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Christina Hoff Sommers at The Daily Show with John Stewart

Christina Hoff Sommers (born 1950 in Petaluma, Californiamarker) is an Americanmarker author known for her critical stance regarding late 20th century feminism, and her controversial writings about feminism in contemporary American culture. Her most widely discussed books are Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women and The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men. Sommers believes the feminist movement has been appropriated by "a cadre of party-line bureaucrats promoting an agenda of victimism and victimology-based revolution, with serious implications for the wider world." Critics of Sommers have referred to her as an antifeminist.


Sommers earned her B.A. at New York Universitymarker in 1971 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Brandeis Universitymarker in 1979. Texas A&M website biography: "[Sommers] has a doctor of philosophy degree in philosophy from Brandeis University." A former [[philosophy]] professor in [[Ethics]] at [[Clark University]] in [[Worcester, Massachusetts]], Sommers is a resident scholar at several conservative institutions, including the [[American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research]] and the Board of Advisors of the [[Foundation for Individual Rights in Education]]. She speaks on college campuses through the socially conservative [[Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute]]'s campus lecture program,[ Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute's campus lecture program] and served on the national advisory board of the [[Independent Women's Forum]].{{cite book|author=Schreiber, Ronnee|title=Righting Feminism|date=2008|page=25|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-533181-3}} ==Ideas== Author Barbara Marshall has stated that Sommers explicitly identifies herself as a "libertarian." Barbara Marshall, [ ''Configuring Gender: Explorations in Theory and Politics''], Broadview Press, 2000 Footnote #7, 106 ISBN 1551110946, 9781551110943. "[Sommers] explicitly self-identifie[s] as 'libertarian'." The [[Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]] categorizes Sommers' [[equity feminism| equity feminist]] views as [[classical liberal]] or [[libertarian]] and [[socially conservative]].[ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy] Sommers has criticized how "conservative scholars have effectively been marginalized, silenced, and rendered invisible on most campuses."Christina Hoff Sommers, [ For more balance on campuses], [[Christian Science Monitor]], May 6, 2002. In an article for the text book, ''Moral Soundings,'' Sommers makes the case for moral conservation and traditional values.Dwight Furrow, [,M1 Moral Soundings: Readings on the Crisis of Values in Contemporary Life], Rowman & Littlefield, 2004 ISBN 0742533700, 9780742533707 ===Views on feminism=== Sommers uses the terms "[[equity feminism|equity feminism" and "gender feminism]]" to differentiate what she sees as acceptable and non-acceptable forms of feminism. She describes [[equity feminism]] as the struggle for equal legal and civil rights and many of the original goals of the early feminists, as in the [[first-wave feminism|first wave]] of the [[women's movement]]. She describes "[[gender feminism]]" as the action of accenting the differences of genders for the purposes of creating privilege for women in academia, government, industry, or advancing personal agendas.Mary Lefkowitz, [ Review of Christina Hoff Summers ''Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women''], [[National Review]], July 11, 1994. Sommers questions the direction that feminism has taken. She writes that flawed reports have commanded large research grants and influenced misguided legislation and education policy. In ''Who Stole Feminism'' she writes that an often-mentioned [[March of Dimes]] study which says that "[[domestic violence]] is the leading cause of [[birth defect]]s," does not, in fact, exist. She writes that violence against women does not peak during the [[Super Bowl]], which she describes as another popular [[urban legend]]. Sommers also writes that these statements about domestic violence were used in shaping the [[Violence Against Women Act]], which allocates $1.6 billion a year in federal funds for ending domestic violence. Sommers writes that feminists assert and the media report that approximately 150,000 women die each year from [[anorexia]], an apparent distortion of the American Anorexia and Bulimia Association's figure that 150,000 females have some degree of anorexia.Laura Flanders, [ The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes], [[Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting]], September/OCTOBER 1994.[[Wendy McElroy]], [ Prostitution: Reconsidering Research], originally printed in SpinTech magazine, reprinted at [], November 12, 1999. A [[Reason (magazine)|''Reason'']] magazine review stated that "the answer to the question in the book's title is, nobody stole feminism. The liberals gave it away. Their abdication of principles and cowardly fear of reprisals so ably chronicled by Sommers sealed the deal." Sommers wrote in ''[[The Atlantic]]'', about her own book ''The War Against Boys'', that misguided [[school curriculum]], based on flawed research, is a likely cause for many problems in education including the falling reading scores of lower-school boys. Sommers writes that there is an [[achievement gap]] between boys and girls in school, and that girls in some areas are achieving more than boys. She writes, "Growing evidence that the scales are tipped not against girls but against boys is beginning to inspire a quiet [[revisionism]]. Some educators will admit that boys are on the wrong side of the gender gap."[ The Atlantic] "The War Against Boys" Writing for ''[[The New York Times]]'', [[Richard Bernstein]] wrote of ''The War Against Boys,'' "Observations like that lift Ms. Sommers's book from polemic to entreaty. There is a [[crying in the wilderness|cry in the wilderness]] quality to her book, a sense that certain simple truths have been lost sight of in the smoky quarrelsomeness of American life. One may agree with Ms. Sommers or one may disagree, but it is hard not to credit her with a moral urgency that comes both from the head and from the heart."Richard Bernstein, [ Books of the Times: Boys, Not Girls, as Society's Victims], [[New York Times]], July 31, 2000. Sommers is a longtime critic of [[Women's Studies]] departments, and of university curriculum in general. In an interview with Scott London, Sommers said, "The perspective now, from my point of view, is that the better things get for women, the angrier the women's studies professors seem to be, the more depressed Gloria Steinem seems to get. So there is something askew here, something amiss."[ Interview with Christina Hoff Sommers] According to ''[[The Nation]]'', "Hoff Sommers carefully explains to the students that much of the fault for this unfortunate phenomenon [of "pathologizing maleness"] lies with women's studies departments. There, 'statistically challenged' feminists engage in bad scholarship to advance their liberal agenda. As her preliminary analysis of women's studies textbooks has shown, these professors are peddling a skewed and incendiary message: 'Women are from Venus, men are from Hell'. In a book review in the conservative magazine ''[[National Review]]'', [[Mary Lefkowitz]] writes of ''Who Stole Feminism'' that "[Sommers] provides clear guidelines on how to distinguish indoctrination from education. That alone is a major service to all of us who are struggling to distinguish fact from fiction in today's troubled academic world." In a 1994 interview with ''[[Esquire]]'' magazine, Sommers was quoted as saying, "There are {{sic|alot}} of homely women in women's studies. Preaching these anti-male, anti-sex sermons is a way for them to compensate for various heartaches-- they're just mad at the beautiful girls." Many times since 1994, Sommers has denied making such a statement: "I never said any such thing. Fifteen year ago, an Esquire magazine writer misquoted me, made it up or confused me with someone else. When ''[[Washington Post]]'' writer Meg Rosenfeld did a profile of me in 1994, she asked the writer about the quote. He said his notes had gone missing (''Washington Post'', 7/7/1994.) The fact is: they never existed. No matter how many letters I write correcting the fabrication, it seems never to go away." ==Reception== In ''[[New York Times]] Review of Books'', [[Robert Coles]], [[Harvard University]] [[Child and adolescent psychiatry| child psychiatrist]] compares Sommers' book with the separate but complementary work of psychologist [[William S. Pollack]], author of ''Real Boys' Voices'', and that of psychologist [[Carol Gilligan]]. Coles writes:
[Sommers] speaks of our children, yet hasn't sought them out; instead she attends those who have, in fact, worked with boys and girls -- and in so doing is quick to look askance at Carol Gilligan's ideas about girls, Pollack's about boys. Much of ''The War Against Boys'' comes across as Sommers's strongly felt war against those two prominent psychologists, who have spent years trying to learn how young men and women grow to adulthood in the United States."Robert Coles, [ Boys to Men, Two views of what it's like to be young and male in the United States today], [[New York Times]], June 25, 2000.
E. Anthony Rotundo, of the ''[[Washington Post]]'', said of Sommers' arguments in ''The War Against Boys'': "In the end, Sommers fails to prove either claim in the title of her book. She does not show that there is a 'war against boys.' All she can show is that feminists are attacking her 'boys-will-be-boys' concept of boyhood, just as she attacks their more flexible notion. The difference between attacking a concept and attacking millions of real children is both enormous and patently obvious. Sommers's title, then, is not just wrong but inexcusably misleading... Sommers's book is a work of neither dispassionate social science nor reflective scholarship; it is a conservative polemic."[ Review of ''The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men,''] by E. Anthony Rotundo in the [[Washington Post]], July 2, 2000. In an article circulated by [[Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting]] (FAIR), a national [[progressivism|progressive]] media watch group, [[Laura Flanders]] wrote "[Sommers'] book ''[Who Stole Feminism] is filled with the same kind of errors, unsubstantiated charges and citations of 'advocacy research' that she claims to find in the work of the feminists she takes to task... Sommers relies heavily on a handful of oft-repeated anti-feminist anecdotes — or folktales."

