Bronze-level articleChristina Hoff Sommers

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Conservative Honeypot Sommers. Taken during a radio interview with Steven Crowder (2016).
Voice of the voiceful

Men's rights

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Bros before hoes

Dr. Christina "Based Mom" Hoff Sommers (born 1950) is a so-called "equity feminist"[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] who writes for the American Enterprise Institute alongside such other feminist luminaries as Dinesh D'Souza and Jonah Goldberg. No, really.

In truth, Sommers helped solidify the anti-feminist cause with her 2000 book, The War Against Boys, soon to be followed by Camille Paglia's It's a Man's World, and Always Will Be (2003) and Kate O'Beirne's Women Who Make the World Worse (2005).[No, not The Onion]

Contents

[edit] Let me tell you a story to chill the bones

According to Sommers, she believed in the second-wave feminists of the 60s, but made an abrupt U-turn to focus on gender equality. She characterizes the third-wave feminists as imposters,[8] members of a "movement that has abandoned equality in order to recruit for the struggle against the 'patriarchy'."[9]

The hypothesis of War Against Boys is that girls do well in school only because liberals have enacted social-engineering polices to make boys fall behind.[10][11] She has accused best-selling Leninist pamphlets such as Redbook, Mademoiselle, Good Housekeeping, and Parenting of advancing a "big-government message" which "gives Democrats a clear advantage."[12] She thinks women who don't want to leave abusive male partners are actually lying about being abused.[13] Everything she says is baseless and insulting to women, and that's why her writing is catnip to MRAs and other reactionaries. Is denying the existence of sexism all "Factual Feminists" do with their time?

Sommers identifies as a classical liberal who votes Democrat. She's classical in the sense that she argues for the status quo re: sexism and works for a conservative think tank. She's liberal in the factual/ethical sense.

[edit] Career and credentials

Christina Sommers earned her B.A. from New York University, and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Brandeis University. She is also a board member of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a stealth-conservative organization that promotes "intellectual diversity" (which means their aims is to dismantle the so-called "liberal bias") on university campuses[14], and a member of the conservative think tank AEI. The National Women's Political Caucus, an organization that seeks to promote women in the political sphere, awarded her the "2013 Exceptional Merit in Media Award", for an article she wrote for the New York Times, "The Boys at the Back".[15] Her writings have been quoted on occasion by MRA sites which by itself wouldn't mean much, but the only time Sommers says anything supporting women's rights is when she's chiding feminists for not doing more for women in developing countries.

[edit] Views on contemporary feminism

Sommers has taken a critical stance on contemporary feminism, and published two books, "Who Stole Feminism?"Wikipedia's W.svg, and "The War Against Boys"Wikipedia's W.svg, both of which claim that modern feminism, by viewing societal constructs on privilege and power through a gender-based lens, has abandoned gender equality for a nebulously defined "justice" that does more harm than good. In particular, her second book, The War Against Boys makes explicit the damage she believes contemporary feminism is doing, and identifies a generation of vilified males as the victim. However, examined carefully, Sommers's case does not hold up well. She persistently misrepresents scholarly debate, ignores evidence that contradicts her assertions, and directs intense scrutiny at studies she opposes while giving a free critical ride to research she supports.[16]

As evidence of this supposed classroom prejudice against boys, Sommers told the audience that schools are replacing boys’ favorite game, “tag,” with a more female-friendly alternative called “circle of friends.” Sommers has been winding people up with this story for more than a decade: It shows up in The War Against Boys; in her 2005 book One Nation Under Therapy; in an interview that year on The Daily Show; and in a Q&A last week with NRO. So what schools, exactly, have outlawed tag? When Jon Stewart asked her, Sommers awkwardly backtracked: “Well, this is recommended in a book called Quit It, which is an anti-bullying curriculum.” In other words: “circle of friends” might be a real thing somewhere; it might not. Tag is not under threat. And neither, contrary to Sommers's claims, are American men.[17]

[edit] On ethics in video game journalism

I fucking swear, they get rid of huge boobs, I’m gone.
Allisonprime Steven Polk[18]

