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tv   In Depth  CSPAN  December 1, 2013 12:00pm-3:01pm EST

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the revised edition of the war against boys. >> host: how do you define feminism? >> guest: in the best sense feminism is a philosophy that says that men and women are equal before long, deserve the same rights, the same liberties, the equal dignity, and basically a philosophy of basic fairness. >> host: in your book, who stole feminism how women have betrayed women, you talk about the new feminism. what is the new feminism? >> guest: yes, well, the new feminism emerged especially in the 80's and 90's and is a rather hard-line version. i became a feminist in the 70's. i did not appreciate male chauvinism and believe in equality of opportunity.
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however, in the 80's and 90's, especially as a philosophy professor i was reading feminist theorist and feminists lawsuits and there was -- there were theories that were so aggressive in their landing rather harshly anti mail. as i've read these textbooks it was as if it were following, -- montell women are from venus, men were from help. i did not become a feminist to denigrate man we had the antagonism. i took exception to that. many other things. i found that i even developed terms. i call myself an equity feminists. an equity feminist once for women what she wants for everyone, fairness, basic respect and equality. but the other school i called gender feminism because they believed in what they called the sec's tender system. there were a group of terrorists
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shootout that women were an oppressed group and the oppression was systemic and that every major institution felt the impressive patriarchy. it was not enough to improve the condition of women or change laws, the system, the gender system had to be dismantled. and that led to some very radical proposals. very few women -- most women want their rights. want to be liberated from the capitalist patriarchal oppressive society if there is such a thing. there may be places in the world where such things, the united states, i felt that in the 90's feminism was a great success story. i did not find my colleague celebrating my success. it was almost as if things are better for women and they became more resentful and angry. what may appear to be a conspiracy theory about the patriarchy. >> host: was the feminism movement of the 60's the early feminist, was it necessary in
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the u.s. in your view? >> guest: absolutely. before the second wave of feminism that started in the early sixties there were also arbitrary barriers holding the men back. you can look at a newspaper and there were jobs for men and jobs for women. i still remember that. women could do a few things and men could do everything else. that had to change. it had to change because it was impressive for so many women. it held back so many talented wed, and there were schools where women were not welcome. very hard for women to enter. they simply were not welcome. a very rare woman could break through. so that had to change. we also had to raise consciousness about violence against women, sexual-harassment there were legitimate equity issues, and i am very grateful to all women and young women mostly grateful to the activists and the legislators during the
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second wave of feminism that change things very much for the better. .. >> these overtures were sometimes used, especially on blackmail women. and that needed to change. so more laws protecting women from discrimination and from
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harassment. so certainly a strong proponent of the equity legislation. >> host: if you have explained this from your book, who stole feminism, you said promoting this gynocentric critique of knowledge. >> guest: that's right, a new type of work, it is what they call a gynocentric type of view. and there may even be some women who don't completely understand that. and so they came up with this equivalent. but they weren't kidding. so this gynocentric term, it's almost as if they wanted to reject everything that one had done. and then there are dissidents
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like me and cathy young, many of us, we believe that the typical feminism is that we could join on equal terms in all the professions and it wasn't about rejecting all the things that had been done. there were many young women who would come to college, especially the elite colleges, and they would take courses for the achievements of the great male philosophers, and the great mail philosophers in all my time trying to encourage students to read and understand and
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appreciate plato and aristotle and then to have my colleagues,, my male colleagues, it's almost as if they were replacing them with what hard-line feminists were doing and that was not equivalent because we also left out this because most women, as i said, would be hard-line it, and we did not think of ourselves as gynocentric. >> host: of a chapter called the wesleyan report. what is that? >> guest: in the mid-90s the university studied the well-being of girls in school and it was an entitled how schools change girls. and if we were to go back into
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the mid-90s, you would think that our schools were hostile environments for girls, that there were terms where they were second-class citizens and held back in every way, which is important facts. but it was the opposite. the wellesley report was -- those were very well-meaning women. they were carried away and they failed to notice that was actually boys who had the lower grades and dropout. and yet not only did we have the wellesley report, but we had harvard university, and she sent us if it where they were drowning in a sea of western culture. and we talked about reviving ophelia as though young women were in a state of extreme duress and suffering and falling behind and we have exact opposite that is true.
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they were forcing in ways in which it was unprecedented. but look at it in my classrooms and it was the girls were getting the better grades and just thriving. and so i began to check these facts and i thought, how did they come up when there was so much success for them and women were getting better grades and how did they turn that into bad news for women? so i think that you find a lot with what has gone wrong with the contemporary women's movement. >> host: you talked about being on pbs with david sachar and there was a discussion on feminism and what happened which was a follow-up on dateline. so what is the story? >> david sachar and his wife, they have done research and they claim that any classroom,, voice
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call out eight times more than girls and one a girl we'll call out an answer, she is likely to be told to sit down and wait until you are called upon. boys are taught to engage and containers. so you could google it and find it in every news report. giving injustice to girls that boys are dominating the classroom and they have silence that is diminished. and i wanted to see the research. and by the time i was engaging with the gender educators, i learned that you must always check the data. and i just couldn't find it. he did not appear that the research was anywhere that this factoid was documented. and it turned out that he had done a study for the department of education and it was lost
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somewhere in the department of education. later, she wasn't able to do it, the professor did a follow-up and he admitted that it wasn't exactly 81, it was less a matter something like that. but none of that, for some reason, the reporters of the time, including "the washington post", they reported this statistic as true. boys were treated much more respectfully and valuable and they assert themselves and girls are sort of lacking balance. that is exactly the opposite was true. a typical classroom, the boys are often sitting in the back to spring the known cause on them and it's true that they may get more attention in some cases, but more careful research shows that it's negative attention at times because boys are more unruly and so the teacher will
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say, who do you think is the president of france and that is because john is not listening. so they are more recognized, the more positive engagements, those that have positive engagements. those are rare. and we feel that they have the right to express their opinions and if the teacher wants to hear what they have to say. so i agree that boys do that. >> host: that leads to your second book, just updated this year, "the war against boys: how misguided policies are harming our young men". >> guest: there are some educators who want to make gender is salient in raising the student consciousness and sort of reversing if they read a fairy tale life, and also just at the earliest age, making
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children aware, they want to make them aware that gender is a social invention and that we are born endogenous and that society imposes us. i have yet to believe that. i think that we are born, most people have it as a gender identity that's very strong and not all. there are exceptions, but as a rule. it's very important in a critical part of your identity if you are a girl or a boy. and it's not something that is easily changed and there are differences as well. it is an accommodation of biology and culture and we don't know the exact balance, but there are those who do deny that biology is playing a role in a field that if you have a gender aware classroom and the teacher is aware, that we should try to erase it or make it less
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salient. while trying to diminish stereotypical expressions. so if little girls are tending to -- if you go to a typical playground, the little girls play somewhat differently than the boys. the average little boy engages in rough-and-tumble play, sound effects, the boys that are the rowdier, the better, but girls do it too, but they do a lot less. theatrical imaginative games, playing house, and there was an exchange and confidences as well. but there are educators who want to go in and change that and particularly they look at the girls. as one psychologist said the girls are the standard in education and this is very sad. there is an intolerant or typical youthful masculinity.
