YAF at Brandeis: Christina Hoff Sommers

 

Thanks to Young America’s Foundation (formerly Young Americans for Freedom) our conservative club was able to host Christina Hoff Sommers last Tuesday. We had advertised her around campus thus: “Politically involved? Feminist? Engage in the campus dialogue.” Ironically, other than a graduate student, I was the only female club member to show up. But I enjoyed getting the VIP treatment — sitting in the front seats and being able to hang out with Sommers before and after the event.

The assistant dean (she’s great) started off by talking about how fortunate we were to have these forums for free speech and making it very clear that no disruptive behavior would be tolerated within the room. Then we got to hear from Sommers.

She got her Ph.D. at Brandeis and went on to teach at Lewis and Clark, a school known for its hardcore conservatism, which is a natural byproduct of being situated in Portland, OR. Jokes aside, Sommers recently returned there to speak, and was described ahead of time by a law student as a “known fascist.” Whoa! (Check out the super-cringey video clip from that event if you dare.) So how did she come to be a known fascist? Violent suppression of the opposition? Nope! In fact, it was by opposing bad statistics and other insidious forms of feminist misinformation (and misleading information).

Her first act that marked her as a heretic was publishing a book in the early ’90s called Who Stole Feminism? In this book, she argued that women were not being oppressed in America, but instead that feminism was succeeding. The book won the approval of Erica Jong and other ACLU colleagues but lost Sommers many other friends. Someone grouped her with Thatcher as a “female impersonator” (Tumblr hilariously called this out for transphobia recently).

Essentially, Sommers believes that feminism still has the potential to be relevant and that it should be relevant. She believes that women and men alike have unique disadvantages in society. She said today’s women’s issues include the work/family balance, violence against women, “Harvey Weinsteins,” and the very real issues of women outside the West.

She saw potential in the #MeToo movement, an opportunity for men and women to come together as humans and “renegotiate the social contract” to make the workplace more equitable. But Sommers doesn’t see the point in promoting gender divisiveness and is distressed by the ever-increasing amount of agenda-driven research with no decent peer review. College professors, she laments, have a monopoly on women’s issues. Feminism is now ruled by gender warriors and true believers.

Sommers made no secret of the fact that she votes Democrat. She doesn’t consider herself to be particularly conservative but, for sadly obvious reasons, it is only conservatives who will give her a platform.

Below, you’ll find a paraphrase of the evening’s Q&A. I hope you enjoyed this report, and feel free to ask questions below!

Q: Can you be sexist towards men or racist towards whites?

A: …Duh?

Q: You keep using non-inclusive language. How do you feel about queers?

A: Live and let live. Listen to each other.*

Q: You think the First Wave was good. Wasn’t it racist though?

A: It grew together with Abolition. White and black women fought together. They had their family quarrels, and there was definitely some racism but there was also sisterhood.

Q: So would intersectionality have been helpful back then?

A: Yes, but what bothers me about intersectionality is that it is not inclusive of women of color. It is inclusive of women of color who share your views.

Q: I think the problem is that people are afraid they’ll end up hating each other if they discuss these issues.

A: Totally. We should have speakeasies for free speech.

Q: How do you determine the reliability of your stats?

A: I find the best source. You’d be shocked how many people provide no sources for their stats or leave off many pertinent facts.

Q: Do you really think it’s a coincidence that you don’t hear opposing ideas from women of color?

A: Actually I have many Muslim atheist allies but they are called Islamophobic. Intersectionality is elitist and exclusive. We need more listening and less marginalizing.


* Sommers told a great anecdote at this point. She had talked with two boys who were college roommates. One was gay and very left-wing, the other homophobic and very right-wing. They listened to each other. By the end of the year, the right winger lost his homophobia and the gay student became a staunch Republican.

There are 21 comments.

  1. I Shot The Serif Member
    I Shot The Serif Post author

    And you know, I think it’s great that so many young people are against fascism. Will they still be when they come across a dictionary?

    • #1
    • April 23, 2018, at 12:41 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. drlorentz Member

    Interesting. Thanks for posting. Sommers is doing great work. Just yesterday I quoted her work in a discussion. 

    • #2
    • April 23, 2018, at 12:44 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    I Shot The Serif: *Sommers told a great anecdote at this point. She had talked with two boys who were college roommates. One was gay and very left wing, the other homophobic and very right wing. They listened to each other. By the end of the year, the right winger lost his homophobia and the gay student became a staunch Republican.

    I love it.

    • #3
    • April 23, 2018, at 3:33 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    I Shot The Serif (View Comment):

    And you know, I think it’s great that so many young people are against fascism. Will they still be when they come across a dictionary?

    You mean, when they realize they have been for Fascism and Fascisti tactics all along?

    • #4
    • April 23, 2018, at 3:34 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  5. I Shot The Serif Member
    I Shot The Serif Post author

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I Shot The Serif (View Comment):

    And you know, I think it’s great that so many young people are against fascism. Will they still be when they come across a dictionary?

    You mean, when they realize they have been for Fascism and Fascisti tactics all along?

    Well…yes. :- D

    • #5
    • April 23, 2018, at 6:08 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Hoyacon Member

    I had no idea that she considers herself (votes) a Democrat. I wonder what she thinks of having so many supporters on the right and detractors on the left. Not to suggest that’s a bad thing.