Books by Sommers

  • 1986, Right and Wrong: Basic Readings in Ethics. ISBN 0155771108.
  • 1995, Who Stole Feminism. ISBN 9780684801568.
  • 2000, The War Against Boys. ISBN 0-684-84956-9.
  • 2003 (with Frederick Sommers), Vice & Virtue in Everyday life. ISBN 9780534605346.
  • 2006 (with Sally Satel, M.D.), One Nation Under Therapy. ISBN 9780312304447.

Further reading

  • Sterling Harwood, 2000. "Introduction: A Statistical Portrait" in Sterling Harwood, ed., Business as Ethical and Business as Usual Belmont CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co.: 166-167.


  1. Christina Hoff Sommers, Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women, Simon and Schuster, 1994, 22. ISBN 0-671-79424-8 (hb), ISBN 0-684-80156-6 (pb),
  2. Tama Starr, Reactionary Feminism, Review of Christina Hoff Summers Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women, Reason Magazine, October 1994.
  3. Michael Flood, Chapter 21(PDF) of The Battle and Backlash Rage On, XLibris, 2006 ISBN 1-4134-5934-X
  4. Jennifer Pozner, Female Anti-Feminism for Fame and Profit, excerpted from Uncovering the Right on Campus, Center for Campus Organizing (CCO), 1997.
  5. John Cloud, The Right's New Wing, Time Magazine, August 22, 2004. Relevant quote: Antifeminist Christina Hoff Sommers, author of The War Against Boys, darkly warned that Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues — a collection of sketches about women's sexual experiences that was performed on more than 600 campuses last year — has inspired "an army" of campus feminists whom she called "very elitist." Sommers told the audience, "You have been marginalized. You have to begin to demand some kind of representation."
  6. Karen Houppert, "Wanted a Few Good Girls", The Nation, November 7, 2002.
  7. Laura Flanders, " The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes," Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, September/October 1994.

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