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we will have six and 7-year-olds engaging in a lot of imaginative narratives involving superheroes. so there is mock fighting and also rescuing people, killing the bad guys so he could be held to be and we have little boys as young as five or six being suspended. for violating the rule against having firearms in school. and i'm very much in favor of zero tolerance for firearms in school. but that was happening in one little boy was suspended because he chewed a pop tart into the shape of a gun, a six-year-old and he was suspended and his parents were mortified. i said, he's a little boy, is
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not a criminal. but anyway, in the playground, there is increasing intolerance for the actions of boys. >> host: the right that americans boys do not need to be rescued, they are not pathological, they are not seething with repressed rage or imprisoned in straight jackets of masculinity. american girls are not suffering a crisis of confidence nor are they being silenced by the culture. >> guest: yes, we have to stop apologizing children, boys and girls, children are not helped if they are treated as though they are defective or deviant and in the case of boys, toxic in some ways. so i do believe that children need to be civilized, we have to open our hearts and minds and teach them to be caring and considerate human beings, but that does not mean that forcing boys to be exactly like girls is right, it doesn't mean being
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girls as if they are failing ophelia's at and for the most part, and this is a radical thing to say, most of them are quite healthy. and including most boys. we have to preserve a distinction, which is why sociologists have to do speed have a distinction between healthy masculinity. a young man that displays pathological masculinity, he shows his manhood by being destructive and tearing things apart, just basically -- a reign of terror. and the boy that has been healthy is the opposite. he is the opposite and he builds and he doesn't prey upon people he protects. and i still believe that that is the majority of men that i have
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known, and if i look at the data, the majority of men in the united states, they are -- they have been displaying healthy masculinity. the boys playing cops and robbers, it's terrible to confuse that with pathology, but with many schools, that is what we are doing. there's a wonderful researcher, anthony pellegrini at the university of minnesota is an expert on program dynamics and he says that he rough-and-tumble type of play is the universal play a little boys. it is -- it is cross culturally part of the species. males will engage in chasing behaviors and high-spirited mock fighting and so forth. and anthony pellegrini has pointed out that increasingly teachers and parents are not making the distinction between rough-and-tumble play and violence. so when boys are playing that way, there is joy, there's a lot of bonding, they are learning critical lessons about
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self-control. social skills of all sorts. when they finish playing, they are -- the friendships are stronger. but with violence of quite different. it's a very unhappy thing to see. it is completely opposite with rough-and-tumble play. it is the joyful, spirited, natural play a little boys everywhere. girls do it as well, but not nearly as much, boys just do it -- most, not all -- as much as you let them. and again not making distinctions, healthy masculinity, pathological masculinity. you have to be very careful and we have to do everything we can to protect ourselves and malice is rare.
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and there has been a tendency to project that into the majority of healthy boys and young men. >> host: when it comes to the genuine problems that do threaten the moral drift and cognitive and scholastic deficits, the healers, social reformers and confidence builders, do not have the answers. on the contrary, they stand in the way of a genuine solution. >> yes. i'm not saying that we don't have problems in our schools, even though i don't think that boys are pathological, i do think that there is evidence that they need character education as girls do as well. as most societies know, it takes more effort to socialize a young man and young boys who are morally neglected, and in most
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societies, they invest a lot of effort into civilizing young man. in our schools there has been a decline of character education and moral education and replacing it with things like self-esteem programs, various programs that are doubtful and merit. and we have a tried-and-true method of civilizing boys, good sportsmanship they can get from their coaches, most of all from parents, and we've kind of moved away from that. the second problem with boys, is that i believe they have become second-class citizens in our schools. and the problems are severely
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neglected. a young man today is less likely to go to college than his sister, and you look across all the ethnic groups and racial groups and socioeconomic groups, and define that boys are behind their female counterparts and they are far less literate than the average 15-year-old boy has been writing skills of a 13-year-old girl. reading about a year .5 behind and most importantly, boys like school less and they are more disengaged and there may have been a time when this wasn't a big problem and we were in an economy where you could make it into the middle class. and some educators say that the passport to middle class used to be the high school diploma. but not anymore. there is a new economy and a new passport to middle class is education beyond high school. and girls seem to be getting at amboise lesson lasts. so i feel that that problem -- i
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cannot find major organizations or government groups and the department of education is still talking about the shortchange of this because they were deeply influenced by the early research that said the girls weren't shortchanged. so they haven't adjusted to the times. we have the white house counsel, women and girls, concerned about the education of girls so girls don't fall behind. and when it's boys, it's like they are significantly behind girls. so i think we need this as well. >> host: you write that women in the u.s. now earn 62% of the associate degrees and 57% of bachelors degrees and 60% of masters degrees and 52% of doctorates, college admissions officers, they were first
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baffled and unconcerned and finally panic over the growth of male applicants. male enrollment falls below 40% or below, females flee, officials at schools at or near the tipping point are helplessly watching as campuses become like retirement villages with women competing for a handful of surviving men. >> guest: admissions officers are looking at 60% female, 65% come it seems to get worse each year, and yes, i would say they are cannot and they said we have to do something and we are the college of william and mary and not mary and mary. and there is one educational statistician in the last mail will graduate from college and
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he was being facetious. but it is a grain of truth. quite a mystery as to why the girls would be so much more aware of the importance of education. and girls even have higher aspirations and some people say, it is manifesting in across classes that you see the girls outperforming the boys. and among the highest performers, girls are not only getting far more high grades, but they are more ambitious and again, i celebrate this with what has happened with girls and it is inspiring. i just wish they would discover
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that there are gender differences and i wish it happened instead of becoming a partisan movement, but a movement to improve the aspect of all children and have boys where they were falling behind girls and that would have been part of this because they were not doing as well as boys at one point time and we have managed to close that gap. and we have been writing this in general. and i don't blame the teachers for this, but they have a bias against students and its students to commit five or six years old. and i think we want to find a way to make the classroom a happy place for them and room
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for their personalities and high-spirited mess and i just really haven't done a good enough job at that. >> host: is there a shortage of male teachers and does this have an effect? >> guest: there is a shortage and this may be a slight exaggeration, the current system says that schools are run by women for girls. it's a facetious statement, but not by too much. it's the saddest comment that i ever read, a group of interviewers asking why did you drop out and there is one way that said i just thought nobody wanted me there. and there's a lot of voices feel that way. it sort of heartbreaking.
