Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women
a book by Christina Hoff Sommers
(our site's book review)
Considering the rape statistics and the amount of objectification of women in ads, songs, media in general, as well as the amount of women-slashing themes in movies and on TV, it was inevitable that some women would get angry and begin hating man and loudly accusing them of anti-women attitudes and statements.
In Sommers book, she calls these radical feminists “gender feminists” and the mainstream feminists “equity feminists.” Radical feminists tend to promote the worst kind of political correctness—the kind that wants to burn books, get teachers fired for a misstatement, forbid professors from saying “He” in relation to God, harass all teachers and students who don’t see things exactly their way until they either submit or leave the school, and in general act like fascists. They have a right to their beliefs and their anger, but a rewrite of the entire history of Western Civilization is too extreme, as are the oppressive tactics of the extremist feminists, according to Sommers, who is an equity feminist who doesn’t believe in harassing people to make a point. Many campus feminists are very McCarthyist, and to criticize them is career suicide for teachers, and an invitation to harassment for students—who may be punished with expulsion.
Hillary Clinton, a mainstream feminist supporting equality
There are various people supporting the world taking a more balanced male-female perspective and encouraging women’s equality, such as Hillary Clinton and mainstream feminists. This is commendable. There are many people such as Linda Jean Shepherd, Philip Slater and Fritjof Capra who want the world to take more integrated, cooperative, win-win, nurturing positions on people, science, ecology, the environment and international relations. This can be called inserting the democratic influence into authoritarian areas of thought, and it can be called taking a more feminist viewpoint on things as opposed to the male dominating, competitive, reductionistic, aggressive, exploitative, negative power stance. The idea is to balance masculine and feminine since things are now out of balance in the male-dominator direction in almost all areas of the world and in almost all areas of life.
Radical feminists are sometimes so foolish as to put down males just for looking at them!
The general way of viewing all this is to couch it in terms of the old, male, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm and the new, female, ecological-holistic paradigm. Radical feminists are the shock troops with this agenda, but their methods are generally disliked—there’s too much male hatred, intolerance, extremism and undermining of the First Amendment. The mainstream feminists, who treat people in a civil manner and don’t believe in intimidation and constant confrontations, are much more acceptable to the American public as a decent-acting group who merely want the equality they’re entitled to. Sommers is one of these mainstream feminists, and she has a good point.
Unfortunately, Sommers denies the patriarchal nature of churches, science, educational institutions and families in her efforts to expose the negativity of the feminist radicals. She probably has never heard of the new, ecological-holistic paradigm. The fact that authoritarianism is not even listed in her index or discussed in her book, even though it’s a book about feminism, does little to convince us that she’s done her research. Authoritarianism is about the most relevant issue there is when it comes to male-female discussions.
There have been 5000 years of authoritarian cultures in our world, and most of the authority is held by males. What’s needed more than a rewrite of history is a lesson from history: Almost all the wars, torture, murder, oppression, hate, fear and coercion were male-inspired and male-led; isn’t it about time we adopted a more balanced perspective that integrates feminine perspectives of cooperation, understanding, empathy, nurturing, communication, relationship and big-picture viewpoints? A book about feminism that misses all this is certainly guilty of reductionism.
The authoritarian cultures in our world are and were male-inspired and male-led
But she’s right that males needn’t be hated for their role in all this—they were just passing down the traditions they were taught as children. And they need to be educated about equality gently, as the radical feminists’ hostility is not only uncalled for—it’s an ineffective learning context. She looks at the fact that women’s equality has made great inroads in the 80s, with women being let into virtually all fields—women pharmacists and veternarians are even in the majority. (On January 24, 2013, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta removed the military's ban on women serving in combat, which was instituted in 1994. Implementation of these rules is ongoing.) The progress of women is undeniable, once you study the numbers. But the even more basic concerns about authoritarianism, the old paradigm and patriarchal attitudes all over the globe and in most areas of life were not addressed by this book. It could have been so much more than it was.
