A 19-year-old male student at the University of Missouri reportedly castrated himself as a symbolic protest against what he called “the disgusting male privilege and phallic domination of American society.” The student, an Australian Aboriginal studies major named Robbie Bergman, used a knife to cut off his testicles during a slam poetry contest organized by a campus feminist group.
Out of a group of eleven other students, Bergman was the last to perform. When his turn came, he recited a twelve-minute piece entitled “I Wish to Be No Man.” According to Katherine Monroe, a witness at the scene, the poem was a stunning free-verse epic about Bergman’s shame of “belonging to a gender that habitually oppresses other genders for mere sport.” After finishing the piece, Bergman told the other students that he would now castrate himself in order to symbolically reject his “male privilege,” as well as to attack “the patriarchy and all of the horrific oppression upon which it stands.”
In the aftermath of Bergman’s castration, several of the students clapped and congratulated him. Most of the group, however, was not pleased.
“I was not impressed at all,” a student named Jennifer Wasilewski told CNN. “Robbie is such a try-hard. The fact that he assumed he could renounce his male privilege by simply cutting off his genitals is a blatant manifestation of the entitlement mentality inherent to the very system of male privilege.”
Bergman is currently in the hospital and expected to make a full recovery. In an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, his stepfather Stuart Gilmore explained that the young man had become “radicalized” during his first year as a freshman. “When Robbie came home last summer, all he could talk about was how air-conditioning was a sadistic patriarchal plot to encourage women to keep their tops on. At first, I was supportive because he was meeting girls. But after this… Well, I guess he really wanted them to like him.”
As a result of “failing to check his privilege,” the feminist group to which Bergman belonged has since revoked his membership and banned him from attending their meetings.