Students and alumni of Sweet Briar College are furious after the school’s commencement speaker said she has only “partial sympathy” for the #MeToo movement.  I think they expected her to have the popular hashtag tattooed on her forehead, in order to show proper solidarity with the cause.  Nothing less than 100% adherence and deference will do these days. 

Nella Gray Barkley, graduated from Sweet Briar in 1955 and later from Harvard Business school.  A distinguished alumna, she told the all-female college that she didn’t identify herself with man-hating feminist.  (Here’s a great line: “I’m no raging feminist. I actually love men, and I married one.”)

Campus Reform describes the speech that landed her in hot water:

“I do intend to change your view of yourselves and your world just a little if I can,” Nella Gray Barkley, who graduated from Sweet Briar in 1955, began her speech on May 12. “I do not intend to suggest you put on your armor and ride into battle in a man’s world. In fact, I do not believe it’s a men’s world; we women just need to claim the part of it we want and claim that with high expectations and no ambivalence.”

She went on to say that that women sometimes have a role of responsibility in the encounters:

“I applaud the woman coming forward who was cornered in a locked wine cellar by a man who was her superior,” Barkley explained, but added that “I have little patience with the woman who arrives breathlessly at her boss’s hotel room for a so-called conference. What did she think was going to happen?”

Reminding graduates that “it is you who makes the ground rules, and you who enjoys the consequences of them,” she asserted that it’s “only natural for men from Mars to follow the shortest skirt in the room.”

Of course, people predictably freaked out.  On message boards, alum described the speech as “shameful and disgusting.”

“There were sexual assault survivors in the graduation class today who had to relive horrible memories as Ms. Barkley participated in victim blaming and internalized misogyny.”

Right. As Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds pointed out, “Expecting women to display agency and take responsibility is now anti-feminist.”

Hat Tip: Campus Reform

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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