Sometimes emotional violence is instigated by women, sometimes by men
Sommers points out that in domestic conflicts, nearly half the violence is instigated by women
Sommers points out that in domestic conflicts, nearly half the violence is instigated by women. It’s interesting that lesbians are battering each other just as much as heterosexual couples, and that not normal males but criminal males are doing most of the battering of women (according to the author). This connects with the fact that most people in prison were abused as children, so the battery they engage in later turns out to be payback because of early traumas (which in no way excuses it for one second) they suffered at the hands of both mothers and fathers. This all seems to shout to us that: What goes around comes around. She rightly says that we need to find out why the number of violent male sociopaths in our society is so high.
Sommers says we need to find out why the number of violent male sociopaths in our society is so high
Again, she needed to do more research. Philip Slater’s Earthwalk and A Dream Deferred, Rianne Eisler’s Sacred Pleasure, and Thomas Gordon’s Discipline That Works would shed immediate light on her question. As would any number of other works by various scholars, social commentators, researchers, psychologists and sociologists.
When kids are raised in authoritarian or permissive ways rather than authoritative or harmonious ways, and when kids are raised with steep-gradient nurturance methods rather than flat-gradient nurturance methods, and when families are relatively isolated from meaningful social connection rather than connected, a host of problems develops, not the least of which is a tendency towards hatred, violence, envy, competition rather than cooperation, enmeshment and identity issues and lack of healthy individuation, lack of problem-solving skills, lack of empathy and compassion and oneness with one’s fellow man, and general alienation. This is all preventable!
One of her best points is that misandry (hatred of men) is just as much a bigotry, bias, and prejudice as racism, and it’s just as sexist as male-to-female sexism, and two wrongs don’t make a right. What the world needs is for all the hatred, bias, racism to be eliminated. What the world does not need is for a whole new set of hatreds and biases to be created to “balance out” the ones already present. This is not a good antidote. It’s merely more poison. Included in the definition of misandry is sexual objectification of men.
Men are mostly shown in tight clothing and are always finding ways of showing their bare chests, in Hollyweird
This is omnipresent in nearly everything coming out of Hollyweird, with women in black pants with jackets or shirts pulled over their rears and looking like tomboys or directors and cameramen trying to hide women's shapes, while men are mostly shown in tight clothing and are always finding ways of showing their bare chests, and women are always commenting on these men's bodies, especially their backsides. It all feels very gay, like Hollyweird products have turned into one long advertisement for homosexuality. The few shows that do NOT act like gay ads (like Suits) seem to be about the only things one can watch without wincing at this in-your-face tactic.
So obviously the radical feminists and the Hollywood Gay Mafia have great power and influence. Isn't it about time the Hollyweird community stands up to their threatened boycotts and intimidations so American movies and TV can once again reflect normal attitudes and sexuality? Throwing in a gay or lesbian occasionally to give voice to that point of view is acceptable, but having the photography, costumes, and directing be so slanted and obsessed with displaying women as asexual tomboys is incredibly annoying, and it tends to give role models for young males that seem to think of themselves as "hot" objects put on Earth to please women and gay males alike. When is Hollyweird going to grow up and stop being whores to misguided pressure groups?
When is Hollyweird going to grow up and stop being whores to misguided pressure groups?
TV women are skinny tomboys and directors and cameramen obsessively hide women's shapes—we miss the old days when shapeliness was not a sin!
Naďve sites like http://newsbusters.org note that Hollyweird is doing a fine job of showing gay life as acceptable (which is okay). But they miss the point that Hollyweird seems to be trying to replace heterosexual interests with homosexual ones for all of us (which is VERY VERY NOT OKAY!). (Terms such as "Gay mafia" refer to an existing group of powerful homosexuals who exercise extraordinary influence in the entertainment industry. Hollywood is . . . driving a deeper wedge between Americans who are happy to live together, but don’t want their neighbor’s values shoved down their throats at the theater.)
Forget her bra-burning radical days; Gloria Steinem has become an enlightened, compassionate, wise person
In spite of the good points she’s made, her book cannot hold a candle to a book that outshines all other feminist literature in all of history: Revolution from Within, by Gloria Steinem. Forget her bra-burning radical days. Steinem has become an enlightened, compassionate, wise person, a courageous writer who has touched the hearts of millions with her good works, but this 1992 book is an instant classic promoting her to the ranks of the great writers. It is a humanitarian gift to the nation that all should be grateful to receive. One can only hope that this is the book that is used as the model to emulate for this genre of nonfiction in the future.