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and it's not directly towards boys. >> host: you say that young men may be a dying breed on college campuses, but some have no trouble attracting them, schools that include the letters check. >> guest: that's right, almost all of the technology schools come you'll find that the boys turn out in large numbers. again, we are supposed to say that males and females are cognitively interchangeable and that is the politically correct view among certain educators and politicians and certainly gender scholars. and i do think that there is a difference on average and we
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have several decades of feminism that fields or open and law and veterinary medicine. but they were male dominated. women have all but taken over veterinary medicine. and there was always this and now more than ever, if you want to close this gap, you should major in petroleum engineering. you will make far more money if you become a petroleum engineer and early childhood education and sociology and yet young woman -- you don't find too many
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going into it. so if a boy wants to be an early childhood educator, or a girl wants to work on an oil rig, i think that's possible and there are still some barriers, but overall, that seems to be the goal, but not requiring this and i think we should acknowledge that boys are more interested in technology and you will find more boys wanted to major in engineering. but allowing them to understand the boys are very interested in us. but what is happening is that we have wonderful programs with an outreach of young women to get them to go into technical fields. it's almost as if we have forgotten boys. there is a wonderful professor and she was a professor of
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biomechanics. and she found a club where they can come together and build things. but what shocked her and she gave them -- she helped them use screwdrivers and hammers and it was something new to them. it was almost as if it was something of their birthright. and it is this weekend -- we don't have special programs to interest them in engineering when many would naturally take to it. so i simply want to introduce some common sense into this
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arena and you want to encourage them to go into nontraditional fields and don't expect absolute purity that we are different. >> host: why are some schools persuading girls to be welders instead of nurses? because equity officials of states require them to under the carl lee perkins career and technical education act of 1984. dispersing $1.1 billion annually through the states, the secondary schools and colleges, for vocational and technical training. >> guest: yes, that is correct. i visited a high school in queens, new york. integrity section of new york and i was in an industrial area.
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and there were about 2000 students and i thought that i had come on the wrong day and no one was there. but it was also one of the most inspiring places because i realized they were all in their classrooms and they were enthralled by what they were doing. it is a network of career training high schools in new york. the kids have to spend about half the day of standard academics and they have to do well to spend time in the playground working with an airplane assessment that kids can tinker with.
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there are classes in the afternoon and they work and are learning about aeronautics and many are from broken homes, all sorts of social problems, and this includes 86 or 87% male. there are all girls at aviation high school and they are fantastic and i met them. but they know that they are different in this includes individuals that become mechanics and those becoming huge numbers of airplane mechanics. but some of the women's groups
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have a major initiative that has been going on for years. to get the federal government to come down and impose gender equity and a regime and i question us. i met a wonderful principal and vice principal and it's mostly young men who are fixated on airplanes. learning about jet engines and taking a pre-engineering program. there are schools that is across the country. i think one of the best programs is a massachusetts. and there was a time when kids were thought to be, places where it that students could don't fail and not anymore. and it makes it possible for them to go to college and many
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of the other high schools in massachusetts as well. and you can focus on a career in trucking and refrigeration and automobile repair, aviation, and you can also do early childhood education and girls tend to go for cosmetology and it doesn't surprise me that i would much rather be interested in cosmetology. but i think it is something that is pernicious going on in the schools and stereotyping, trying to undo it.
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but they say that we do everything we can, female electricians or welders who are great role models, making a fortune doing us. this. and we show them the role models and we do everything we can and then she says, we have girls saying that i just don't want to do that, i don't want to be an electrician come i really want to go into early childhood education. so i think is good is that we are telling the girls he will make more money if you go to some of these technical professions. and typically the girls want to do what's in their hearts and it's not the same as the boys. so as long as you make efforts to do this, the federal government is very involved, because they do help pay for the schools. they have come in and impose this and it's not enough just to
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show that you have programs to interest the children coming up you have to get them to go into the welding and refrigeration. and it's not working. and why not do what we can in these programs would be lifesaving. and why are we reaching out to the boys in trying to bring them to fields that they would love. what's not pretend that it would be easier to turn her into a petroleum engineer. >> host: welcome to booktv. this is our monthly in-depth program. this is where one author talks about his or her body of work. we have christina hoff sommers with us. her first book came out in 1994,
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"who stole feminism?: how women have betrayed women" and "the war against boys: how misguided policies are harming our young men", came out about 12 years ago that the new edition is here, "one nation under therapy: how the helping culture is eroding self-reliance" and in 2005. her co-author helped to write the book. doctor christina hoff sommers spends her day job at the american enterprise institute and we want to get too involved in our discussion as well. we will put the numbers on the screen. (202)585-3880 for eastern and central and (202)585-3881 for mountain and pacific time zones. if you live west of the mississippi, violent. if you want to participate, at
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booktv is art twitter handle and and there are all sorts of ways to connect with us and we will cycle through that so we can see those numbers and different ways of contacting us as we go. you write that the subtitle is how misguided feminism is harming our young men. why did you change the subtitle? >> i think it helped everyone just make it a more ethical and healthy society. it was a misguided feminism that i was talking about earlier and
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i felt like it was driven by advocacy research. a misguided victim, politics coming out of the national women's law center and the wellesley center for research on women. i thought that was misguided. some thought it was an attack on feminism. in the last chapter of the book is still there were my favorite chapter is about those who become mothers of sons. as one mother said, she was a wonderful writer and would send her son to a feminist children's day care and she said what
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happens when you send a high-spirited little boy. it did not work out well. and they would have the children celebrate and they were constantly trying to practice this. but they were actually policing her and monitoring her. so it was liberating for her to discover that they aren't exactly like girls and the book was in that sense very positive towards these mothers who are very humane and humaneness of the feminism was so much about how they approach their son. but because of the title, it didn't go through. so i dropped it. >> host: because of your first two books, you got branded as an antifeminist, for the book's
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"who stole feminism?: how women have betrayed women" and "the war against boys: how misguided policies are harming our young men." have you ever been on branded? are you stuck without? >> guest: i think it is changing. i recently won an award from the national women's political caucus for an article that i wrote about boys and "the new york times" and i thought that was gracious about them because they know that it was critical. and it will be quite reasonable. and that was very nice. i think they will call me but i don't think -- i just wrote a book called freedom feminism describing what it should be to attract more men than women because they can call me an antifeminist but they would have to call everyone. and almost everyone says now.
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the last study i saw was 17% of men, the vast majority say no and one said there was a poll that 20% said it was an insult. how can a movement that stands for liberation, how cannot be something? so what i think is that i do think that many self identified feminists are fairly hard line. they seem to be willing to believe the worst things about men. and very dissatisfied with the society and i do think that they throw out false statistics and i
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think that a lot of young women simply are not angry at young men, so they keep their distance and you don't find many women as part of the movement. but it's largely evolved into the upper middle class women's movement and when i say who stole feminism, there are some in our university and it doesn't appeal to people. there have been articles for colleges to avoid where it is a hostile environment where they will have angry women and so forth. so i think that that is contributing to it. and i think that they would still think that i was a dissident in this area.
