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The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men Hardcover – Jun 15 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 15 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684849569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684849560
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.3 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #131,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

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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IN 1990, CAROL GILLIGAN announced to the world that America's adolescent girls were in crisis. Read the first page
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4.1 out of 5 stars

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Oct. 17 2005
Format: Paperback
Many of the objections to this book written here make her point for her. People object that she should focus on poor or black people etc. The fact is in every demographic group the boys are doing worse in school. A position is not refuted by saying another issue is more important. I am a male teacher and for years I have heard how girls need to be "empowered" and boys need to be changed. Well the numbers show girls have the power and all the teacher attention in schools and boys can only change so much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles J. Marr on June 4 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am happy to see that people are still commenting on this book after a number of years. I have shared it with a number of friends of various persuasions and get any number of thoughtful comments. If nothing else, Sommers, suggests that we can all make mistakes, even when we have the best intentions, and perhaps even more so when we espouse a political cause. Social scientists need to be held to account for their data, and she asks questions about much of its validity. She asks how can we better educate boys. Perhaps the greatest unanswered question to which this book led me was a policy question on how much of the traditional gender roles must we preserve and what should we attempt to modify. Putting it another way , "What's wrong with boys being boys?" And I mean that seriously as in: "What's wrong with girls being girls is that they passively set their sights too low." And we are led to agree with a final implication is that all children, boys and girls, deserve our best efforts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Schmitz on March 28 2003
Format: Paperback
At long last, 40 years into second wave feminism, intelligent women are catching on to the fact that the male of the species is in a confused freefall. Sixty percent of North American college students are female. Projections surmise that women will be 2/3 of students on American college campuses by 2010.
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.
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By A Customer on Feb. 4 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the more important books that have been written in years.
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.
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By Elizabeth on Feb. 1 2002
Format: Paperback
There are so many excellent and positive reviews from others that I shant waste time saying what has already been said. As a Libertarian I will say that I found the writer to be articulate in explaining how the pendulum has swung to far to the wrong directions and that two wrongs don't make a right. That it is true that in the quest to assure that females/girls/women/lesbian what have you were and are treated in a fair and equitable manner that in many ways we thru the baby out with the bath water and that boys who will someday grow into men and many, become fathers, are being sent messages that in many ways are making them fear women and not respect them.
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.
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