In September 2014, the American Enterprise Institute YouTube channel upload a video in their “Factual Feminist” series titled “Are video games sexist?”, in which host Sommers refutes arguments by feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian. As the video began circulating online, Gamergaters began referring to Sommers as “Based Mom”, a Freudian nightmare we'll have to leave for another time.[19] On October 28th, 2014, Ronan Farrow interviewed Sommers about #gamergate on MSNBC.[20]

Sommers has yet to address the fact that she used a 31-year-old, morbidly overweight man's sock as her example of a "minority female gamer".[18][21] It came out later that the "white lesbian" in the story was actually a black guy, months afterwards. Look, do you expect her to keep track of every single detail?

[edit] On the AAUW

Sommers harshly criticizes women's organizations like the American Association of University WomenWikipedia's W.svg (AAUW) in her book Who Stole Feminism, in publications like The National Review, and in public forums. She writes of the AAUW:

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) issued two reports in the early Nineties that were harmfully wrong. AAUW researchers claimed to show how "our gender biased" classrooms were damaging the self-esteem of the nation’s girls and holding them back academically. That was simply not true... If the AAUW were serious about improving the climate on campus, it could start by looking for ways to reason with the V-Day enthusiasts to discourage their antics... Campuses need effective policies against genuine harassment. They do not need the divisive gender politics of the AAUW spin sisters. The AAUW’s statistically challenged, chronically mistaken, and relentlessly male-averse "studies" should not be taken seriously.

Sommer's criticisms prompted a response by the AAUW:

Unfortunately, Who Stole Feminism? is not about making positive societal change or changing behavior to create a more equitable society for women and girls. Rather, AAUW perceives the book to be an attack on scholars, women's organizations, and higher education. Contrary to what Sommers contends, there is nothing in any of our research about terms she uses—domination, subjugation, victimization, or oppression... Ours is not a radical agenda despite Sommers' characterization of AAUW. We are about positive societal change... Our research looks for solutions and is based on facts, not anecdotes or soundbites. The important thing to remember is that this debate is not about AAUW; it's about the children in this country. What is important is that our daughters and sons reach their full potential.[22]

[edit] On gender noncomformity

Toy companies aren’t interested in ideology, they want to sell toys. If they would sell a toy that both boys and girls would buy, it doubles profits.
—Sommers[23]

Sommers has made herself a nice side career as a parental watchdog. She argues over and over that men have been brainwashed from birth by feminists—starting with co-ed classes and the prohibiting of roughhousing, and continuing on with "gender-neutral" toy advertisements. Who is behind this dangerous intervention in the toy-marketing business? Why, the scheming Nordic elites.[24]

[edit] On affirmative action

Christina Sommers has a particular dislike of the methods used to promote the percentage-values of women in traditionally male-dominated fields. On the contentious application of Title IX in relation to female representation in STEM, she says

Title IX programs in the sciences could stigmatize women and cheapen their hard-earned achievements.
Regarding women's studies departments, which often promote female representation in traditionally male fields, she claims "The professors peddle a skewed and inflammatory message 'Women are from Venus, men are from Hell'".[25]

[edit] On abortion

Sommers was a strong proponent of abortion rights in the '70s and '80s, but has moderated her support for abortion in more recent times.[26] Her primary concern with abortion is what she perceives to be an all-encompassing "agenda" promoting abortion even when the woman herself, due to religious or personal values, disagrees. Another, tangential reason for her lukewarm support for abortion rights is a perceived notion that third-wave feminists have somehow hijacked the movement, in another move to solidify "privileges" above the median for women.

When the debate turned to abortion rights, Hoff-Sommers cited polling data showing that while 34% of American women believe that abortion is morally acceptable, 51% of American women believe that abortion is morally wrong. “The nation is engaged in a contentious argument over a moral dilemma,” said Hoff Sommers, who identified herself as pro-choice. “I find it appalling that there is such a disregard for what is in fact a majority of our countrymen who view it differently, and some passionately. Rather than attack them as somehow engaged in some kind of dark conspiracy against women’s bodies, we have to understand why they hold these positions… and why it’s not going away as a moral question.”

