Women Under Seige

January 19, 2009 | NeW Team

Christina Hoff Sommers jump starts her book, Who Stole Feminism?, with an analysis of whether American women are “under seige” or not. Having attended many feminist conferences hosted by the NWSA (National Women’s Studies Association) and the AAUW (American Association of University Women), Dr. Sommers draws a line between the old feminism and the new feminism of today. 

“The traditional, classically liberal, humanistic feminism that was initiated more than 150 years ago . . . had a specific agenda, demanding for women the same rights before the law that men enjoyed. . . The old mainstream feminism concentrated on legal reforms. . . [an] ‘equity’ feminist wants for women what she want for everyone: fair treatment, without discrimination.”
In comparison, the new feminism is a kind of gynocentric feminism. 
“. . . feminist ideology has taken a divisive, gynocentric turn, and the emphasis now is on women as a political class whose interests are at odds with the interest of men. Women must be loyal to women, united in principled hostility to the males who seekd to hold fast to their patriarchal privileges and powers. . . The New Feminists . . . are preoccupied with their own sense of hurt and their own feelings of embattlement and ‘seige.'”


This is an obvious clash of philosophies. It seems to me that the new gender feminists of today have made every public move (speech, art, music, etc.) an issue of sexual politics. In the eyes of gender feminists, it seems that everything “male” is evil and everything “female” is good. Nonetheless, it seems that there is also a push towards “unfeminine” behavior and dress in the new feminism – thus a lack of femininity.
What do you think? Is Dr. Sommers right in her assessment? How have you noticed this on campus, at work, or other social spheres? Are women really “under seige”? Or is femininity “under seige”?
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