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but i don't hear this as often as in the past. >> host: without women's studies programs at university? >> guest: well, women's studies artie's. there are many professors who are drawn from other fields. then you have those who are sociology individuals, women writers, and those professors give straightforward academic classes. but what worries me itraightforc classes. but what worries me is the feminist theory. and it actually commissioned christine rosen to do a content analysis and what you have found
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in this includes hostility to this, so a woman -- none of us want to see women forced to stay home and raise children, but what about the women that want to be that? that an admirable choice and so in feminist theory classes, what i found was this teaching philosophy and we always enjoyed offering students the pros and cons, and it wasn't my job to give them a specific opinion if we were debating upon a metaphysical issue or determinism. and i wanted them to enjoy the readings and it may be balanced,
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please send it to me if you're out there, and the questions that we have. and there is a very narrow range of what is disparaging feminism and now there will be these freudian and echo feminists or postmodernists, it's on and on. again, very narrow and esoteric and there is too much of that in the women's studies. many students are almost taught a conspiracy theory about the patriot act and a master a set of statistics and this is a
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harsh thing to say. the heart of the feminist theory is egregious information and how oppressed women are. and this includes the chances they will be battered and raped as women, only if they are not dead from anorexia nervosa, a desperate standard for patriarchal beauty. and sometimes they aren't sourced, or if they are, that was a large part of this. this concludes the national
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center for education, setting the gold standard for research and what they found was so different for what was happening with the feminist studies. but it tends to be very eager that women are second-class citizens and were oppressed and they are very eager to share that in very eager to research that comes with better news. and i think that that is why i took an exception. as i said, there are serious scholars. when i wrote my book, i was uncovering the secret history of the more moderate feminism that thrive in the 18th century and i depended upon these historians who are experts and they were brilliant and imaginative and
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first-rate scholars. because there are great scholars and some of them should speak out against the ideologues. because they are more vocal and set the tone and they're giving women's studies a bad name. >> host: you're also a textbook author? >> guest: yes, "basic readings in ethics, and the science on women and science" and "vice & virtue in everyday life: introductory readings in ethics." >> host: how did you get involved in this? >> guest: it was almost an accident. i was a beginning teacher and i got my phd at the university of massachusetts and then for a long time, almost 20 years.
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and i was teaching an introductory ethics class and at the time, we were debating contemporary social issues and a lot of philosophers writing about abortion, euthanasia, just and unjust wars and so the students would read these articles and we would have a debate. as i said, i was persuaded by both sides as well. one just struck me and moved me and said that i really enjoyed this class, i learned that there is no right or wrong, just go to bad bed arguments. and i thought, that's not exactly part of it. maybe i am conveying the wrong message. but then i thought basically
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with censorship come you're talking about the responsibilities of institutions and society as a whole and what about the responsibilities of the individual and the students in my classroom and issues like hypocrisy and self deception and compassion. so i wanted to have a textbook that engaged them. i wanted to do all of the social policy issues because those are fantastic with great philosophers on both sides of these controversial issues. but i wanted to find personal ethics and virtue and vice and i have put together with my husband who taught for many years, and he taught at columbia university and it was all professors at columbia had to do it and he was acquainted with works and philosophy and he
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brought this into the text and would find what we could on friendship and loyalty and wisdom and generosity and i tried to make the readings accessible in one reason was i try to find articles that would be meaningful to students and accessible and at that time there were so many changes and you could see the history of the publishing and when i first sent it to my editor he called me up i couldn't stop reading these articles and we have this wonderful philosophy and a village in france was written
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about when he managed to save all the jews that were in safety there. and it was sort of thing he wanted to study goodness and he went to this village and tells the story and it's very moving and we've had in the book ever since. and so it is part now of the ninth edition. >> host: were juvenile? >> guest: are up in southern california. i went to new york university. and some of me loves the program, i had a full scholarship that. >> host: why did you major in
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philosophy? >> guest: i was just always interested. i love the history of philosophy and professional philosophies will criticize some of the things, both a historian and it was so beautifully written and exciting. it made it so attractive and that was in my mind when i arrived at nyu. and william barrett was there and he wrote on exceptionalism and so i just really love these classes. i didn't have enough common sense to know that it was
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impractical. both were english majors, my sons, which i encourage them to do. and then one has a phd in philosophy. but he is serving the success of a and it is sort of a family business, i guess. it was the early 70s. >> host: why did you grow up in southern california? >> guest: i am a second-generation californian and my parents grew up there. i went to junior high school in
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long beach and then moved to westwood and went to university high school and both schools, i had excellent teachers and a specialized english and social studies, i had a teacher who taught the classes and then teachers again in high school as well. and i hope that it is still true today, that wonderful teachers and the wonderful curriculum still exist. things were pretty well behaved. >> host: what kind of work did your parents do? >> guest: my father was a pharmacist who i lost a few years ago. at st. john's hospital in santa
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monica. he met elizabeth taylor and people like that. and he met richard burton and he was very excited about that. and my mother mostly stayed home and took care of us. but she was and is a passionate reader and a great lover of science and philosophy and i think that was an early influence. and they were all sorts of influences in the late 60s and i took latin and french and violin lessons and i think we had a fight with the school system. and they said no one can take three languages and somehow my mother managed to turn this into a prep school and had a very
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strong influence postmark before we go to call, how did you end up at the american enterprise university? >> guest: once i was on tenure, i went on a ship that went around the world and it's about 30 professors in the wonderful program. i was friends with all of them. i liked all of the teachers but they were certainly didn't radical. it was marxist, and this was in 1988. the soviet union was intact and yugoslavia was celebrated as a model society. so long story short i came off the ship and wrote an essay called the professor at sea.
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especially since it was so colorful. teaching these young women that they were oppressed and again, i found it remarkable. so i wrote abo@ found it remarkable. so i wrote about it sent it to the atlantic. and they said we can't use this article, but here's this one. it was in 1989, fairly early to be criticizing. it was the early political correctness and exposés of the crazy politics on campus. and so the commission had me write an article on us and i went from being a philosophy professor who had been publishing fairly standard philosophies, i became a journalist and then i wrote more
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and more and i wanted to do that and i found that i was competing with my teaching. so the american enterprise invited me to come and i went there for a lecture and we visited people and i was invited to join them and stayed there since 1997. >> host: christina hoff sommers is our guest. we have a call from jay in boise, idaho. you are on the air with christina hoff sommers. >> caller: doctor, thank you for doing the program. i read your book, "the war against boys: how misguided policies are harming our young men", and it was the first edition. but i guess having this answer to my question, there a lot of individuals talking about
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basically marrying their secretaries. and this includes -- now that there are women out there and basically doing the same thing. >> guest: i think what is happening now, people tend to marry someone, fall in love with someone, more or less the same level of education and intelligence and now that women are as educated or more so than men, you do find that doctors tend to marry other doctors and engineers tend to marry other
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engineers and we are not finding so much that pattern and we're not finding that women are necessarily marrying men that are less educated than they are. however, marie dowd pointed out this may have to happen that women will have to settle for men that are less educated just because of demographics. i'm not certain the women will be happy about that,. >> host: we have tim in beaver falls, pennsylvania. >> caller: thank you for the great show. it's a really great show. a new year with the american enterprise institute and i thought that we are going to disagree like crazy. but you have been just beautiful. thank goodness you didn't do a
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practical education and i do want to ask you a question and what i see with my grandchildren , my grandson is five years old and he has two sisters and all he gets to play with his girls. finally now he is in kindergarten and i'm like, okay, he will be with some boys. because kids don't run around nowadays like they did when i was young. when i was young, my parents and nowhere was until dark. they didn't need to know because it was safe. and all the boys to be off exploring on whatever and you know, because a we tried to do. but i think it was good for us.
