Misandry, or the man-hating equivalent of misogyny, has gone from a far-out accusation leveled by Men’s Rights Activist types to an ironic, re-appropriated feminist inside joke, and now it has come back out the other side. In a lawsuit against Columbia University, counsel for the male student Emma Sulkowicz has accused of rape are using language that usually connotes anti-female harassment. In a pre-trial letter posted on the Wall Street Journal, they cite “intentional discrimination on the basis of his male sex by condoning a hostile educational environment due to knowingly permitting and apparently approving of Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz’s and Defendant Columbia Professor Kessler’s engaging in prolonged sexual harassment of Plaintiff Nungesser, with the consequence that Plaintiff Nungesser had been effectively denied equal access to Defendant Columbia’s resources and opportunities.”
They’re using Title IX, the same law that activists use to push schools to be more responsive to accusers, to demand damages for Paul Nungesser. Specific sub-accusations include Columbia’s allowing Sulkowicz to do her performance art project for campus credit, allowing her to graduate with honors, and allowing her to walk onstage with her mattress (which the school actually forbade her from doing but she did anyway):
“Columbia Professor Jon Kessler and Emma Sulkowicz jointly designed her senior thesis “Carry That Weight” mattress project for which Emma Sulkowicz received Columbia University course credit and the public endorsement of Defendant Columbia Professor Kessler as showing how Defendant Columbia felt about the issue.”
This is the first time I’ve heard about creating art about sexual assault as constituting “gender-based discriminatory harassment.” As the case continues, we’ll see if the “misandry approach” has any legal traction, and whether this kind of lawsuit affects the journalism, film, art, and literature that is arising out of the campus anti-rape movement.