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Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women Paperback – Bargain Price, May 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster / Touchstone (May 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684801566
  • ASIN: B0007O1JQS
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,643,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite its author's claims to the contrary, this book reads like a right-wing, antifeminist call to arms. The feminist movement, announces Sommers, who teaches philosophy at Clark University, has been "stolen" by radical extremists, whom she dubs "gender feminists," whose ranks include Susan Faludi, Catharine MacKinnon, Naomi Wolf and Gloria Steinem. As Sommers would have it, gender feminists hate men, believe women are systematically oppressed by American culture and have waged a highly successful campaign to effect harmful changes in society, from weakening university curricula to censoring dissent to their agenda. She distinguishes them from "equity feminists"--like Sommers herself--who care about women's issues but refuse to acknowledge ideological oppression of women. One of the greatest flaws in her polemic is the simplistic assertion that feminists can be slotted neatly into two camps. Nowhere does she seriously consider why gender feminists are so angry, nor does she offer an agenda of her own except in the vaguest terms. Sommers convincingly accuses some feminist scholars of shoddy research and distorted reporting of statistical data, but she too slings statistics around in an equally suspicious manner, and her prose is so sensationalized that sophisticated readers will take much of it with a grain of salt. First serial to Allure magazine; BOMC and QPB alternates; author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this jeremiad, Sommers (philosophy, Clark Univ.) takes out after antimale "gender feminists" who willfully, she contends, distort information on women's status to keep their lock on government and foundation money. Their dark agenda includes silencing sensible "equity feminists," who celebrate women's achievements and who seek, in partnership with men, to make the few minor adjustments needed for perfect equity. Her chief disagreement with "gender feminists" concerns their belief that gender bias is so ingrained that we are frequently unaware of its influence. Unfortunately, Sommers's scornful tone makes her reporting suspect; she mocks the arguments she opposes rather than engaging and refuting them. She is strongest when she criticizes the methodology of some well-known feminist research, but she undermines her credibility when she fails to apply her own standards to studies that suit her position. This book will have as an audience readers who share her politics. [BOMC alternate.]-Cynthia Harrison, Federal Judicial Ctr., Washington, D.C.
--Cynthia Harrison, Federal Judicial Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

197 of 221 people found the following review helpful By Jon B. Thomas on June 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A well written and researched book. The author identifies two basic types of feminists: equity and gender. She seems to believe that the great majority of historical feminist figures prior to the 1960's based their arguments upon equality of economic opportunity, full political liberty, fair and equal treatment under the law, etc. It's difficult for most reasonable people to not support such admirable goals.
However, she sees gender feminists as being of a more radical variety that seem to equate maleness with innate evil. She is very effective at pointing out outright lies, misrepresentations, and simply incredibly sloppy research on the part of some gender feminist writers. She additionally argues that any school of thought based upon demonizing an entire group of people because of a certain physical characteristic must be held to be highly suspect. The holders of these views too often find themselves in close company with racists, xenophobes, etc. Understandably, true believers of this sort do not enjoy their errors pointed out to them--witness the malicious ad hominen attacks of some of the prior reviewers.
Ms. Sommers wrote a very good, thoughtful book. I think society needs feminism, but not of an insanely ideological sexist kind.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Tethys VINE VOICE on July 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I first read Ms. Hoff-Sommers book with some skepticism, after all I had never met the kinds of feminists she was accusing of hijacking feminism. But my opinion of the book changed when I went to Duke University and took a class on Feminism and Ecology and was attacked by the instructors because I am apparently a sell-out to patriarchy, simply because I happened to marry someone who works for an organization they were against.This is the play-book for gender difference feminists.
Ms. Hoff-Sommers points out in her book that gender difference feminists claim their "special natures," a reflection back to 19th century ideals of womanhood, as a reason for their determiniation to set up an us v. men world.
But the truth of the matter is that all people must learn to live cooperatively and equally in order to move toward a society where men and women can fully appreciate their differences, similarities and their collective strengths. Ultimately, equality does not mean everyone feels exactly the same on every issue, as gender difference feminists try to enforce. Rather, feminism is about educating women, allowing them to make their own decisions, even when we don't always agree with them. No one wins in an us v. them game, and that is what this book tries to point out.
You will have to deal with someangry rants in this book, but they are the passionate frustration of a woman trying desperately to remind women that our strength comes through unity, not through selling out groups of people who don't agree with everything we have to say.
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81 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Scott Berwitz on November 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Besides using facts, and debunking the high status of gender feminists like Faludi, Mackinnon, and Wolf with their own words, Sommers shows us how the lies used to disseminate their brand of feminism hurts our society. How can a problem be sufficiently answered if gender feminists, or any group for that matter, muddles the truth with exaggerations. The March of Dimes study that falsely attributes the majority of birth defects to battery is symbolic of the problem. The true problem is that not enough pregnant women are screened for battery. Like Sommers said, the false but sensational claim that battery is the number one cause of birth defects works great for gender feminists. But the true problem--that not enough women are screened for defects--will be unanswered because the truth often does not make headlines. In the few but vicious poor reviews of this book, I have yet to see one that found any errors that undercut Sommers' larger argument--that gender feminists are liars, and use the stigma of the label of "anti-feminist" for political gain and ultimately hurt a mainstream feminism that "never recognized their leadership" Instead of saying that Sommers' book is poor, I would like to have one person show that it is so, rather than just making the assertion. Until then, this reader will continue to regard Sommers as the genius she appears to be.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Michael on July 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
For proof of Mrs Hoff-Sommers assertions in this informative and very readable book one need look no further than the authors of all the previous 1 star reviews. They are the perfect reason why we ought to listen closely to people like Mrs Hoff-Sommers, if only in the hope of saving future generations from being similarly affected. It is clear that few of them have turned a page of this book. True, Equity Feminism is an oxymoron in the class of Marxist Capitalism. But her demonstration that its aims were noble, and vastly different from later Gender Feminism are convincing, as are her reasons why a once noble but long since misguided movement has resulted in our society producing the kind of people it is. Buy and read this interesting book, and don't be put off by the so-called reviewers below who condemn without reading.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Dean Esmay on December 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Feminism is a word that means different things to different people, which is why some people support equal rights for women but criticize feminism, but why on the other hand some feminists take criticisms of feminism as attacks on women.
Sommers tries to give us new terms. On the one hand, there are "gender" feminists who fabricate data, blame men for almost every ill, and have an uncanny ability to interpret almost anything as oppression of women. She differentiates them from "equity" feminism, a feminism that respects and likes men, deplores portrayals of women as helpless victims of patriarchy, and seeks sane equity between the sexes, recognizing that there are issues on all sides of questions involving gender.
In lucid, carefully researched and documented prose, Sommers als lays out how the former group of extremists have damaged the cause of gender equity, created a wholly unnecessary war against the sexes, and often debased academic standards and made for some genuinely terrible laws.
The worst part about criticism of Sommers is claims that she's a "right winger" (she isn't), that she trashes the idea of equality for women (she doesn't), or that she's polemical and mean(she isn't). What she is is a fair-minded and thorough researcher who tells the truth and documents her research in ways that can be verified. And in doing so demonstrates just how logical, competent, and capable women can be.
This is a must-read for anyone who cares about sexual politics, or just the relationships between men and women.
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