Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Feminism of Christina Hoff Sommers

When I attended Christina Hoff Sommers' lecture on the war against boys, I fully expected her to be some example of the feminism backlash that such authors as Susan Faludi have addressed.  I must admit that I was delighted to hear that she herself is a feminist as, from the moment I heard this, I stepped back from attack mode and was more receptive to what she had to say.  I felt she had some important points about the radicalization of feminism.  Her example about the University of Rhode Island allowing giant inflatable vaginas to be erected and celebrated while such responses as the Conservative Club's mascot, Testicles, were persecuted for celebrating male genitalia in the same manner was a very effective/representative point about our society.  I also found some merit in her point that the Vagina Monologues is bad because it does not present one decent male in the play. . . I've never personally read the Vagina Monologues, but if it is true, then I'd be most disappointed.  Lastly, I found her data about boys falling behind girls in school (because of the preference towards the ease of teaching the latter) to be exceptionally interesting and alarming.

If I have any critique of her, it's that her speech was very jumbled and felt disorganized.  As such, I felt like there were a lot of gaps that had to be filled by the following Q&A session; I will say that I felt she handled Q&A very well, especially in the face of Dr. Salisbury (sp?) becoming aggressive about not including information on racial aspects of feminism.  Overall, she used a lot of anecdotes in her piece, but she also supplemented these with what seemed to be legitimate statistics.

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