Marshall's Reviews > Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women

Who Stole Feminism? by Christina Hoff Sommers
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's review
Oct 07, 14

bookshelves: non-fiction, politics, feminism
Read in October, 2014, read count: 2

This is a pivotal book about a rift that has happened in the women's movement over the last few decades. Sommers makes the argument that feminist leaders have become extreme and anti-male, speaking for women but not representing them. Rather than working for more equity between the sexes, which she calls equity feminism and more in line with the original first wave feminist movement. The last few decades has seen the rise of what Sommers calls gender feminism, which fights for special treatment of women, insisting on the differences between the genders, and reshaping society to be feminine.

She makes a very strong case that gender feminism is overtaking and overhauling academia, particularly liberal arts colleges. She argues that this ruins what makes universities strong. Although this book doesn't ignore how feminism is a force in mainstream culture and government, it does focus very heavily on academia, which I found somewhat tiring.

This book does a great job, overall, in showing that classic feminism is still going strong, although it is under attack from gender feminists. They each have a different answer for what is best for women, but they are both concerned about what's best for women.

UPDATE: I read this again. I realize that the over-emphasis on academia in this book has distracted me from how incredibly well written and researched this book really is. The stuff about academia and education is only about half the book. I also find myself disagreeing with one of its premises, that most feminists are not gender feminists, and thus gender feminism is without a strong constituency. This book is now 20 years old, and gender feminism has made some serious headway in that time. I believe the gender feminists have won this battle. They now own feminism, and most classical equity feminists this book champions have abandoned the label, or soon will.
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Quotes Marshall Liked

Christina Hoff Sommers
“Truth brought to public light recruits the best of us to work for change. On the other hand, even the best-intentioned "noble lie" ultimately discredits the finest of causes.”
Christina Hoff Sommers, Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women

Christina Hoff Sommers
“That is the corrosive paradox of gender feminism's misandrist stance: no group of women can wage war on men without at the same time denigrating the women who respect those men.”
Christina Hoff Sommers, Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women

Reading Progress

09/07 marked as: currently-reading
10/07 marked as: read

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