The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

What’s Up at Bryn Mawr?

Posted on | October 8, 2014 | 45 Comments

Brenna Levitin (@brennalevitin) is a junior at Bryn Mawr College (annual tuition $45,540), an elite women’s college in Philadelphia with an undergraduate enrollment of fewer than 1,500 students. Ms. Levitin describes herself as a “radical feminist” and has been working on a very special project at Bryn Mawr:

Since May, Brenna Levitin, the Greenfield Digital Center’s TriCo DH summer intern, has been hard at work tracking down the histories of LGBT individuals and communities at Bryn Mawr between 1970-2000. . . .
Although much of the past four months has been spent sighing over a lack of LGBT archival material, I recently had a great realization which partially solved the mystery of the disappearance of Bryn Mawr’s BGALA Center Library. I first heard about this mystery from Robin Bernstein, Class of 1991, the creator of the library and its first keeper. She told me about how she painstakingly shaped it over three years, only to have it disappear a few years after she graduated. She mourned the multi-hundred-volume library for years, until, to our excitement, I physically ran into the collection in Canaday Library a few weeks ago! . . .
In her sophomore year, Robin Bernstein asked the Bryn Mawr Women’s Center to use their empty back room as a physical space for BGALA (The Bryn Mawr-Haverford Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Alliance). After the students in charge agreed, Bernstein began to create a physical space for the club within the Women’s Center, located on the upper floor of the Campus Center. . . .
Bernstein lovingly curated the library for the next three years, watching as it grew with each year’s funds. By the end of her senior year, the library contained over 1,000 books, audiotapes, and magazines. The summer after Bernstein’s graduation in 1991, the books were removed from the BGALA Center and relocated to a room in the Denbigh dormitory. . . .
After approximately 1993, institutional memory fails to recall where the books lived. In fact, Bernstein and I believed the books to still be missing when I found them, by chance, living in Canaday Library as an official collection. . . .
The next time that anyone saw the BGALA books was in 2003, when members of the Rainbow Alliance came to then-Coordinator for Information Acquisition and Delivery, Berry Chamness, in Canaday to ask for help. The Rainbow Alliance (the new name for BGALA) was losing the space where they stored the library, and wondered what to do to save the books and keep them accessible. Since Fall 2004, what is now known as the Rainbow Alliance/Women’s Center Collection has lived as a discreet collection in Canaday Library . . .

You can read the whole thing. This story came to my attention as part of my research into radical feminism for the “Sex Trouble” series, when I decided to do a search on Twitter:

Which led me to Bryn Mawr alumna Monica Mercado:

It turns out that Ms. Mercado, having completed her Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago (dissertation, “Women and the Word: Gender, Print, and Catholic Identity in Nineteenth-Century America”), has obtained a postdoctoral fellowship and become Director of The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education at Bryn Mawr. Ms. Mercado’s blogging at their “Educating Women” site in turn led me to the radical feminist student Brenna Levitin, who is researching the archives for “histories of LGBT individuals and communities at Bryn Mawr.”

Among these “individuals” is the alumna Robin Bernstein, who created the gay club’s library collection at Bryn Mawr. She’s now Doctor Bernstein, having gotten her Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale University in 2004, and hired on at Harvard:

Assistant Director of Studies/Lecturer, Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University, September 2004-June 2006
Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and of History and Literature, Harvard University, July 2006-December 2010
Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University, January 2011-June 2013
Professor of African and African American Studies and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University, July 2013-present

Of course, this began because I was curious to see how Twitter reflected the influence of Adrienne Rich, whose landmark 1980 essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” fostered the now-commonplace feminist theory that heterosexuality, far from being women’s natural attraction to men, is actually a form of oppression imposed on women by the patriarchy.

“If you consider sexual desire and romantic love between men and women to be natural and healthy, you are not a feminist. . . . There is nothing natural about sex, according to feminist ideology, no biological urge that causes women to be attracted to men.”
Robert Stacy McCain, April 10

The male-supremacist oppression of “compulsory heterosexuality” evidently has no effect at elite schools like Bryn Mawr, where lesbianism is certainly en vogue if not yet de rigueur.

The college was founded by a Quaker physician, Dr. Joseph Taylor, who in 1879 spent more than $50,000 of his own money (a huge sum at the time) to purchase the land that became Bryn Mawr’s campus. The first president of Bryn Mawr college was also male, James Rhodes. Whatever debt Bryn Mawr owes to the patriarchy is apparently forgotten in the school’s current radical feminist incarnation. However, it seems, some students are staging a rebellion:

Concerns about tolerance, diversity and respect for differing viewpoints led an angry mob of students at Bryn Mawr College to protest the display of a Confederate flag and demand that the students who displayed it be forcibly evicted from their dorm room. . . .
It started in early September when two seniors hung a Confederate flag in their residence hall — apparently in a common area. They also bound some tape to the floor and labeled the tape a “Mason-Dixon line.”
The students . . . said they chose the imagery to express their Southern pride.

Uh-oh. Who knows where this could lead? Of course, as every feminist knows, heteronormative patriarchy is the ultimate slavery, which means that 97% of women are its helpless victims.