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>> host: what is your question? >> caller: how much effect do you think it has but everything sort of organized today, boys don't have the freedom to explore like they did in my generation. >> host: thank you, sir. >> guest: i think it's called a nature deficit disorder. so many kids are denied just the opportunity to explore and they were always -- they're always places in the neighborhood, things that kids would find an adult didn't care. i mean, we had a rule to be home by dark but now there is so much concern in confinement and also a lot of boys, especially growing up without dads. so you might have thought that they would've been out in the garage, but mostly boys that would be building things and a lot of that is gone now from the
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life of a boy. what we are seeing is less, and exposure of obesity, and session with video games, because kids are not getting a chance to be outdoors and this gentleman talks about sending his child to kindergarten. many of our schools have become risk-averse, feelings centered, and as they move in that direction, they are really not moving those needs. so i think that we have a problem and i'm glad that he doesn't hold it against me being at the american enterprise institute. because it is diverse. we have a lot of libertarians as well as conservatives and norm ornstein is there and works very closely with the obama administration and there is no political litmus test on foreign policy and economics free market. but on social issues, we are
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quite diverse and there were many obama voters the reason for selection. >> host: cheryl is in texas. please go ahead with your question. >> caller: yes, i am a high school engineering teacher and i find most girls don't necessarily want to take my class. his pay and quality the reason we are pushing girls and two boys traditional occupations? and if we increase the pay, would that solve the problem? >> host: can you tell us about your experience as an engineer and an engineering teacher? >> caller: yes, i was an engineer for it 12 years and i wanted to be on their schedule and wanted to be on their schedule and have summers off and then i got involved with a math program in the state of
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texas put engineering into the high school and so i was recruited into that field as well. and teaching mostly engineering now. a lot of hands-on projects that traditional math and science teachers don't have time to do. but i do feel this pressure that we want to get the girls involved in engineering and that is why i have this question. >> host: what is the typical response? is there a typical response from girls or young women about your program? >> they just say that they don't want to be an engineer. and if they don't, why would they take engineering. and i do get a few girls in my classes and i find that they are not as enthusiastic about the project. the boys are very enthusiastic and want to one up each other, they are trying to think outside the box and the girls, a lot of times are just trying to get finished and get the grades and get done and i don't see them do
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anything otherwise. >> host: thank you, can you respond about pay inequality? >> guest: first of all, teachers that are honest with the u.s. everywhere, it is try as he may. it is almost utterly impossible because as many as 20% of the girls could become interested and even then you have to do something different to attract them. this is a stereotype, but there is some truth. a lot of it is generalizations about that and you have to share how it helps people. how can we build something that can withstand earthquakes and a narrative about how many people have died in the south american earthquake and something to connect it to this compassion. which just seems to be stronger than on average. but most girls, they're not going to find it that interesting compared to the
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other topics in the know very well that they won't burn as much. but that doesn't mean that they don't care about that. women were more willing to sacrifice the earnings than men are. they may have been interested in being musicians or artists they may have abandoned that work on an oil rig or be an engineer and men are more likely to do that and abandon what their passion and interest is in a field where they make more money in the more likely to major in something that they love and i want them to acknowledge that and see that there are payoffs for both of the sides. as far as both of those increasing the amount of money that we paid me to an english teacher compared to an engineer, society has tried that with a
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comparable worth or you have this with the government and so forth and it tends not to work with the market, if you move too far away and then you tend to bring on more problems and it's actually changing what the men and women will do. there is a limit and why should we be so obsessed with a? why should this wonderful teacher real pressured. she is inspiring as many kids as she can without doing the counting. and i suspect not in her class, but many programs, a lot of boys are left out because there are programs to get more girls than. or they will have out reach for special camps and we should have these poor kids and unlike children pursue the interests rather than statistical. in.
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>> host: we should ask cheryl with a response is having a few non-engineer to it. >> guest: i have seen an impact on studies and some show that they do better with a male teacher but there is an exception, if there's a female teacher who really likes the boys, that works as well. but not all teachers do, the boys know it. and again, it is understandable. the boys are almost always more of a challenge. and their artificial policies in the schools where i said, i said,. >> host: christina hoff sommers is the author of transit. after almost four years of
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gender neutral pronouns, men are more likely than women to run for political office, start business and tell jokes more males get mobile laureates and more are also in maximum-security prisons and they commit acts of violence. ..
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i was wondering if you have any thoughts along those lines. thank you. >> guest: well, yes. the feminists have complained about how women are depicted in the media and denigrated and, you know, always showing certainly in fashion magazines very thin women, impossibly thin. but the caller is correct that it's a huge rob -- huge problem for men now being be denigrated in the media. you can turn on almost any program you choose, and the men
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are baffoons. the mothers sort of wise and all knowing, it's kind of a reverse of "father knows best" of the '60s. now we have the father's a fool and the mother is, you know, a very competent and effective human being. so i worry about little boys watching that and seeing this denigration. you can say almost anything negative about a man, and it's a joke. people find it funny. and if you do it against women, it's immediately seen as being sexist and misogynyst. now, i think that we should allow a place for joking about the sexes. i was just in a debate in toronto, i think the thesis under debate was men are obsolete. so you had maureen dowd and hannah rosen arguing that men are obsolete, and defending men was this wonderful british humorist. we'll have to talk about her at some point. so they were debating, but it
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was full of humor. ask maureen dowd wrought back a kind of 1940s, you know, style where men and women, you know, like you would see katherine hepburn, spencer tracy joshing and jeering, i mean, jousting with one another. so that, it was fun to see, and i hope we can bring that back, but not the that lining and the denigration. and there's too much of that in today's men who are the targets tar more than women. >> host: sharon asks a question via e-mail, have you ever been interviewed regarding your books on npr? >> guest: oh, yes. i was for my first book. i've been on npr quite a few times. recently -- well, npr has different outlets in different states, and so i've been on a lot of the states. i had never been with perry gross, and i would love to go on
