- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2005

Women’s studies courses at colleges and universities teach misinformation and give bad advice, says a study by the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF).

In these classes, the report says, female empowerment is a project advanced by casual sex in a world without marriage and male dependence.

But a hard look at the facts, says IWF, shows that casual sex brings scars, not power, and that long-term relationships are more likely to lead to happiness.

The special report “Sex (Ms.) Education: What Young Women Need to Know (But Won’t Hear in Women’s Studies) About Sex, Love and Marriage,” was written by Carrie Lukas, IWF policy director.

“The point of this paper is really to give young women the full story of sex, love and marriage so they can make informed decisions on how to achieve their own long-term happiness,” Mrs. Lukas says.

Although feminist texts depict sexual liberation as the source of ultimate freedom, that is simply not the case, she says.

“I started to review popular women’s studies textbooks and overwhelmingly they painted a really negative picture of marriage,” she says. “I felt like there was a real lack of facts that these texts were giving their readers.”

Mrs. Lukas cites several surveys that show “casual sex is not exactly liberating.”

A 2003 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Seventeen magazine found that more than 60 percent of girls who had sex wished they had waited. Nearly 40 percent of sexually active girls specifically wished they had waited until they were older.

Another survey conducted in 2003, this one by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, found that 67 percent of teens surveyed wished they had waited longer before having sex. Nearly eight in 10 sexually experienced teenage girls and six in 10 sexually experienced teenage boys reported they wished they had waited.

The IWF report quotes from several women’s studies textbooks, including excerpts from an essay by Rebecca Walker in “Listen Up: Voices From the Next Feminist Generation.”

“The question is not whether young women are going to have sex, for this is beyond any parental or societal control,” writes Ms. Walker. “The question is rather, what do young women need to make sex a dynamic, affirming, safe and pleasurable part of our lives?”

The problem with these books, says Mrs. Lukas, isn’t so much the misinformation as it is the audience.

“These college-age women are making some important decisions of how they are going to lead their lives and it is important to have the other part of the story — that marriage has benefits,” she says.

Mrs. Lukas is not alone in her concern. Janice Crouse, senior fellow at Concerned Women for America, argues that feminists “have used the college campus as a place to promote their special agenda.”

“Women’s studies programs have been kind of the exclusive club of the radical feminist,” Mrs. Crouse says. “It’s all very slanted towards a special attitude that says marriage and family are really detrimental to a woman’s ultimate goals, which are to have a career and for that career to bring power and material success.”

Parents, Mrs. Lukas says, are not always aware of what their daughters are learning in college.

“Parents have a role to play in advising their kids … there is going to be certain freedom and a certain amount of letting go that has to happen. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop the conversation and stop playing an active role in helping your child,” she says.

Mrs. Crouse agrees.

“I think the smart parent doesn’t look at it as control so much as nurturing, training and teaching their children,” she says. “What they have to do is develop a relationship with their child. They’re still the parent and the child is depending on them during those four years because they are making some of the most important decisions of their lives.”

Preparation for those conversations with children must begin long before the college years.

“The wise parent prepares for that day and maintains a relationship of advice and wisdom,” she says.

For conservative culture watchdogs, such as Mrs. Crouse and Mrs. Lukas, the battle doesn’t stop with informing parents. The ultimate goal is to rid colleges entirely of bad information and hidden agendas.

“We have a real responsibility as part of the conservative movement to expose what is going on because what we have here is a deliberate program and what we have to do is counter that,” Mrs. Crouse says. “I’m very pleased to say that most of the organizations I know are reaching out to college campuses.”

Even more important, Mrs. Lukas says, is for average citizens and college alumni to pay attention to what is coming out of campuses and do what they can to change it.

“So many people continue to give to their colleges, but we should be asking some questions about what colleges are teaching,” she says. “Vote with your checkbook.”

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