You know, every day I am glad I converted politically and am no longer a leftist feminist shill, mainly because I cannot believe how intolerant and insensitive they’ve become.

The latest controversy comes from a leftist feminist professor, who also supports the BDS movement against Israel, because a man had the nerve to joke about wanting to go to the women’s lingerie department.

The Elevator Incident

From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

The fuss started when Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London, and Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College, ended up in the same crowded elevator during a conference at a Hilton in San Francisco last month.

She said she offered to press the floor buttons for people in the elevator, whom she described as mostly conference attendees and all, except one other woman, white middle-aged men. Instead of saying a floor, Lebow smiled and asked for the women’s lingerie department “and all his buddies laughed,” Sharoni wrote in a complaint, the details of which he disputed, to the association later that day.

“After they walked out, the woman standing next to me turned to me and said, ‘I wonder if we should have told them that it is no longer acceptable to make these jokes!” she said in her complaint.

Sharoni, who wrote in her complaint that she has experienced sexual harassment in academe in the past and was shaken by the incident, said it took her a while to figure out that Lebow thought it was funny “to make a reference to men shopping for lingerie while attending an academic conference. I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that we froze and didn’t confront him,” she wrote.

SHAKEN by the incident?! Oh come on! So Sharoni went back to her room and filed a complaint against Lebow, even though “he tried to resolve the problem informally.” He called her complaint “frivolous” and hoped the ethic committee would feel the same way since Sharoni “may be directing time and effort away from the real offenses that trouble” both of them.

NOPE! The spineless committee found Lebow’s remarks “offensive and inappropriate.” It gets better because they said his decision “to reach out to Prof. Sharoni, and termed her complaint “frivolous'” as an even “more serious violation.”

The committee demanded Lebow send Sharoni a written apology that “should focus on Lebow’s actions, rather than Sharoni’s perceptions of them.” Lebow insisted a man asked for the floors, not a woman, and the men were not his buddies. He also noted that he was not smiling and Sharoni couldn’t have known his actions because she was in front of him:

He also sent an email to colleagues calling his treatment “a horrifying and chilling example of political correctness” that “encourages others to censor their remarks for fear of retribution.” In an email to The Chronicle on Sunday, Lebow said he made the joke “to relieve the slight claustrophobia I felt in such a crowded lift.”

Ruth Marcus, the deputy editorial page editor at The Washington Post, remarked that this incident “reflects not only a generational and cultural divide but also the unfortunate intersection of two prickly personalities with the bad luck to be stuck in the same elevator.” Marcus wrote that Sharoni didn’t have to file a grievance and Lebow didn’t have to label her complaint as “frivolous.” However, Marcus takes the side of Lebow because, well, common sense:

Nonetheless, count me with Lebow. The days of women feeling compelled to stay silent in the face of sexist remarks or conduct are thankfully on the way out. Hear something, say something, by all means.

But for goodness’ sake, let’s maintain some sense of proportion and civility as we figure out how to pick our way through the minefield of modern gender relations. Not every comment that offends was intended that way, and intent matters. Maybe check in with the speaker before going nuclear? Maybe consider that there is a spectrum of offensiveness? That not every stray statement by a 76-year-old man warrants a resort to disciplinary procedures?

Because making a federal case, or even a disciplinary one, over a stray elevator remark is not only, well, frivolous — it’s also counterproductive. Take a culture of eggshell fragility. Pair it with a hypersensitive disciplinary mechanism. What you get is a result that serves only to diminish real, and continuing, instances of truly offensive behavior.

In other words, stop being such a cold-hearted female full of hatred. If everything is harassment then you’re watering down people’s complaints OF ACTUAL HARASSMENT.

BDS Supporter

Sharoni enjoys double standards, though. Back in September 2016, she became expressed outrage because the vice president for admission at State University of New York at Plattsburgh (where she worked at the time) told her “that someone had made a series of open-records requests about her hiring, continued employment and conferences attended while at Plattsburgh.” Inside Higher Ed continued:

The professor said she is so far the subject of five open-records requests from someone affiliated with group she believes to be pro-Israel (that could not immediately be confirmed). It’s “clear that the main goal behind this request is to intimidate me and damage my scholarly reputation by painting me as a subversive ‘troublemaker’ on my campus and more broadly,” she said. “All the information requested should be protected. The fact that a senior scholar like myself — a tenured full professor with international reputation — is being subjected to such requests has a chilling effect on junior scholars.”

She added, “The first question I asked during my faculty orientation at Plattsburgh in 2007 was about academic freedom. I don’t think it is too much to expect that an institution that I have contributed to, as a faculty member and department chair, would issue a statement denouncing the vile threats directed at me last spring, which included rape and death threats, and affirm their support for free speech and academic freedom.”

In an interview, she “compared victim blaming in rape cases to public attitudes about Palestinians.” Insider Higher Ed continued:

“This is the assumption that Palestinians basically bring the violence on themselves. It’s similar to telling the survivor that it’s what she was wearing, that she gave mixed messages,” Sharoni is quoted as saying. “For example, ‘They didn’t agree to the partition, they’ve rejected attempts to make peace, they elected for Hamas …’ There’s no responsibility and no accountability for the perpetrator of violence, even though that perpetrator is breaking international law.”

Sharoni added, “In addition to blaming the victim, Palestinians are not believed, which is the same with survivors. ‘They’re exaggerating, it’s not that bad, because Israel is a democracy.’ It’s actually very similar to saying, ‘No, he’s actually a nice guy,’ about a man accused of rape.”

Sharoni also made the news over BDS in December of 2015 when she tried to make it seem that the majority of those in The National Women’s Studies Association voted to cut ties with Israel. From The Daily Beast:

Professor Simona Sharoni of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, who serves as a co-founder of the Feminists for Justice in/for Palestine group, told Inside Higher Ed that the “the vote of almost 90 percent of the members of the National Women’s Studies Association in support of this resolution underscores the fact that boycott, divestment and sanctions can be or is seen by members of our association as an example of expressing feminist solidarity.”

The Daily Beast pointed out that while 88.4% of the members supported the resolution, only 35% actually voted, which “means around 31 percent of NWSA members actually voted in support.”

The publication talked to member Janet Freedman, who spoke out against the resolution because of the way the organization passed it:

She attended the NWSA’s annual conference this past November in Milwaukee, where she felt organizers “were emphasizing a single point of view, which deeply troubled me.”

She and three other women held a smaller event to debate the BDS resolution, which only about 20 or 25 people attended, according to Freedman. The NWSA declined to comment on any specific questions from The Daily Beast regarding the BDS vote.

“Having been at the conference, I asked so many people, ‘Have you read the resolution, I would like to discuss this?’ I spoke to few who had even read it,” she said.

That didn’t bother Sharoni, who continued to champion “the NWSA’s vote to boycott Israeli institutions as part of ‘redefining feminism and putting solidarity with Palestine into that definition of what it means to be a feminist.'”

Intolerance apparently is “intersectional” in the parlance of the trendy leftist terminology.

[Featured image via]


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