45 Responses to “What’s Up at Bryn Mawr?”

  1. Steve Skubinna
    October 8th, 2014 @ 1:24 pm

    Why is a woman’s only college even legal these days?

  2. Bob Belvedere
    October 8th, 2014 @ 1:44 pm

    Amherst College.

    Smith College.

  3. Mm
    October 8th, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

    So, yet another person is researching “LGBT individuals and communities.” Does anyone research heterosexual individuals and communities?

  4. Quartermaster
    October 8th, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

    Why? Are you a homophobe or sumpin’?

  5. Carter Chides Barry on ISIS | Regular Right Guy
    October 8th, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

    […] What’s Up at Bryn Mawr? […]

  6. RS
    October 8th, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

    The students, roommates Rachel Hager from Bellaire, Texas and Vanessa Felso from Alpharetta, Ga., said they chose the imagery to express their Southern pride.

    Begged question: What sort of Southern parents send their kids to Bryn Mawr?

  7. DeadMessenger
    October 8th, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

    I am. But when I denounced myself, I just told myself to piss off.

  8. Adobe_Walls
    October 8th, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

    Because only white men can be oppressors and the workload is becoming unsustainable. As a White Male I strive to and indeed do manage to oppress more and more people each and every day. However in spite of my efforts I find myself falling farther and farther behind in meeting the increasing demands for my oppression time and energy.

    This phenomenon is what ”Ol’Remus of the Woodpile Report” termed “Peak Oppression”. At some point something has to give as the resource known as “White Male Oppression” is dwindling as the demand is for it is ever rising. One solution to this problem could be for various groups to share their oppression. For instance there is no reason why Blacks, Hispanics and the LGBT communities can’t be oppressed together as opposed to being oppressed individually or as single groups. At some point “White Male Oppression Providers” will no longer be able to provide the services “the oppressed community has come to expect. This is due in part to dwindling numbers of white males but mostly due rapidly increasing demand for this service. This will inevitably lead to rationing which will negatively effect the various grievance industries. For instance we might have to go to a system wherein some oppressed groups can only be oppressed on even numbered days while others are only oppressed on odd numbered days. It may even be necessary to eliminate oppression on Sundays in order to give White Male Oppressors a chance to recharge. This would devastate the victim industry as there would be no oppression on the day all the Sunday talk shows are broadcast. As I believe I’ve demonstrated this is a serious resource problem and must be dealt with sooner rather than later.

  9. Bumr50
    October 8th, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

    Obviously, nothing is “up” at Bryn Mawr.

  10. ripple947
    October 8th, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

    Amherst College is coed and used to be all-male. The other all-women college in that area of western MA is Mt. Holyoke. And furthur east, near Boston, is Wellesley College, alma mater of the Hildabeast.

  11. runsinbackground
    October 8th, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

    Not for nothing, but why do you care about the history of the BGALA library? I mean, OK, there are a lot of lesbians at Bryn Mawr, some of them pursue degrees in Women’s Studies, and some of those women write theses with dry-sounding names and then go on to teach at Harvard. Is the point of all this really to draw attention to the fact that someone who once lost track of a subcollection of the Bryn Mawr library, and who has read Adrienne Rich with apparent enjoyment, is a professor at a university with a reputation for liberalism? Color me shocked.

  12. K-Bob
    October 8th, 2014 @ 5:19 pm

    Well, for one thing, they need to buy a couple vowels.

    Looking at that tuition, I’m glad I decided to Home College my kids. Not that Home College is without cost, mind.

  13. What’s Up at Bryn Mawr? | That Mr. G Guy's Blog
    October 8th, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

    […] What’s Up at Bryn Mawr?. […]

  14. Mike G.
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

    Kind of curious myself.

  15. Mike G.
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:09 pm

    The BGALA library and it’s disappearing collection wasn’t the point of the article. To get the gist of it, you must go back and start at the beginning of the “Sex Trouble” series.

    What the series is about is radical feminism lesbianism and how a very small number of people are turning everything upside down and changing what is considered normal into something considered bad.

    Over 97% of women don’t believe in all the radical feminism crap, so blame it on patriarchal oppression.

  16. RKae
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:11 pm

    I wonder if I could attend a women-only college if I pre-identify as female.

    For those of you new to this concept of mine, to “pre-identify” is to say, “I’m currently male and I identify as male, but I suspect that, due to increased propaganda in all media (entertainment and journalistic) and leaps and bounds in mind control techniques (and the government’s eagerness to use these techniques), I might find myself identifying as female in the near future; therefore, I’m preparing myself for this important step.”

  17. RKae
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:12 pm

    Yes. They have thoroughly researched them and arrived at the conclusion that heterosexuality is an oppressive social construct.

  18. RKae
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

    And here’s the fallout from this lunacy:

    Check out “the Genderbread Person.”

    Enjoy! (And you’re entirely welcome.)

  19. Steve Skubinna
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:17 pm

    Damn. I’ve got some oppressing to do.

  20. Steve Skubinna
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:18 pm

    Ah, it appears we have a sighting of that hitherto unknown species, the Self Loathing Cracker.