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this because i like her and the way she interviews. but other than that, i can't -- >> host: i think she had a political, that was kind of a political question she was asking. >> guest: right. right. i do think, yeah, i've been on quite a few npr shows. i can't complain about that. and especially i was on toed show with katie couric, and she was very nice. with the boy book, the war against boys, i had one hostile interview on health care snbc. -- msnbc. they didn't like the idea that boys were this trouble. they were still back in, i don't know, the 1950s thinking that women were an oppressed class, we sparred about that. but i've been on a number of shows, and the hosts are sympathetic to the point of almost going beyond me, they're panicked about what's happening with boys. >> host: christina hoff sommers,
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vicki jo e-mails in: what do you think of rush lick ball's term -- rush limbaugh's term, ", femi nazis? >> guest: i don't like it. it should be left to cover the specific evil that it encompasses, so it should just be with there. there are other ways. he's part entertainer, so he's doing, you know, overstating and so forth. that's part of the humor. but it's not a word i use. >> host: jim, gadsden, alabama. good afternoon to you, you're on with author christina hoff sommers. >> caller: oh, she's wonderful. i'll tell you a little story. i come from gadsden high school. i didn't know i was smart, i thought if you read the work, the teacher's going to give you a test on friday, you just read the answers. well, at one time i was interviewed by this gray-haired fellow about a scholarship, and
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i ended up at harvard. and it was like amazing to me. however, i'll tell you about my freshnd essay class. every freshman had to take a yearlong essay class to learn how to write an essay. well, my grandmother started reading me shakespeare and various interpretations of the bible since i was 3 years old. well, i don't express myself like dr. rosenfeld who was 23 years old my freshman year getting her master's at harvard because she was from the lower east side new york. and she kept correcting my expressions, not the thought content. one time i used the term i had reckoned and so and so, and in office hours she chat chastised me did you mean you determined, mr. connor, have you concluded? i said, yeah, that's what reckon means. i get a c-and b+s from her, and
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it harmed me in the scholarship committee because i didn't stay the whole three hours in chemistry lab. i got my psychological to lahrship -- scholarship cut in half. but 50 years later at my 50th anniversary i want to go and see dr. rosenfeld who never married, always taught at harvard, got her ph.d., and i got up enough nerve to talk to her about that freshman class 50 years later. and, oh, i called her office and she had passed away. but now i take it that dr. somers the is talking about some things her attitudes toward me. she was very pretty, and i was only 19, and she was only 23. i was going to ask her out to dinner -- [laughter] until she was so nasty to me about the way i expressed myself. but, listen, i'm from the deep south. i had had four years of latin in high school, and i had read
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shakespeare. i had read comte, i had read day cart -- >> jim, there's a lot out there. anything there you want to respond to? >> guest: oh, i imagine that if the professor had been alive and met him, she would be sorry. i think as a young professor you are often sort of harsh with students, and i remember when i first started teaching, i was worried i looked younger than they did, and i remember wearing glasses, anything i could do to make myself look older. after a while i realized i did look older than them, i was the age of their parents, and then suddenly i was older than their parents. but i think you mellow a little bit, and i think it may be that she was a beginning professor, and you're sometimes too strict just to prove that you belong there. >> host: e-mail, when a double standard affects women negatively, you almost always hear women complain and cry sexism, if there's a double standard that works in favor of women but against men, women as
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well as men rarely complain about it. why do you think this is? i don't know if that came from a man or a woman. >> guest: it's very true. and it's true at so many levels. for example, we have a vast network of women's organizations who monitor the atmosphere, anything, any hint of sexism, a scintilla of injustice, they are right there with programs, projects, reports, they attack it. what do men have in almost nothing. there are a few but just fledgling groups here and there. women have now almost an empire. now, there was a good reason that we built that up because as we talked about before in the '40s, '50s, '60s there were genuine equity issues. we needed organizations to cement change. but now there's such an imbalance between the women's lobby and the to lobby, whatever, whatsoever for men. there are areas where men are in serious trouble.
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men's health issues, education issues and workplace issues. there's something else the caller said, though, that's important, that women are more likely to want to talk about problems and complain. look at women's magazines. we talk about everything and talk about like one with caller had mentioned that there's a lot about, you know, women's bodies, the media makes women insecure. so women are constantly talking about. but you won't find men talking very much about how they feel insecure about what the media's doing because it's not just what men do. and they certainly don't organize around their own victimization, men will organize for all sorts of purposes, but not to complain about how they're being treated. so i despire of how to solve these problems. because you can't depend on men to do it, because it's just republican as if it's not -- almost as if it's not in their nature to organize around the problems that they have. for example, young men if
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college, if there were colleges that saw these disparities and that almost every year, you know, the ratios kept getting worse and worse for guys -- for girls, if it were girls, you know, there would be a national outcry, and the young women on campus would be -- the boys on campus, they're happy about it. if you tell them, you know, there's only 35% male here, the boys on that ship i told you about, ss universe, far fewer than the girls, and they loved it. doesn't bring out the best in boys when they have, you know, surrounded by so many girls. but that's what's happening on our colleges. you don't find the boy withs organizing. and one other thing, if boys, young men do caseally organize in toronto they tried to to have a group organize around men's problems and some injustices that were happening in the campus, and the women's groups called it a hate crime. and you can see this. it's a shocking video, if you google university of toronto men's rights organization.
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and you can see the women were, they basically did not -- they had a former member of the national organization for women but now he's a men's rights activist and is a very sensible, reasonable, lovely man, and's shouted down. they could not have the event. so if men do speak out, they can be -- they'll be called misogynyst. but it's a bad situation. >> host: jeff is calling from san jose, california. hi, jeff. >> caller: yes, hi. my question is this: is there any type of civil society or informal movement for boys that are at risk of dropping out of school with mentors as far as career guidance and any other type of guidance is concerned? thank you. >> guest: the good news is for boys there are now a number of fledgling organizations. unfortunately, we are getting almost no leadership from the government, but there are these groups. and there is something called the boys' initiative.
