing more than 200 years ago, knew what the right behavior looked like in the face of a harasser. Elizabeth was decisive and clear in rejecting Mr. Collins.”
“Succumb” to a “harasser.” That sounds horrible. Did he stalk her for days, or weeks? Did he pressure her to accept a fate worse than death? Mr. Collins was heir to an estate; Elizabeth was almost penniless. The dastardly scoundrel asked Elizabeth to marry him.
The face of a harasser.
Perhaps it was the form of the proposal to which Cohen objects. In the new world, all proposals of marriage will be graded by a feminist English Professor. An “F” will mean the miscreant will be branded an harasser. But it gets scene takes a darker turn, as Cohen describes.
“But it is also true that some men do not take the hint — or are even incited by the resistance, as Mr. Collins initially appears to be.”
How true. After Elizabeth said “no”, Mr. Collins had the audacity to repeat his proposal – saying 14 more sentences (very politely). This must have taken two minutes! Harassment! Cohen would have had Collins before a University Tribunal for that.
A second perspective on Pride and Prejudice
“Darcy’s proposal is the one which really exemplifies sexual harassment: power and extreme wealth held over a (financially) vulnerable woman. …Darcy’s proposal …is even more hostile and pressuring than Mr. Collins’s. Alone in Mr. Collins’s house with no family hovering, Elizabeth must confront Darcy, who has fought against his attraction to her and expresses disdain for her family. …
“Mr. Collins’s proposal is a caricature of power over women. Darcy’s proposal is the one which really exemplifies sexual harassment: power and extreme wealth held over a (financially) vulnerable woman who, despite his prejudices, has stirred within him some sexual feelings.”
Unlike today’s snowflakes, Elizabeth shows no distress at Darcy proposing without her “family hovering” nearby. Let’s look at Darcy’s “hostile and pressuring” proposal.
“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
He then shares his feelings, honestly and forthrightly. She does not like the proposal, and says no. As couples often do, they fell into no-holds-bar fighting. Elizabeth won. Beard explains why this is “harassment.”
“His anger at Elizabeth’s refusal is palpable. He turns pale, he struggles to appear composed. A daunting silence “was to Elizabeth’s feelings dreadful’ and when he retreats after her calm and reasoned refusal, she doesn’t know ‘how to support herself, and from actual weakness sat down and cried for half an hour.” For a man to bring fiery Lizzy to that result – now that is sexual harassment.”
This is a daft reading of the text. First, see that Austin describes Elizabeth’s emotions as similar to Mr. Darcy’s: “Elizabeth felt herself angry every moment; yet she tried to speak with composure when she said….” More importantly, we see this theme in the #meToo movement and often in regulations about sexual harassment: the standard is how the woman feels. The man must anticipate how the woman will feel in response to his actions. Not only does this require superhuman insight, but it is completely one-sided. But how he feels about her speech and actions is irrelevant.
This is what feminists consider harassment.
This begins as a proposal and ends as no-holds-barred fight. Elizabeth wins on points. Do you see harassment?
Many feminists have abandoned equal treatment of men and women, seeking new standards that give women new privileges. As we see here, feminists want the authoritarian apparatus of government and corporations engaged to prevent women from having hurt feelings from their interactions with men. This is just one aspect of their professed plans to remake America’s culture. They are doing this the slow but effective way, molding the thinking of young women — one classroom at a time, generation after generation.
There are many ways this can play out. None of them are good for men, or women, or America.
The harassment-free version of Pride and Prejudice.
For More Information
Ideas! For shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.
- The unexpected response to the sexual harassment crisis.
- Weaponizing claims of sexual harassment for political gain.
- Mysteries and ironies of the next new sexual revolution.
- Worrying while the harassment fires burn out of control.
- Second thoughts about romance in the #MeToo age.
- The amazing numbers behind the #MeToo movement!
- News from the front lines as the meToo madness spreads.
- Look beyond the stories to see how we define harassment.
Two great ways to experience Pride and Prejudice.
Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition — This is the one I have.
Pride and Prejudice (1995 BBC version) — By far the best film version!