[edit] Blundering into actual feminism

See the main article on this topic: Stopped clock

Sommers was one of a handful who stood up for Michelle Fields, the Breitbart writer who was manhandled by a Trump staffer at a campaign event. The response from the GamerGate community was mixed.[27]

[edit] See also

  • Milo Yiannopoulos — Helped to bring down Hoff Sommers' respectability.[28]
  • Strawman argument — Her career is built around making feminism seem as scary as possible.
  • Paul Elam — Hated by his family. Kicked out of the movement he helped create. And now, Paul is forced to watch his subscribers flock to Sommers.[29]

[edit] Videos

[edit] References

  1. Anderson, Kristen J., Modern Misogyny: Anti-Feminism in a Post-Feminist Era. Published by Oxford University Press.
  2. Lisa Sowle Cahill, Elaine Wainwright and Diego Irarrázaval, Gender and Theology, published by SCM Press.
  3. Johnson, Barbara, The Feminist Difference: Literature, Psychoanalysis, Race, and Gender. Printed by Harvard University Press.
  4. Mendible, Myra, Race 2008: Critical Reflections on an Historic Campaign Chapter by Françoise Coste. Printed by BrownWalker Press.
  5. Projansky, Sarah, Watching Rape: Film and Television in Postfeminist Culture. Published by New York University Press.
  6. Becky Francis and Christine Skelton, Reassessing Gender and Achievement: Questioning Contemporary Key Debates. Published by Routledge.
  7. Pollit, Katha, Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture. Published by MODERN LIBRARY, part of Random House, Inc.
  8. Sommers, C. (1994). Who stole feminism?: How women have betrayed women (p. 22). New York: Simon & Schuster.
  9. Who Stole Feminism? page 23.
  10. Sommers, "The War Against Boys", Atlantic May 2000.
  11. Sommers, "chool Has Become Too Hostile to Boys", TIME 8.19.13.
  12. Sommers, "THE DEMOCRATS' SECRET WOMAN WEAPON", WaPo 1.9.97.
  13. "Myths or Facts in Feminist Scholarship?", The Chronicle of Higher Education 8.10.09.
  14. sourcewatch.org
  15. Christina Hoff Sommers, "The Boys at the Back" New York Times, Feb. 2, 2013
  16. [1] The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men; Reviewed by E. Anthony Rotundo, who is the author of "American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era." He also teaches at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. Washington Post; July 2, 2000
  17. National Review Wages a Lonely War on the "War on Women" The New Republic
  18. 18.0 18.1 Pring, Kindra, "SPJ Airplay Afternoon Recap, Bomb Threat", Tech Raptor (8/15/15 at 10:30 PM).
  19. Futrelle, David, "The Five Creepiest Gamergate Fan Art Tributes to Christina Hoff Somers aka Based Mom (with bonus annoying gif)", We Hunted the Mammoth 11.29.14.
  20. #Gamergate interview with Christina Hoff Somers, MSNBC.
  21. Walchots, Natalie, "Gamergate: The Greatest Trick The Devil Ever Pulled", The Establishment 11.18.15.
  22. American Association of University Women Memorandum March 1995
  23. "Is There a War Against Boys?", Think Tank transcript 7.29.00.
  24. Sommers, "You Can Give a Boy a Doll, but You Can't Make Him Play With It", Atlantic 12.6.12.
  25. Houppert, Karen (November 7, 2002). "Wanted: a Few Good Girls". The Nation. Archived from the original on February 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  26. http://www.law.nyu.edu/news/ESTLUND_WOMENS_ISSUES_2012_ELECTION She mentions this about halfway through.
  27. Futrelle, David, "Anime Nazis turn on Christina Hoff Sommers after she stands up for assaulted reporter", We Hunted the Mammoth 3.31.16.
  28. Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven Crowder and Christina Hoff Sommers at UMass
  29. Futrelle, David, "Paul Elam attacks Christina Hoff Sommers as a 'crypto-misandric privilege-seeking gender parasite.'", We Hunted the Mammoth 2.22.15.
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