  21. Mike G.
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

    Am I supposed to thank you for that?

    Someone in that school system has a few screws loose…or is a lot of fries short of a Happy Meal (TM).

  22. Steve Skubinna
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

    I for one am interested, no, fascinated, at the dark mutterings suggesting a sinister conspiracy to suppress the BGALA library.

    I wonder if it included a copy of Green Eggs and ham?

  23. Steve Skubinna
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:28 pm

    You’d save a hell of a lot just giving your kids a Euraipass and an open ended round trip ticket to Europe.

    With any luck they might learn first hand that the Blue State Model only works as long as you have access to other peoples’ money. Then they may come home and get themselves a real job.

  24. Steve Skubinna
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

    “Gender” is a construct of the patriarchy. Therefore Bryn Mar would have no grounds to deny you admittance.

  25. Steve Skubinna
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:31 pm

    Last time I denounced myself, I offered myself in response a nice hot mug of STFU. Then I gave myself a quarter and told me to call somebody who gave a shit.

    I can be such a dick sometimes.

  26. kilo6
    October 8th, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

    What the *%¥! is that symbol on the crotch?
    Looks like something invented by a demented Electrical Engineer … combination of an antenna, DC current input and a ground connection

  27. Conan O’Brien and the Notorious Flaming Skull | Regular Right Guy
    October 8th, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

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  28. RKae
    October 8th, 2014 @ 7:08 pm

    Must be some sort of transhumanist technological “advancement” in gender; you know: “the next step in evolution.”

  29. Adobe_Walls
    October 8th, 2014 @ 7:18 pm

    Better get on it, the job gets more difficult every day and our clients just can’t afford for any of us to be slackers.

  30. Adobe_Walls
    October 8th, 2014 @ 8:12 pm

    It would appear they’re not so self loathing. Maybe they are truly courageous and went to fight the enemy in the belly of the beast. Maybe they’re dedicated evangelicals and enjoy a challenge. After all there aren’t many places left on this continent where one runs the risk of actually being crucified.

  31. concern00
    October 8th, 2014 @ 8:18 pm

    Most of our western world owes its existence to the patriarchy, and just to be a little bit more hateful I’ll add – the Christian patriarchy.

    If certain special women are keen to go it alone, why don’t they start a knitting club or something. In my experience a good woman can knit a mean sweater.

  32. Zohydro
    October 8th, 2014 @ 9:09 pm

    With some 7 billion products of countless needless acts of vile heteronormative patriarchal oppression alive on the planet at this very moment, the proof of this is irrefutable!

  33. Zohydro
    October 8th, 2014 @ 9:18 pm

    In the comments at your link, I’ve learnt that Bruce Jenner (related to the Unspeakable Armenians, somehow) is “transitioning”!

  34. Robin H
    October 8th, 2014 @ 9:37 pm

    I’ll be sure to bake some Genderbread People this Christmas. Should make for some interesting family discussions. He he!

  35. RKae
    October 8th, 2014 @ 9:53 pm

    Oh, you weren’t up on that one?

    Yeah, just another ingredient in the disturbing soup of our culture.

  36. RS
    October 8th, 2014 @ 9:53 pm

    When Progressive baked goods collide.

  37. RKae
    October 8th, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

    Yes, one must point out “CHRISTIAN patriarchy” (which is evil), so as to differentiate it from Muslim patriarchy, Native American patriarchy, Mayan patriarchy, Chinese patriarchy, Japanese patriarchy, Australian Aboriginal patriarchy, etc. (all of which are not worth mentioning).

  38. Robin H
    October 8th, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

    Yeah, I saw that. Should I have some of them at Christmas, too?

  39. Kirby McCain
    October 9th, 2014 @ 12:07 am


  40. K-Bob
    October 9th, 2014 @ 12:55 am

    You first need to insist the government pay for your, ahh, transition, as it were. Maybe a hunger strike or two (that’s where you don’t eat while the reporters are standing there).

  41. K-Bob
    October 9th, 2014 @ 12:59 am

    All I want to remember is his picture on the Wheaties box. The rest of it needs scrubbing down the memory hole.

  42. K-Bob
    October 9th, 2014 @ 1:01 am

    You can still buy serviceable chains at a hardware store. Good whips are another story.

  43. theoldsargesays
    October 9th, 2014 @ 10:39 pm

    Amazon’s got whips, plenty of ’em.

    If McCain would host ads for whips instead of all these pansy books , the patriarchal oppression could really get going full bore.

    Don’t get me wrong now, I enjoy broadening my mind with a good book as much as the next Patriarchist. The thing is books only plant ideas and those ideas may or may not change one’s way of thinking, whereas a good whipping really gets the idea and it’s sense of urgency across.

  44. theoldsargesays
    October 9th, 2014 @ 10:44 pm

    Isn’t “researching LGBT individuals and communities” also known as “outing”?

  45. theoldsargesays
    October 9th, 2014 @ 11:08 pm

    They’ll let you in so long as you’re paying but they ain’t gonna let you in any clubs, not the cool ones anyway. :-