After the release of a controversial new publication at Kenyon called the Campus Constitutional, The Thrill reached out to Kenyon students to ask for their opinions on the paper’s content. The Campus Constitutional’s first issue (released last week in print) sparked outrage among many community members, especially the article titled “Male Privilege Does Not Exist And It’s a Dangerous Concept To Believe In.”
The op-ed argues that men and women have “different” struggles, and that one is not more privileged than the other. The author begins his argument by saying that “there is a conversation to be had about the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses as well as other issues unique to women of which men will not face,” a sentiment that is abandoned after the first paragraph of the piece. The rest of the article cites sources that state higher rates of alcoholism and alcohol-related deaths among the male population, greater opioid abuse, higher suicide rates of specifically white men, the disproportional rates of incarceration of men, and the lack of success that men are recently finding in school systems and institutions of higher education as indications that male privilege is a myth. He says, “Statistically, men are facing a crisis in their ability to simply live…men are facing a crisis in many ways of life and women are thriving in many of their own…When was the last time someone made a national effort to tell young boys to get out there and make the world their own?”
We asked an SMA and a DA/ PC to weigh in on the Campus Constitutional’s message, and how the Kenyon community can most constructively respond to speech that denies the existence of male privilege and acknowledges but does not address the serious issues that women face, like the non-mythical wage gap and the staggering rates of sexual violence against women.
Chloe (Teddy) Hannah-Drullard, Discrimination Advisor & Peer Counselor, Class 2020
“The Campus Constitutional doesn’t deserve attention. All thought about it and energy put into opposing it should stop at this article. It’s not worth anyone’s time…on top of all other negative aspects of the publication, the writing in the Campus Constitutional is atrocious. If these boys really insist on playing contrarian, they should at least play thoughtfully.”
Maggie Perky, Sexual Misconduct Advisor, Class 2020
“The author…acknowledged male privilege by saying there are things that women face that men will never have to, but he quickly backtracks and says that male privilege is fake. To me, that is the epitome of male privilege to be able to acknowledge it but refuse to accept it. But I also think it is misguided to assume that men won’t also experience sexual assault on campus. Perhaps the privilege is that men are not conditioned to fear sexual encounters the way women are, but that doesn’t make it any less real…I’m not saying that because men can also experience sexual misconduct this author is correct in his statements, but I am saying it is a privilege he has to not fear assault.”
Jake Barnett, Contributor to the Kenyon Collegian, Class 2020
“The Campus Constitutional squanders a prime opportunity to start a legitimate dialogue…An example is the use of the headline ‘Male Privilege Does Not Exist And It’s a Dangerous Concept To Believe In’. Without even beginning to read the article, a student who disagrees will feel attacked. This does not promote intellectual debate. Rhetoric like this only drives people further apart,” Jake Barnett wrote in Thursday’s issue of The Collegian. “So what do we do about this at Kenyon? The solution is twofold: First, we should work to foster an intellectual environment in which conservative voices feel that they can raise legitimate points without fear of social exclusion, and second, all debates should be grounded in a mutual respect; this cannot be achieved in a piece [Male Privilege Does Not Exist And It’s A Dangerous Concept To Believe In] that has the sole purpose of angering those who disagree.”
The editors of “Campus Constitutional” were unavailable to comment on their publication.