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Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism (American Intellectual Culture)
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Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism (American Intellectual Culture) [Paperback]

Daphne Patai
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With a lot more restraint, if also a lot less style, than Katie Roiphe or Camille Paglia, Patai argues that the proliferation of sexual harassment lawsuits, particularly in academia, is bad for feminism. She blames feminist ideologues for creating a repressive?and sexually repressed?atmosphere in universities, and she forcefully documents cases in which faculty members (both men and women, though mostly men) have had their reputations and careers ruined by false allegations, frivolous complaints and opportunistic charges. Patai, a professor of women's studies and comparative literature at U. Mass-Amherst, calls herself a "still-avowed feminist" who rejects the presupposition of a rigidly patriarchal world in which men are innately predatory while women are inherently virtuous and potential victims. She criticizes the "sexual harassment industry" comprised of campus administrators, radical feminists and "post-trauma" therapists who continue to expand the definition of sexual harassment and habitually disregard due process. Not surprisingly, she singles out Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin and Mary Daly as "notorious heterophobes," slamming their "pathological aversion to men...and antipathy to heterosexuality." While her basic arguments?that women are not protected but infantilized by such zeal and that we neither can nor should try to expunge sexuality from the fabric of everyday life?have been articulated by others, Patai brings common sense and muscular reason to the task. Though focused on academia, her outspoken study should be required reading for the workplace.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Patai shows in detail how women's reasonable desire for a 'hands-off' workplace has now been transformed into a witch-hunt, where men are the devils, and guilty until proven innocent. The book demonstrates how in universities today the postmodern approach to reality has affected (or infected) our bodies as well as our minds. (Mary Lefkowitz, Wellesley College)

A devastating expose of the way academic feminists are driving their wedge between men and women. Professor Daphne Patai shows us the workings of the vast Sexual Harassment Industry (SHI) that now flourishes on the college campus. With humor, style, and persuasive analytic power, she demolishes its male-bashing arguments. And she does it all from a classical feminist point of view. (Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism?)

Heterophobia is a powerful brief for personal freedom and against efforts to politicize human relations and to strip them of their complexity. Patai leaves no doubt that sexual harassment laws and policies as they exist today do far more harm than good. Perhaps, as President Clinton's tribulations continue to fuel a backlash against 'sexual McCarthyism,' this timely book can provide an additional push for a rethinking of the ideological and legal orthodoxies that have gotten us where we are now. (Cathy Young Reason)

Patai brings common sense and muscular reason to the task. Though focused on academia, her outspoken study should be required reading for the workplace. (Publishers Weekly)

Patai’s constitutes the first main-stream feminist voice to speak out in protest against the disastrous impact that the Sexual Harassment Industry (SHI) has on both men and women. Heterophobia ends the silence. A well-reasoned and well-structured book that is a pleasure to read. (Wendy McElroy The Women’S Freedom Network Newsletter)

Patai has set out to disrupt the 'intellectual comfort' of those who support the sexual harassment industry. In doing this she has issued a a timely warning to men and women everywhere about the consequences of the new 'heterophobia.' (David Nolan Lm120 5/99)

In Heterophobia Patai tackles the subject with conviction that our 'assumptions about the relations between men and women . . . are long overdue for questioning.' (Morgan James Grand Rapids Press, 5/99)

A provocative critique of a volatile feminist issue. (Patricia A. Beaber, College of New Jersey Library Journal)

If Heterophobia is right, all of us need some quick reeducation on sexual harassment law, before we start throwing each other in jail for asking the right time of the wrong person. (Carlin Romano Philadelphia Inquirer)

This volume discusses the current focus of many feminists on sexual harassment, arguing that the surge of sexual harrasment cases has served to inhibit natural interactions between the sexes, & has replaced mutually enjoyable sexual banter with an artificial, often threatening, environment. (Sociological Abstracts)

About the Author

Daphne Patai is in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her writings have been published in many journals and magazines, and she is the author, with Noretta Koertge, of Professing Feminism.
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