Feminism Reveals More of Itself

Although it began as a justifiable reaction against real economic and social injustices, there’s ample evidence that the feminist movement — 21st-century style — has become nothing more than a witches’ brew of victimization, insecurity, and resentment.

Witness the overwrought reaction to remarks by the President of Harvard, Dr. Lawrence Summers. Addressing an off-the-record working lunch at the academic conference “Diversifying the Science and Engineering Workforce: Women, Underrepresented Minorities, and their S. & E. Careers,” Dr. Summers posited some theories for the much-lamented underrepresentation of women in the areas of mathematics, engineering, and physical science. One hypothesis posed by Summers was that innate biological differences between the sexes might explain the phenomenon.

With that, the feminist thought police sprang into action. MIT biologist Nancy Simpson stormed out of the meeting in protest; Denice D. Denton, chancellor designate of the University of California, likewise expressed her outrage publicly, and sharply challenged Dr. Summers (she later explained that she needed to “speak truth to power” — as the putative chancellor of UC-Santa Cruz, does she honestly see herself as “powerless”?).

Their reactions typify the modern feminist movement. Rather than responding to the remarks with reasoned discourse and finding a scientific basis on which to rebut them, these women scientists instead chose to “take it personally,” play the victim, and complain to the newspapers — thereby themselves playing into some of the most pernicious misogynist stereotypes.

What explains their hysteria? It the fact that the feminist creed has long denied the existence of even the most obvious biological differences between the sexes. Feminists instead choose to attribute virtually all gender-based disparities in outcome to only one factor: Discrimination by the catch-all villain of the American Left — privileged white males like Larry Summers. For feminists, entertaining any conjecture about innate differences between the sexes, even in the spirit of scientific inquiry, is not just misguided or even offensive — it’s tantamount to heresy. And theories like those posited by Dr. Summers cannot be tolerated, since they endanger the favored feminist remedy of affirmative action for women in hiring and promotion, especially in math and the sciences.

Certainly, there’s something a little poignant about the insecurity of these female scientists — insecurity so great that mere theorizing about sex differences is interpreted as a hateful accusation of all-around inferiority. And it’s distressing to see female scientists attempt to short-circuit a topic of legitimate scientific debate just because it conflicts with their political agenda.

More than anything, the feminist response to Larry Summers is deeply revealing. No wonder so few young women identify with a “feminist movement” that would rather stoke resentment against those daring to question conventional wisdom, rather than actually seek — and find — the truth, whatever it may be.