    • #6
    • April 23, 2018, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    Thanks for a bit of hope and humor today, @ishottheserif! Great post…How many sections are there supposed to be in ‘intersectionality’, anyway? :-)

     

    • #7
    • April 23, 2018, at 2:47 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Underground Conservative Coolidge

    Thanks for an excellent summary. I took a couple classes at Lewis and Clark 20 yers ago. Walking through campus was like going through a leper colony. They all smoked, too. I thought they were supposed to be progressive. Anyway, glad Brandeis allowed a rational discussion. 

    • #8
    • April 23, 2018, at 5:57 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    I Shot The Serif: Jokes aside, Sommers recently returned there to speak, and was described ahead of time by a law student as a ‘known fascist.’

    As opposed to the unknown fascists, who the fascist organizations have erected monuments to and keep eternal vigils for.

    • #9
    • April 23, 2018, at 6:03 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. James Gawron Thatcher

    I Shot The Serif: Sommers made no secret of the fact that she votes Democrat. She doesn’t consider herself to be particularly conservative but, for sadly obvious reasons, it is only conservatives who will give her a platform.

    ISTS,

    I have always been impressed by Sommers. Her warm decent intelligent approach is commendable. Her arguments very well reasoned and well presented. She is a great pleasure to listen to.

    What one must wonder and perhaps what I would ask her if I got the chance is how can she vote for people who would destroy her career and smear her with vicious false accusations. She should reconsider who she votes for on the basis of self-preservation. I am her age and can remember when there was great hope on the left for reform and rational policies that could be expected as the result. From a conservative point of view, these would still not be optimal in terms of actual results or ultimate arguments for freedom but they could still function as viable ideas. That period is long gone. The ideologues that control the Democratic party promote destructive policies. Destructive of those who they claim to wish to help and destructive of the entire society.

    Christina is far too intelligent to go on wasting her vote on nostalgia. What is past will never return and what is present is a horror that would destroy her.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
    • April 24, 2018, at 7:03 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Ansonia Member

    Very much enjoyed this report. Thank you for taking time to write it, I Shot the Serif.

    • #11
    • April 24, 2018, at 7:34 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. ST Inactive
    ST

    Thanks for the post. I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard of Ms. Sommers. I’ll keep an eye out for her going forward.

    BTW: Is she cute?

    • #12
    • April 24, 2018, at 8:44 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. I Shot The Serif Member
    I Shot The Serif Post author

    ST (View Comment):

    Thanks for the post. I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard of Ms. Sommers. I’ll keep an eye out for her going forward.

    BTW: Is she cute?

    Search ‘factual feminist’ on Youtube.

    • #13
    • April 24, 2018, at 8:46 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. ST Inactive
    ST

    I Shot The Serif (View Comment):

    ST (View Comment):

    Thanks for the post. I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard of Ms. Sommers. I’ll keep an eye out for her going forward.

    BTW: Is she cute?

    Search ‘factual feminist’ on Youtube.

    done & done. question answered.

    • #14
    • April 24, 2018, at 8:50 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. I Walton Member

    It’s easy to understand why an independent thinker wouldn’t be a Republican, but a Democrat? Is it cover?

    • #15
    • April 24, 2018, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Thanks for a bit of hope and humor today, @ishottheserif! Great post…How many sections are there supposed to be in ‘intersectionality’, anyway? :-)

     

    As a white person and – more importantly a male – I feel I should probably handle this question: There are theoretically an infinite amount of sections if the intersectionality pie. And of course, the more minority or disadvantaged groups a given person belongs to, the more total pie that person is accorded. 

    While it may appear that the pie is a limited resource it is important to keep in mind that certain people will be unable to claim slices of that pie. 

    So regardless of how much of the pie your status entitles you to, the important thing is that certain people; get no pie, starve to death, and are ultimately eaten by wolves. 

     

    • #16
    • April 24, 2018, at 10:35 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. I Shot The Serif Member
    I Shot The Serif Post author

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’s easy to understand why an independent thinker wouldn’t be a Republican, but a Democrat? Is it cover?

    There are people like this. They aren’t as insane as some of their friends, especially the younger ones, but they still believe in liberal values. My mom is one of the most liberal people I know and I watched her get into a conflict with a friend over showing skepticism when the friend’s daughter announced that she was a biromantic asexual.

    • #17
    • April 24, 2018, at 11:11 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. I Shot The Serif Member
    I Shot The Serif Post author

    See also:

    • #18
    • April 24, 2018, at 3:14 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Western Chauvinist Member

    I’m shocked that Sommers votes Democrat. Democrats are the party of the fascist Left now. There are no liberals left in national elected office as Democrats (Joe Lieberman was the last one) — doesn’t she see that? Wow, that’s disappointing. 

    • #19
    • April 24, 2018, at 8:58 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    I Shot The Serif (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’s easy to understand why an independent thinker wouldn’t be a Republican, but a Democrat? Is it cover?

    There are people like this. They aren’t as insane as some of their friends, especially the younger ones, but they still believe in liberal values. My mom is one of the most liberal people I know and I watched her get into a conflict with a friend over showing skepticism when the friend’s daughter announced that she was a biromantic asexual.

    How is that different from an equal-opportunity tease? 

    • #20
    • April 24, 2018, at 9:00 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    Is a biromantic asexual everyone’s best friend/bridesmaid?

    • #21
    • April 24, 2018, at 9:13 PM PDT
    • 1 like