Chapter 2: Indignation, Resentment, and Collective Guilt

January 26, 2009 | NeW Staff

Have you ever wondered why all modern feminists seem to be angry at the world? Christina Hoff Sommers offers an explanation in Chapter 2 of her book, Who Stole Feminism?. 

As Dr. Sommers notes, there should be a kind of righteous indignation when women are abused or subjected to violence – indeed when any human is abused or subjected to violence. 

“Plato himself recognized the role of righteous indignation as a mainspring of moral action. In his metaphor, indignation is the good steed helping the charioteer to stay on the path of virtue by controlling the vicious, wayward steed straining to go its own brutish way. It is the ‘spirited element’ in the soul that supples the wise person with the emotional energy, the horsepower, to curb the appetites so that he or she may act virtuously.”


This however, is not what we see in the angry feminism of today. Today, instead of indignation, there is resentment. It sprouts in the soul of the victim and is aimed at the culprit. It multiplies and intensifies when others identify with the victim’s harm. A victimized solidarity eventually takes form. Thus when you hurt “one of us” you’ve hurt us all. Likewise, the culprit’s sins are projected onto the group with which it identifies. 

This is how Dr. Sommers explains feminist anger. They see the world through victim’s glasses. Every woman is a victim, every man is the culprit who exploits the woman. The below incident illustrates this philosophy.

“In the spring of 1993, nine women students, who were taking a course called ‘Contemporary Issues in Feminist Art’ at the University of Maryland, distributed posters and fliers all over the campus with the names of dozens of male students under the heading ‘Notice: These Men Are Potential Rapists.’ The women knew nothing whatever about the bearers of the names; they had simply chosen them at random from the university directory to use in their class project.”

I am baffled at such an initiative. I fear being raped. I believe that rape is possibly the worst thing one could do to a woman. It is an atrocity, a crime and the culprits who commit it should be arrested and pay the price. Nonetheless, on campuses throughout the United States, instead of intiatives about eliminating rape – there seems to be only sessions about how to deal with it once it happens. Wait . . . STOP! Why must we assume that it will happen . . . “that all men are potential rapists”? Can anything be done about this? How do we go about changing this prevalent mindset? 
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