This was a problem:
Did You Know...??There's also a comic discussion of a chainsaw, making it seem like a male sex organ. And there's a description of a sexual practice in which the woman takes the demeaning/ridiculous position of a wheelbarrow.
The Barrett .50 Caliber sniper rifle has an effective range of 2000 meters?
"We quickly determined this was one of the worst cases of the year," said Adam Kissel, director of FIRE [the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education], because the parody publication was singled out. "It's such an obvious double standard. The fact that 'The Monthly Rag' mentions male castration alongside an announcement for a feminist porn activist provides the same juxtaposition they're claiming for Robinson of violence and sexuality."The main problem is that men who were not identifying themselves were wafting confusing suggestions of violence toward women. It's a big overstatement to say the flier "demonizes" or "belittles" women, but look at the quote carefully. Roberts doesn't say this flier demonizes and belittles women, only that there's a distinction between merely offensive material — which I hope she thinks should protected — and threats and hate speech that put other students in fear.
Tomi-Ann Roberts, director of the feminist and gender studies program that publishes "The Monthly Rag," said participants in her program were surprised when this situation arose.
"We were like 'whoa ... wow ... wait.' Obviously, there are some men here on this campus who are very angry at our flier," Roberts said....
At the conduct hearing in March, Robinson and other students raised concerns about the offensiveness of The Monthly Rag. Roberts dismissed those complaints.
"There's a difference between material that is 'offensive' ... versus material that demonizes or threatens or belittles groups of people," Roberts said.
FIRE's position is that the men's flier was so much like the feminist flier that it's got a case of inequality: Women can do what men can't. Anybody got a PDF of The Monthly Rag? Did The Monthy Rag create anxiety about school shootings? I'm not saying the school was right to punish these boys. (The punishment is forced speech: They must conduct a forum on the issues raised by their case. Are they allowed to say what they really think or must they spout the party line?) I'm just saying that that Roberts has drawn a real distinction. We can still talk about whether that's where the line should be drawn. But let's not act as though it's been established that The Monthly Bag was only a comic, male version of The Monthly Rag.
(By the way, I suspect that the author of the headline to that Denver Post story was expressing covert support for the comedic college boys. If you don't get my point, read this.)
ADDED: Let's also examine Roberts's response: "Obviously, there are some men here on this campus who are very angry at our flier." I think she's imposing her own prejudicial belief that men are angry. One could just as well look at The Monthy Bag and say: Obviously, there are some men here on this campus who think our flier is ludicrous.
And let me say that I think the "group" that the men's flier seems to "demonize" or "belittle" is just the "group" that publishes The Monthly Bag. That is, there is speech and an answer to that speech. In this sense, FIRE is on the right track. When you have speech responding to speech, you shouldn't squelch one side of the dialogue. But the Monthly Bag guys muddied the issues by bringing in the sniper rifle (and the chainsaw). I assume they intended comedy, but comedy isn't easy, and comedy isn't an all-purpose excuse.
AND: Here's the PDF of an issue of The Monthly Rag. The reference to castration is no sort of threat to men, but the statement: "Many cultures have cautionary tales about the dangers of sex with women. It is associated with the fear of male castration." That is, the group that published the flier — the "Feminist and Gender Studies Interns" — is expressing a concern about men's fear of women, not saying that the fear is justified and certainly not that they have any idea of harming anyone.
I got the link to that PDF from Just One Minute, which has some commentary on what I've said here and some other things.