“A new trauma-centered feminism has taken hold.”
In honor of International Women’s Day, Politico asked leading American ladies what they think is “the biggest challenge facing women in the U.S. today?”
The article, published Friday, included thoughts from Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, along with a number of feminist scholars and commentators.
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The problems they identified were mostly predictable feminist whipping boys: sexism, misogyny, “the patriarchy,” underrepresentation, the “gender pay gap,” and lack of opportunity.
But Christina Hoff Sommers, an ethicist and researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, was not playing along. One of two conservative women included in the article – the other being Margaret Hoover, the host of PBS’ “Firing Line” – she delivered a hardheaded takedown of “trauma-based feminism.”
Sommers, aka the Factual Feminist, noted that “by any reasonable measure, American women are among the safest, freest, healthiest, most opportunity-rich women on Earth.”
My remarks to @politico: American women are among the safest, freest, healthiest, most opportunity-rich women on Earth. Yet a debilitating new trauma-centered feminism tells them they are fragile & wounded. #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2019 https://t.co/7bn45Mhf5G
— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) March 8, 2019
“In many ways, we are not just doing as well as men, we are surpassing them,” she said, echoing the likes of Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. “But everywhere, especially on college campuses, young women are being taught that they are vulnerable, fragile and in imminent danger. A new trauma-centered feminism has taken hold. Its primary focus is not equality with men – but rather protection from them.”
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Sommers condemned the “current environment of fear and panic.” She pointed to the media coverage last June of what she called a “ludicrously flawed” Reuters Foundation study that named the United States among the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world – ahead of Iran or North Korea.
Even the Politico article – after noting that a record number of women are serving in Congress and running for president, and including a photo of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York celebrating with other Democratic women – claimed that women “can still find gender equality elusive.”
Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Sommers suggested, American women ought to appreciate the gains they have made relative to the past and to much of the rest of the world.
“This new ethic of fear and fragility is poisonous and debilitating – but it’s gaining ground. American women should resist the urge to pretend the world is rigged against us when it is not,” she said.
“In countries like Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Cambodia and Egypt women are contending with practices such as honor killings, genital mutilation, acid burnings, child marriage and gender apartheid.”
However, in the developing world, too, a growing number of educated women are “making their presences felt,” Sommers said, citing examples from Saudi Arabia and Somalia.
While feminists argue that none of this progress would be possible without them, Sommers is not alone in her analysis that the movement has lot the plot. Even some liberals have warned that the #MeToo focus on “toxic masculinity” and “rape culture” risks casting women as as helpless victims of supposed male oppressors.
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