The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men Hardcover – Jun 15 2000
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The author of the provocative bestseller Who Stole Feminism? returns with an equally eye-opening follow-up. "It's a bad time to be a boy in America," writes Christina Hoff Sommers. Boys are less likely than girls to go to college or do their homework. They're more likely to cheat on tests, wind up in detention, or drop out of school. Yet it's "the myth of the fragile girl," according to Sommers, that has received the lion's share of attention recently, in hot-selling books like Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia. When boys are discussed at all, it's in the context of how to modify their antisocial behavior--i.e., how to make them more like girls.
This book tells the story of how it has become fashionable to attribute pathology to millions of healthy male children. It is a story of how we are turning against boys and forgetting a simple truth: that the energy, competitiveness, and corporal daring of normal, decent males is responsible for much of what is right in the world. No one denies that boys' aggressive tendencies must be checked and channeled in constructive ways. Boys need discipline, respect, and moral guidance. Boys need love and tolerant understanding. They do not need to be pathologized.Sommers eviscerates feminist scholarship by Harvard's Carol Gilligan, the American Association of University Women, and others. Hers is feisty, muscular prose and fans of Who Stole Feminism? will delight in it. "There have always been societies that favored boys over girls," she writes. "Ours may be the first to deliberately throw the gender switch. If we continue on our present course, boys will, indeed, be tomorrow's second sex." That rhetoric may err on the side of alarmism, but Sommers' ideas are full of common sense. She essentially urges parents and educators to let boys be boys, even though their "very masculinity turns out to be politically incorrect." The War on Boys is sure to set off a fiery controversy, just as Sommers' previous book did--but it should also find a big audience of readers who become fans. --John J. Miller
From Publishers Weekly
Sommers (Who Stole Feminism?) pulls no punches in this critique of the current crop of "crisis" studies about boys. Methodically analyzing and dismantling what she calls the "myth of shortchanged girls" as well as the "new and equally corrosive fiction that boys as a group are disturbed"Atheories she calls "speculative psychology"Ashe bolsters her findings with extensive footnotes and data from such sources as the U.S. Department of Education. Sommers's conclusions are compelling and deserve an unbiased hearing, particularly since they are at odds with conventional wisdom that paints girls as victimized and boys as emotionally repressed. "Routinely regarded as protosexists, potential harassers and perpetuators of gender inequity, boys live under a cloud of censure," she writes, going on to show how they are also falling behind academically in an educational system that currently devotes more attention to the needs of girls. Pointing out that "Mother Nature is not a feminist," she also dismisses the current vogue to "feminize" boys, calling social androgyny a "well-intentioned but ill-conceived reform." Instead, Sommers champions "the reality that boys and girls are different, that each sex has its distinctive strengths and graces." Sure to kick up dust in the highly charged gender debates, Sommers's book is at its best when coolly debunking theories she contends are based on distorted research and skewed data, but descends into pettiness when she indulges in mudslinging at her opponents. Perhaps the most informed study yet in this area, this engrossing book sheds light on a controversial subject. It deserves close reading by parents, educators and anyone interested in raising healthy, successful children of both sexes.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sommers points out that a pair of psychotic boys made headlines for the Columbine massacre at about the same time the U.S. girls soccer team did so for becoming international champs. Is this a coincidence, she wonders, or emblematic of how it's going for the two sexes?
The dropping percentage of males on college campuses, a plummet if one considers the last 50 years, only parallels men's growing lack of interest in churchgoing and parenting. It's about time somebody blew the whistle on this and suggested that something is wrong!
We live in a world geared to women: Schools and churches that ask us to sit still and listen rather than explore, compete, or seek adventure; a service sector economy that calls for deference and cooperation rather than energy or rivalry. Many men don't want to be Mr. Mom, our wife's junior partner in child rearing. Many men have a jazz 'em up and let em' run approach to child-rearing, which might be too hands-off for a baby, toddler, or 10-year-old but is well-suited to prurient, rambunctious, and liberty-starved adolescents. How many fathers are divorced and tangential to families by this point in their childrens' lives?
The Tyler Durden character of the 1999 movie "Fight Club" represents what is missing in the domesticated modern man: risk-taking moxie, masculine swagger. These are not trivialities. They make men vital and useful, not to mention...sexy to women. The rugged independence of the male mind has benefitted everyone.Read more ›
Some people have stated, 'For anyone that cares about achieving true gender equality, read this book only to learn more about what you're up against.'
There is no reason to want or expect 'true gender equity'. Men and women (and boys and girls) are not equal. This is not to say that the sexes should not have equal opportunity, but to say 'Let's realize the differences and work toward letting each side use their strengths'. To diminish (or devalue) one's true nature, so that we can play nice is a dis-service to true equality.
It has been written that, 'she (the author) certainly isn't looking out for her sisters'. EXACTLY, she is letting her argument speak for itself. Christina Hoff Sommers is declaring that she is an intelligent, independent and confident woman. She does not need to reduce men to raise herself.
This may not be the end of 'boys being boys', but it's a road that we need to be avoiding. If many of the points are true in only 10 % of our schools, it is truly scary. (I think the percentage is much higher.)
The status quo can not be helpful for males or females. The feminization of boys is leading to a backlash that is much worse than finding 'creative' outlets for testosterone. To compare the mental games that are being played with today's youth to mind control is not as big a stretch as even a few years ago. We need to respect a person's nature in the same manner that we need to respect each other.
That it isn't women's fault totally, but that feminists like Dworkin etc who have sought to make men/males into the enemy. Not possible equal partners but the enemy. And that boys who are reared to feel that somehow they are part of a patriarchy they have never heard of nor wish to be part of, are the enemy nonetheless.
And then there is the whole disregard by many feminist's of the scientifically proven differences in the sexes. A fact that is overlooked and both young boys and young girls are the pawns. That boys who are seen as unimportant or the enemy grow up to see women in an almost apathetic way.
One need only see the negative aspects of the radical feminist hand to see that women aren't better off either when we target young boy and then men as the enemy and basically treat them as the outcasts or the enemy.
This is a must read book.
Most recent customer reviews
Sommers might feel a tad differently if by chance she was 'socially constructed' as a non-caucasian non-well-to-do little lady. Read morePublished on June 30 2004 by Anna
This book is not making these things up. Major educator textbooks are teaching teachers that they should make boys more feminine and that too much masculinity is not only a bad... Read morePublished on June 21 2004 by Kindle Customer
Its sad how boys and young men have been shortchanged because of feminist hate.These misandrists have continued to perpetuate the misconception that boys have been favored over... Read morePublished on May 20 2004
Sommers certainly paints a rather bleak and contrastingly different picture from what many institutions would have us believe. Read morePublished on March 4 2004 by Jason Nelson
After just graduating with a degree in elementary education, I was surprised how much of how I was told to teach is actually the result of this "misguided feminism. Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2004 by B. Steele
This book is a solid work, very well written and relevant. It reads almost like a thriller. A must-read for parents (of boys or girls) who care about their children's academic and... Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2003 by NC
This book is so true. We simply are not treating young boys properly. They are not responsible for how men have behaved in the past. Read morePublished on Sept. 23 2003 by lulu
Are young girls at risk in American schools? Are girls getting short-changed and left out in the field of academia? Read morePublished on July 28 2003 by Bryan Carey
The problems detailed in The War Against Boys are no secret.
Boys will be boys and girls will be girls. Read more