Unwanted Advances

Unwanted Advances

Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2017

From a highly regarded feminist cultural critic and professor comes a polemic arguing that the stifling sense of sexual danger sweeping American campuses doesn't empower women, it impedes the fight for gender equality.

Feminism is broken, argues Laura Kipnis, if anyone thinks the sexual hysteria overtaking American campuses is a sign of gender progress.

A committed feminist, Kipnis was surprised to find herself the object of a protest march by student activists at her university for writing an essay about sexual paranoia on campus. Next she was brought up on Title IX complaints for creating a "hostile environment." Defying confidentiality strictures, she wrote a whistleblowing essay about the ensuing seventy-two-day investigation, which propelled her to the center of national debates over free speech, "safe spaces," and the vast federal overreach of Title IX.

In the process she uncovered an astonishing netherworld of accused professors and students, campus witch hunts, rigged investigations, and Title IX officers run amuck. Drawing on interviews and internal documents, Unwanted Advances demonstrates the chilling effect of this new sexual McCarthyism on intellectual freedom. Without minimizing the seriousness of campus assault, Kipnis argues for more honesty about the sexual realities and ambivalences hidden behind the notion of "rape culture." Instead, regulation is replacing education, and women's hard-won right to be treated as consenting adults is being repealed by well-meaning bureaucrats.

Unwanted Advances is a risk-taking, often darkly funny interrogation of feminist paternalism, the covert sexual conservatism of hook-up culture, and the institutionalized backlash of holding men alone responsible for mutually drunken sex. It's not just compulsively readable, it will change the national conversation.

Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062657862
Branch Call Number: 371.786 Kip
Characteristics: 245 pages ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Stupid sex


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spl_merley Feb 08, 2018

Kipnis dives into the murky and danger filled waters of feminism, sexuality and University administrative reach with her deft voice, brutal wit and a certain amount of fearlessness. She weaves together the story of several hearings under Title IX investigations of sexual misconduct to raise questions about the systems, frames and controls that are shaping conversations about sex and the expanding definition of sexual assault on campuses in the US. While very readable this is a challenging read because Kipnis demands that we not give into easy answers but rather grapple with how equality, responsibility and regret intersect with power and politics and justice.

May 26, 2017

The notion that women cannot stand up for themselves and must be shielded from harm would, of course, have been commonplace in the 19th century. It's surprising to see it revived today, and used to justify a reign of terror in universities. Laura Kipnis has written an important book and, despite being a university professor, she has made it accessible to all; her tone is almost conversational.

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spl_merley Feb 08, 2018

spl_merley thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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