Vigen Guroian offers a long and impassioned indictment of college complicity in the sexualization of student life. Here’s a taste:
Doane College in Nebraska recently mailed a recruiting postcard that showed a man surrounded by women, with a caption that read that students at this college have the opportunity to "play the field." After a public outcry last December, administrators hastily withdrew the marketing campaign, explaining that the postcard was harmless and a metaphor for exploring a variety of education options. But the very fact that the campaign was conceived and approved in the first place speaks volumes. The sexual revolution, if that is an appropriate title, was not won with guns but with genital groping aided and abetted by colleges that forfeited the responsibilities of in loco parentis and have gone into the pimping and brothel business.
I do not use these words lightly or loosely, and rarely is a college so blatantly suggestive as was Doane, although this attitude about the commendability of sexual experimentation has become an orthodoxy among many who hold positions as deans of student life at our colleges. Of course, some colleges take concrete steps to resist this revolution of morals. Still, in most American college coed dorms, the flesh of our daughters is being served up daily like snack jerky. No longer need young men be wolves or foxes to consume that flesh. There are no fences to jump or chicken coops to break into. The gates are wide open and no guard dogs have been posted. It is easy come and easy go. Nor are our daughters the only ones getting hurt. The sex carnival that is college life today is also doing great damage to our sons’ characters, deforming their attitudes toward the opposite sex. I am witnessing a perceptible dissipation of manly virtue in the young men I teach.
Frederica Mathewes-Green offers an interesting response
here. She argues that students operate in accordance with a moral code "just different from ours":
They believe that it’s objectively wrong to dump someone in a callous way. It’s wrong to have sex with someone who isn’t willing. It’s wrong to transgress any one of a hundred subtle etiquette cues about who may sleep with whom under what circumstances. There is plenty of objective morality on their side, and they think it’s better than ours. As far as they can see, theirs is working and ours looks pointlessly difficult. Why should they switch? This argument sounds like nothing more than "because I said so."
In other words, a mere assertion of adult or parental authority is not an effective answer. The resources for resisting the "hook-up" culture, she argues, can currently be found only in religion. This gives her two sorts of hope, one from the relationships with God and with others that grow out of religious commitments, the other from living in a world created by God:
Chastity has been such a fixture of human history that the current situation is wildly anomalous, and I expect it will eventually right itself, probably due to women realizing that promiscuity doesn’t make them feel empowered, but endangered. It may even turn out, in a supreme irony, that the current phenomenon of transitory student lesbianism was just a strategy of desperation, the only way society currently allows young women to tell boys, "Go away, I’m not ready."
For a somewhat less despairing view of the sexualization of campus life, there’s this report from Powerline about a panel discussion of Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, sponsored by the Independent Women’s Forum. As the father of a Charlotte (currently age 7), I hope the Deacons claim that the hook-up culture is really a student sub-culture is right. Not that I want simply to leave participants in it to their demons, but that I hope that there are morally and psychically superior alternatives available on campus. What say my collegiate readers, such as they are?