Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What you're reading

Good morning blogland.

I thought I'd take a moment and share with you what you're reading. There aren't many 'yous' in the 'you're' I'm referring to. I get about 30 visitors a day, which I think is marvellous considering that all I post are updates on academic feminist events going on the in the world.

However, there is a trend in your reading that is disturbing me. Most people who visit this blog are looking for something on Christina Hoff Sommers. (Now that I've written her name, I'll get 15 new visits). I find this incredibly unsettling. Here I am telling you about Irigaray, about Kristeva (who by the way is giving a talk in London in May) about Nina Power and Ariel Levy and you're here to find Christina Hoff Sommers. My only hope is that you're looking for dirt to support an argument detailing why that woman should neither be teaching nor publishing under the category of feminism, even as feminism dissident.

Here's some ammunition:

http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9502/sommers.html Hoff Sommers thinks feminists are creating a 'rape culture' on American campuses. She thinks that the 1 in 4 statistic published by studies is creating unnecessary feelings of anxiety amongst young women. Hoff fails, however, to consider the reality of rape - that most victims know the men that rape them - those men are their fathers, their husbands, boyfriends and friends. For an argument that DOES consider the reality of rape, check out Kat Banyard's The Equality Illusion. It's well-written and well-researched, meaning that if you choose to disagree, she's pointed very clearly to where you can take issue.

And Sommers book on how feminism has harmed boys? 'The WAR against boys?' Good lord. let's read the snippet so as to understand the lack of academic rigour in this book:

'It's a bad time to be a boy in America. As the century drew to a close, the defining event for American girls was the triumph of the U.S. women's soccer team. For boys, the symbolic event was the mass killing at Columbine High School.'

Wait, did she just say that the 'defining' event for girls was the triumph of a soccer team? Unless you follow women's sport (which I don't and I suspect a large proportion of American's don't either) how would you know the girl's soccer team won anything? I seriously doubt that such an event was 'defining'. Hoff Sommers seems bent on perpetuating the sex divide. Rather than consider that both girls and boys suffer in different ways and that by creating environments in which both are encouraged to communicate and to think scientifically, Hoff Sommers argues that there is a 'War against boys'.

At the very least, she should be ignored for perpetuating the myth that the sexes are 'waring'. This myth gets us (women/ men, children, the elderly, the poor) no-where.

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