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it's actually run by warren farrell, whom i mentioned before, and if you go to the web site of the boys' initiative, you will find the best research, solutions, organizations, where to go, and i'm sure there are -- i read there are far more programs like this in england and canada. we don't have as many mere here, but male mentorship programs. especially to get boys to be readers and to get boys to remain engaged in school. male mentors are very important, especially a boy growing up without a father. >> host: sassy tweets in: if you had a young son today, would you send him to public school? what if it was your only option? how would you advocate for it? >> guest: oh, boy. i would -- my first choice to would probably be with a coed school, but there are certain things i'd want to know. i would be very worried if there were what i have found in some
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schools a kind of toxic environment for boys. you can look at the bulletin board. is there anything in there that represents his interests? is it all just for the girls? the reading lists, you can tell by reading lists, the teacher's attitude. what can they play on the playground? are they allowed to run around at recess? do they have recess? there are many schools that have cut back. so i would want to do a kind of assessment for boy-friendliness, as i said, in terms of reading list, attitudes, recess. just the environment, because there are some schools it's almost as if they've put up a sign to boys, you are not welcome. and i would not want my son to go to a school like that. and then i would look into a private school or an all boys' school. all boys' schools are wonderful for many, many boys. not all boys, but for many boys they are salvation. >> host: what about all women's schools? stwhrg same thing for many young
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girls. the research on single-sex education is a complicated mix, and advocates can come in and insist they're all bad or all good. depends on the child, but there are kids for whom there are salvation. there are girls that will go to the schools, they will become simply more engaged and more interested in math and science, and is some studies that show girls are more likely if they take fizz bics in an all girls' school, they're more likely to like it and to want to go on. so i would very seriously consider. there are drawbacks. you know, you worry that it's a can co-ed world, you want your children in a co-ed school. you worry about the long-term effects but, in fact, the data shows in some ways these schools better rare them because they become -- prepare them because they become more well rounded. girls can't in a biology class go, oh, i'm not going to dissect the frog, let the boys do it. at an all boys' school, they
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have to be in the school plays, the school newspaper, the editor, they can't leave it to the girls to take on all the organization and the writing and so forth. so in some ways children become more well rounded. overall, i'm more open minded, and i would certainly if i thought that the local school was hostile to my son, i would be very unhappy, and i would, you know, and i must say i don't think -- i think the average teacher likes her male and female students, and she wants them to succeed, but she may not be aware that these differences are not simply invented by culture, that it is a different job to educate a typical little boy and a the typical little girl. and this is not something teachers lesh in graduate schools -- learn in graduate schools. not all of them, but many of the schools of education are still 20 years behind. they're still reviving ophelia as if girls are -- a lot of
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young teachers. by then, you know, they may not have developed the skills. and just to give a quick example. 6 or 7-year-old boys, they will be action narratives, you know, give a specific example, i read recently a little boy in california e had a story and illustrated it, and his parents would tell you he just loved action and sword fights and war -- he was obsessed with star wars, and his parents were called in by the teacher. she was very worried about justin's story. it was a sword fight, and there were even decapitated heads. well, his father was shocked because he knew justin was a perfectly healthy, sweet little boy, that he just loved action and these kinds of stories, and he knew this was a typical
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drawing of a 6 or 7-year-old boy, and he asked himself how can this teacher who has so little sympathy with my son's imagination, how is she going to be able to reach him? how is he going to be able to succeed? >> host: robert is calling from castro valley, california. you're on booktv on c-span2 with christina of sommers. >> caller: thank you very much. i think this is a great top you can, and -- topic, and i guarantee you that after watching this i'm going to go out and buy a couple of your books because i just think they're really important nowadays. my question is why do you suppose that this is a topic that's rarely covered in mass media, the network news? i know it is some way, but it sort of pops up on the radar, then it goes away real quick, and you don't hear about it for quite some time. i think in general there are some topics that have a higher rate of frequency, there are a lot of topics that tend to fall into the category of political
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correctness. what is your perspective about why this is not covered? >> guest: well, i think that there's a serious problem in just the knowledge base about men and women and boys and girls, a lot of information about sex and gender come from women's sents or something called the national council for research on women. it's 116 women's organizations. and that's kind of the brain trust on gender. and so when a journalist reads a report or wants a fact, even members of congress, republicans and democrats, if they need information about the workplace, work-life balance, any issue, they're likely to go to one of these scholars or one of these reports. but they all -- i don't want to say all of them, many of them tend to be coming from hard-line, gender expectations. so there's a dearth of
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information. and reporters who might be on deadline, they don't have a lot of time, they'll just call up the welfare center or the national women's law center for information about the workplace. so i think journalists are not well served by a brain trust that's so ideological. and i certainly think that men and women are not well served, and our children -- especially boys. so we have to do something about in this. there's this asymmetry just in terms of the structural asymmetry. all these organizations for women, almost nothing for hen and boys. >> host: you're watching booktv on c-span2. this is our monthly "in depth" program with christina hoff sommers, author and scholar, is our guest this month. we visited her recently in her home to learn about her writing style and some other information, and we also asked her what some of her favorite books are, some of her influences. here's a look at that.
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>> originally i was writing as a philosopher professor, and i was writing on technical philosophical topics. and i became interested in more cultural social issues and would write about them when i found no one else was addressing them. and so, you know, i started to write about boys when i saw that it was a neglected topic. i'm usually upset about something and think that this is wrong, and this is not going to help people, and this is going to send us in the wrong direction. so i'm almost always motivated by concern that it's important to get this down right. all of us are susceptible to confirmation bias. we are much more open to arguments and evidence that supports what we already leave.
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challenges if you resist. and i know that i have that. so i tried very hard to compensate for that. i know from people that i've heard there are let's say on some positions, someone that holds a very different position from mine, single-sex education, and there are ways they can rent their position which is respectful of what i believe, and i can listen to them. but if they just come in loaded for bear and, obviously, with some kind of sick, you know, set of fixed ideas and rigid ideology, then i don't listen. i don't want to be like that. for so many reasons. i just think it's not good intellectually, it's not persuasive, you don't make, you don't change minds.
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>> host: christina hoff sommers, you listed camilla paglia as one
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of your greatest influences. why? >> guest: a friend of mine as well as an ally and dissident feminist. i got to know her in the early '90s when she seemed to come out of nowhere. i felt sort of alone in protesting the excesses of my colleagues, and she wrote this brilliant book, "sexual persona." she has a degree, a air d in english -- ph.d. in english, and she's one of the most erudite and intellectual people you'll ever meet, and she has this sweeping knowledge of history of art and history of fashion, the history of literature. a self-described lesbian who likes men. she has all these paradox call self-descriptions that she calls herself a green, but she has some skepticism about climate,
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about global warming. she's a democrat, but she's more libertarian. but hostly she's just a fan -- mostly, she's just a fantastic intellectual and a brilliant, original person, and she writes about gender. she showed me that you could write about these things in a completely free and un, you know, in a way which wasn't confined by rigid ideology. she just blew the ideology out and wrote what she saw and thinks. and she does believe there are male ask female differences -- and female differences that are biologicalically based. of course it's part of culture, but it's biology s. and she rejects what she considers an anti-intellectual tendency among many academics to dismiss nature in the construction of gender. and she, she also loves fashion and drag queens and rock stars, and she writes about them, soap operas. so she kind of puts it all together and has written books
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on the history of art, the history of poetry. each one is a classic. so i think when i encountered her, i saw -- i was both thrilled and saddened. thrilled just to meet someone like her, and i urge everyone to google camille paglia and read everything you can because you will have a good time. she's an exciting thinker. why do i say it was also sad? in her i saw what women's studied could have been. if it hadn't been constrained by ideology and sort of a dreary politics and victimology. it attracted free thinkers who were just able to speculate and with the benefit of a classical education and to speculate freely. men and women and social institutions. and so she's able to speak the truth, but it's informed by this, as i said, kind of
