Christina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers is an American author, former philosophy professor, and member of the neoconservative think tank The American Enterprise Institute. [1] A self-identified feminist, she makes a video series called "The Factual Feminist" on the AEI's YouTube channel. [2]

Feminist or anti-feminist?

Despite reciting anti-feminist talking points, Sommers claims to be a feminist [3] who takes issue with what she calls "gender feminism," her offered definition of which resembles 2nd-wave feminism, for "its irrational hostility to men, its recklessness with facts and statistics, and its inability to take seriously the possibility that the sexes are equal – but different." [4] Sommers has written a piece for the reactionary and deeply misogynistic MRA website A Voice for Men [5] , (that also appeared in time magazine) which has, itself, been labeled a hate site by the Southern Poverty Law Center. [6] She also denies the existence of rape culture[7] and, contrary to basic feminist theory and a broad range of statutes, claims that drunken sex is not rape.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has labeled Sommers's brand of feminism socially conservative or classically liberal. [8] Sommers, ironically, who uses "victim feminism" [9] has claimed that colleges and universities have become hostile and have marginalized conservative academics. [10] Laura Flanders of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has called Sommers an anti-feminist in disguise[11] Sommers is a supporter of the misogynist harassment campaign GamerGate [12] and has said that sexism is not a problem in video gaming because their target audience doesn't care about sexist tropes present in them, such as sexual objectification, and used the boys will be boys argument.

Additionally, Sommers does not acknowledge differences between radical feminism and 3rd-wave feminism,[13] cherry-picks statements made by feminists and presents them as the accepted norm, [13] and repeats the canard that "feminists hate men." [14] In a piece written for the Huffington Post, Sommers uses statistics abuse to argue that the wage gap isn't a problem, but quickly contradicts herself and demonstrates that a normalized wage gap does exist. [15] If you are a woman at an entry level job and your male counterpart makes 50,000 dollars per year, you will make 47,500 dollars per year. To put this into perspective, over the course of a 30 year job, assuming no raises, a woman will make 75,000 dollars less than her male counterpart. This is essentially working a year and a half for no pay. Normalizing the wage gap also fails to take into account intersectional oppression and as such is an inherently dishonest way to view systemic prejudice.

Concerning street harassment, Sommers used the free speech argument to defend people engaging in catcalling [16].

Concerning campus sexual assault, and specifically the UVA rape incident, Sommers argued that the inconsistencies in the victim's story invalidated what happened in addition to being a quote "male demonizing fantasy nurtured by decades of feminist theory [17]

Gender essentialism

Sommers has supported cissexist attitudes, arguing that is innate for female chimps to play with dolls while their male siblings play with trucks [18] This also commits Sommers to attempting to derive how people ought to behave from factual premises. However, Sommers offers no citation for this, so the factual nature of her argument is questionable at best.


Sommers has written several books, the most controversial being Who Stole Feminism? [19] Who Stole Feminism was criticized by journalist Laura Flanders, arguing that Sommers's book relies too heavily on anecdotes, misleading statistics, and anti-feminist talking points in disguise. [11] In this work, Sommers asserts that "gender feminists" repeat blatantly false information, that these errors are the rule, not the exception, meaning that modern feminism rests on a large body of false information. [20] Sommers has to frame her interpretation of feminist statements and literature in this way, because it is the central thesis of her disagreement with modern feminism. She also repeats this type of anti-feminist attitude on her twitter interactions. [21]

Her other book, The War Against Boys is a lengthy repetition of her favorite "boys will be boys" arguments.[22]. Also in this text and her accompanying Atlantic article, Sommers has argued that girls achieve more in schooling situations than boys [23]. Unfortunately for Sommers, this is not the only metric by which oppression of women is judged, as pointed out by FAIR [24]


See the main article on this topic: GamerGate

Sommers has come out in support of #gamergate, and has gained a lot of admiration among the gamergate community, attracting some interesting tributes. [25]

See Also


  4. Sommers, Christina Hoff (November 19, 2008). What's Wrong and What's Right with Contemporary Feminism? (PDF) (Speech). Hamilton College. pp. 18–19. PDF
  6. " A Voice for Men is essentially a mouthpiece for its editor, Paul Elam, who proposes to “expose misandry [hatred of men] on all levels in our culture.' Elam tosses down the gauntlet in his mission statement: 'AVfM regards feminists, manginas [a derisive term for weak men], white knights [a similar derisive term, for males who identify as feminists] and other agents of misandry as a social malignancy. We do not consider them well intentioned or honest agents for their purported goals and extend to them no more courtesy or consideration than we would clansmen [sic], skinheads, neo Nazis or other purveyors of hate.' "
  11. 11.0 11.1
  13. 13.0 13.1
  16. "What the catcalling video gets wrong"
  17. Here's why the Rolling Stone's UVA Rape story went viral
  18. "Sommers gives no citation for the study. As a psych grad myself, I can state that putting monkeys into human environments might mean that they are only given toys appropriate to their sex. Sommers’ explanation as to why males don’t play with dolls is of course, ridiculous on its face. "
  22. " Sommers's second area of concern in the purported war against boys is the way in which adults socialize boys, both in and out of school. She objects to the feminist idea that violence perpetrated by boys is a product of male culture or masculine ideals. She also rejects the notions common among feminist scholars that boys need to have better access to their gentler emotions and that they shouldn't be pressured to push away from their mothers at an early age. Sommers charges that these notions lack supporting data and points with scorn at certain attempts (non-competitive games; doll play for boys) to apply these notions to the raising of boys. She says that such ideas about socializing boys differently are harmful because they disregard boys' true nature – and she says that we need to respect that nature because masculinity is responsible for the great achievements of human culture."
  24. "After all, women who work full-time still make only 81 percent of what men do. And women own only 36 percent as much wealth as men do. Only 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, as are 17 percent of directors on Fortune 500 boards. Women are 18 percent of U.S. representatives and 20 percent of U.S. senators."