In a piece of wonderful news for parents who send their daughters to Northwestern University, David Futrelle is getting involved in a feminist sex week in which feminists teach college girls about good and ungood sex. Even better, after giving a sex talk, he will be providing free condoms and lube to the girls.
It looks as though Futrelle is stepping into the shoes left vacant by Kyle Payne, a male feminist activist who used to be heavily involved in campus sexual assault advocacy. Kyle described himself as a “sex-positive” feminist while majoring in women’s studies. Here’s a self-description from a few years ago:
Kyle is a social justice educator, writer, and activist. Much of his work is concerned with putting a stop to violence against women. For years Kyle has served as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence and other forms of abuse, in addition to promoting what he calls “a more just and life-affirming culture of sexuality” through activism and education. As a researcher, Kyle has studied the feminist anti-pornography movement and is particularly interested in men’s roles in confronting pornography and the rape culture. In addition to his pro-feminist work, he is involved with anti-racist, free speech, peace, and anti-globalization movements.
It so happened that while in the midst of his feminist activism in 2008, Payne was caught groping and videotaping an unconscious coed at Buena Vista University. At the time, he was a resident adviser, tasked with looking after younger students. He was charged with sexual assault and taking nude photographs against the woman’s will, and eventually copped a plea that put him in jail for six months. Not long after his release, he was arrested and charged once again, this time for child porn.
Payne still maintains that he is a strident feminist (perhaps he has nothing left to hang onto), and although he has written apologies he is now shunned by female feminists. Payne’s fall from feminist grace was even worse than Hugo Schwyzer’s. After admitting to attempting a murder suicide with a girlfriend and sleeping with his students, Schwyzer lost a good deal of credibility, yet like Kyle Payne, still soldiers on.
Futrelle does not strike one as the kind of guy who would screw up quite so spectacularly. He’s innately cautious and passive-aggressive rather than impulsive and prone to acting out. Additionally, it appears that much of his pro-feminism is a result of a rather clear hatred for men; one of his favorite tags on his site is “men who should not ever be with women ever,” which gives away one motive where these issues are concerned. However, there’s definitely a sexual element there as well. Unless a man is entirely homosexual, there’s always an element of sexuality in his interest in fertile women — it’s unavoidable.
So when you hear about Futrelle teaching college girls about what constitutes good sex, you’ve got to wonder what’s going through his hindbrain while young, nubile coeds listen attentively as he positions himself as an authority on good and bad sex. For men, advocating for fertile women is about the easiest form of altruism out there. In fact, it isn’t even altruism at all; it’s sexual self-interest. There is nothing particularly special about a man who favors women over men, and there’s nothing inherently good about it. It’s just human nature. What’s really pathetic is that these guys claim that acting in their sexual self-interest places them on a higher moral plane. Most people don’t buy it, of course, but some coeds might. So if you’re a parent of a young woman attending Northwestern University, you might want to ask the school why this guy is talking about sex there with your daughter next to a basket of condoms and lube.