he “victimhood narrative” that is being taught at schools and universities is fuelling anxiety in young women, an academic has argued in her new book.
Doctrines of “everyday sexism” are “rape culture” are having a “debilitating” effect on girls’ confidence, according to Dr Joanna Williams, a lecturer in higher education at Kent University.
Institutions which should be promoting women’s rights – such as schools, universities and feminist campaigners – are now doing more harm than good, she argues.
In a new book, titled Women vs Feminism: Why We All Need Liberating from the Gender Wars, Dr Williams say that the breed of feminism which is considered “fashionable” nowadays involves telling young women that casual misogyny and sexual harassment are rife.
“I do think that there is one particular feminist narrative that seems to dominate in education,” Dr Williams told The Sunday Telegraph.
“But it is increasingly out of touch with reality. Girls are doing so much better at school than boys, and yet we are having people like The Everyday Sexism Project are coming into schools sends out a message of: ‘just you wait, there are real difficulties ahead’.”
She said that if girls are instilled with a mindset of victimhood at a young age, it can set them back later in life. “When women go out into the world of work and experience obstacles, rather than persevering they think ‘oh these are the insurmountable barriers I was told about’.”
The Everyday Sexism Project was set up in 2012 by Laura Bates, as a way to highlight casual misogyny by publishing online a catalogue of women’s experiences of harassment.
Dr Williams said that the narrative continues at university where students are told that there is a “rape culture” or some kind of “epidemic” of sexual assault on campus.