Some of my best friends are men, so no offense. But Wonder Woman has me asking, what’s the point? What good are they?
The object of political correctness is to make the obvious unsayable, or at least sayable only under the threat of a torrent of criticism or abuse. This does violence to the mind and spirit: those who refrain from objecting to the false pieties of political correctness (which are intoned within organizations as regularly as in public) come to despise themselves.
It’s probably a drag being a liberal, always boycotting things. A Progressive friend who was surprised by my politics once asked me how I could like Radiohead so much, considering its front man Thom Yorke is such a leftist. It seemed a logical error (the “moralistic boycotter’s fallacy”?). I don’t judge songs by the artist’s favorite color, either. The fact is, conservatives can’t afford to discriminate merely to maintain moral cleanliness. I wonder whose music my friend might allow me to enjoy. Kid Rock? (Blah.) Rush? (Eye roll.)
And anyway, even if an artist’s politics do affect his art, what a spiritual poverty to entertain, or be entertained by, only what confirms one’s convictions! As a psychological fact, for many the private determines the political; must we also allow the partisan to constrict the personal?
Subverted is an engagingly written memoir by a successful freelance journalist who spent two rookie years working as an underpaid staff writer for Cosmopolitan magazine in New York during the early 1970s and contributed articles off and on to Cosmo until the mid-1990s, when, having discovered that editor Helen Gurley Brown was still systematically underpaying her, she got into a compensation snit with Brown’s myrmidons, and effectively ended her relationship with the sex tell-all women’s magazine. What Subverted is not, however, is a demonstration of (in the words of its subtitle) How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.…
To read the rage this fall—the angry comments, the push of reporters, the attempt to gin up controversy about Chrissie Hynde’s new rock ’n’ roll memoir Reckless: My Life as a Pretender—was to be tempted to despair. We are at such a crazed point in our culture, I wanted to scream, that to find sanity preached, we have to listen to a washed up 1980s punk rocker recalling her pre-stardom days of drugs and madness.
Feminism expresses, teaches, and even thrives on a contradiction. Put simply, feminism does not know whether to say that women are capable or vulnerable. If women are capable, they deserve to be independent—particularly of men. If they are vulnerable, they need to be protected, particularly from men.
Today’s movement to protect college women from sexual assault, led by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education, is riven right through with that contradiction. So far, universities have meekly submitted to being instructed by what the OCR, with a phrase for the books, calls “significant guidance.”
Before delving into the OCR’s mandate, it is best to examine the contradiction within feminism that both characterizes and inspires it.
Christina Hoff Sommers, a former philosophy professor at Clark University who is now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has been trying for more than two decades to rescue feminism from the feminists who have given the word a bad name.