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Communication Prof. Laura Kipnis discusses #MeToo in New Yorker podcast

Laura+Kipnis.+The+Communication+professor+spoke+on+a+The+New+Yorker+podcast+about+the+state+of+the+%23MeToo+movement.
Laura Kipnis. The Communication professor spoke on a The New Yorker podcast about the state of the #MeToo movement.

Laura Kipnis. The Communication professor spoke on a The New Yorker podcast about the state of the #MeToo movement.

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Laura Kipnis. The Communication professor spoke on a The New Yorker podcast about the state of the #MeToo movement.

Adrian Wan, Reporter

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Communication Prof. Laura Kipnis reflected on the state of the #MeToo movement and contemporary feminism in a The New Yorker podcast released Monday.

Kipnis is the author of “Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus,” which includes her experiences with Northwestern’s Title IX procedures. A graduate philosophy student filed a lawsuit after the book’s publication for counts including “false and damaging statements.” She spoke with staff writer Alexandra Schwartz on the “Politics and More” podcast about what she saw as the achievements and limitations of the #MeToo movement.

Pointing to the case of Aziz Ansari, an actor and comedian whose recently publicized sexual encounter sparked a national conversation about consent, Kipnis said the woman involved failed to read Ansari’s “signals.” Although men act “inherently grossly” regarding sexual behaviours, women should also be held responsible for “self-examining their participation” in the feminist movement, she said.

Kipnis added that while the grassroots movements used #MeToo as a political tactic to empower women, the power has been hijacked by institutions like colleges and workplaces to further control students and employees.

“You got these institutions and employers stepping in wanting to cover their ass,” Kipnis said. “(It turns) this into a behind-closed-doors set of decision-making about what is and isn’t consent … without there being any public discussion about that.”

Kipnis said the #MeToo movement is an education moment not only for men to realize what they are doing is not desirable, but also for women to reflect on how they are “complicit in not reading the signals” issued by men.

“I’m kind of pro-#MeToo, and I do think that this insurrectionary spirit is fantastic and exciting,” Kipnis said. “But at the same time, I also think there is a certain amount of excuse-making that maybe I feel my generation allows us.”

Email: limingwan2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @piuadrianw

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