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comprehensive knowledge of our history and world history and poetry and painting. and so i think the gender scholars didn't know what to make of her because she was, you know, as i said, paradox. she was a feminist, but she was to-pornography, and -- pro-pornography, and as i said she's libertarian and sex, drugs, rock and roll, that's fine. but on the other hand, she has very old-fashioned views about education, that young people should be brought up on the classics. i don't think she wants anything assigned that was written after 1850, maybe before, maybe 1700. so she's very, very conservative when it comes to education. but then she's free. i mean, she's this free thinker. so she's just been a very positive influence and very encouraging, and she's also optimistic. and she thinks that the berlin wall is going to fall even in
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gender studies, that there are going to be free spirits that are going to come out, young pill that have studied, you know, feminist majors and then realize they've been misled and maybe even swindled out of a good education, but many of them are very bright, and they will rebel. and she and i are both waiting for that. >> host: where is she based now, and is she teaching? >> guest: yes, she's been teaching for years in pennsylvania, in philadelphia, and she's just written a book, "glittering images on art history," that you should give to every student you know. anybody could read it, but especially helping young people understand art. that's another thing she doesn't like about the postmodernists is the denigration of genius. she's a great believer in genius and has, you know, studied the great masters in art and poetry and literature and thinks that's what education should be, acquainting students with greatness. and, yes, so young women can
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stand on the shoulders of great writers ask artists of the past. and not to tell them, oh, you don't have to respect them. she has no patience with that. >> host: well, march cuts tweets in to you -- marcus feets in to you -- betweens in to you asking you to comment on the "lean in" activism based on the book by author sheryl sandberg. >> guest: yes, i reviewed that book -- sort of a review essay -- in the atlantic, and i liked part of it. i liked that she wasn't whine think and, you know, blaming everyone -- whiny and blaming everyone, there's one of that, and i think it's a great book if you have, you know, a young woman -- or even a young man, there's a lot of good career advice in there -- who is very ambitious and wants to break through to the top, lots of good advice. it's partly that. but then part of the book it was as if she went and read a 1975
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feminist textbook and kind of incorporated it into her text. is -- she starts talking about how we have to raise boys to play with dolls and girls to play with trucks and all this sort of thing that has been tried and the results are mixed at best, probably a complete failure because children more than any age group insist on gendered play. so she -- and i think also she didn't allow enough place for women who make different choices. because there are about 20% of women -- the best data i've seen from the pew research center or london school of economics, about 20% of women are high-powered careers comparable to any man. watch out, they are sheryl sandbergs. but at about 20%, today want to stay home with children, and they do not wish to work. they want to be full-time moms. that's just the way we are. 60% women want both, in and out
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of the workplace, maybe pull back when they have kids, maybe work part time. and i think sandberg's book was great for that 20%, but like a lot of the women's movement, the majority of women are left out, those of us who want a combination or those women who want to stay home full time. >> host: sally in delray beach, florida, you've been very patient. you're on with christina hoff sommers. >> caller: yes, hello. pleasure to speak with you. my daughter was a ph.d. graduate in psych from clark, she probably took some of your courses, and my question to you is don't you believe that gloria steinem and the rest had sent a message to the males in our society that they were less because we wanted to be more? thank you. >> guest: well, remember -- i'm not sure stein them in said this, it may be an urban legend, but it's always attributed to her that women need men like a fish needs a bicycle. we don't need you. and she once wrote in her book
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on self-esteem, she said, you know, the most dangerous woman -- the most dangerous man in your life is, you know, your husband sitting next to you on the couch in the living room. >> she depicted men as predators and made it seem as though women were just fighting for their lives in this society. and she was just too credulous when it came to advocacy research and false statistics and paranoid theories. so i admire her because every time i see her, she's sort of gracious, and she laughs, and she has a lovely smile. and sometimes she says encouraging things, but then there's this subtext which is male bashing and full of all the things i've been describing that went wrong with feminism. so i think she's an example, and to quote california kneel p be aglia again, she once said there was a time we needed gloria steinem and after a while we couldn't get rid of her. so i think that, you know, she
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never changed her message. so the message -- it was really the message we couldn't get rid of. we were stuck with that 970s message -- 970s message of complaining and denigrating men. >> host: jason, dublin, ohio. e-mail: one of my favorite books of the last decade i have read is "unnation under therapy -- one nation under therapy." the theme runs through this book like the war against boys is the pathologizing of what used to be considered normal behavior. instead of seeing sadness as a normal reflection of grief, people can be diagnosed with depression if a close loved one has died. is it possible for us to reverse this tide of pathologizing normalcy, and if so, what can be done to accomplish that? >> guest: well, thank you for the compliment to "one nation under therapy." i wrote that book with my colleague, a psychiatrist, and
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i'll preface it by saying we strongly believe there are people who have genuine, you know, who are genuine mental problems and need help as a professional, and sally satel is a practicing psychiatrist, and she works with patients. however, the average man or woman, certainly the average child is not a fragile flower, is not pathological, in need of a diagnosis. and it's almost as if all of life has become an occasion for a diagnosis and clinical intervention. and people aren't expected to cope in their own way with adversity and failure, and of course there are some people who fall apart if something, you know, some kind of horrible event in their life, but most people are incredibly resilient. and there's not a single recipe for what helps them become whole again. so we were simply questioning
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this view that you will, that you'll find salvation through therapy. it's useful as a tool when needed, but as a life thros my, it's limited. you should check out other sources and find other inspirations. the last thing i'll say is being too self-involved in ruminating, you know, women do more than men is actually depression, to be that self-ab a sobbed. and -- absorbed. and we call it therapyism, we should all talk about our feelings and just get it out there. there's very good data that shows sometimes talking about feelings or letting out your anger just makes you angrier. and talking too much about your problems makes you more depressed. so it shouldn't be taken as just a simple, obviously truism of life that you're going to be talking about your problems and carrying on. it may be a sign that you're depressed. and a lot of women try to get men to do it, but men have less depression. so it may be that there's a
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healthy stow by schism. and it may be that men hide their depression -- [laughter] thousand that i think about it. we're not sure. but women turn up at the doctor saying they're depressed far more than men. but still, this constantly talking about your feelings, there are a number of studies that show it's maybe not the best way to go and not the road to happiness. >> host: and, christina hoff sommers and dr. sally satel write in "one nation under therapy," that healthy young people are shortchanged, even endangered when the adults in their lives take the view that what is most important is to keep them happy in the conviction that they should be judged by no one's standards but their own. >> guest: right. the self-esteem generation. i'm not sure that all hi eleven y'alls are like that -- millennials are like that. i see these articles, i don't think that's true. but i think we had a lot of kids that were raised with too many
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trophies and where they weren't allowed to play games in the playground that were thought to be too injurious to their self-concept, games like dodgeball and musical chairs. they were put in what's called a hall of shame by an education writer because they were hurtful to feelings. and i remember a sports writer at "sports illustrated" said, you know, kids can handle dodgeball, they can handle musical chairs, but how did we -- where did these adults come from that think that children need to be, you know, wrapped in cotton wool and treated as the they're these fragile flowers? that is actually harmful to children, to not let them have experiences with competition, with failure. i mean, critical lesson in life is not that you never fail, that you're protected, but how you respond to it. and children have to learn that, but we seem to have created schools where we want everyone to feel good about themselves
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all the time and high self-esteem is thought to be the highest ideal towards which we can aspire, but lots of psychologists and even common sense will tell you there are many people with higher self-esteem who are not good people. in fact, even sociopaths have high self-esteem. and they're wonderful people. abraham lincoln, john stewart mill who was riddled with self-doubt and a low opinion of themselves. so sometimes there are very great people who have a deficit of self-esteem. so we wanted to question what we felt were these dogmas that had emerged and were just too prevalent, too widely believed. >> host: so not a supporter of the everybody gets a trophy theory. >> guest: no. [laughter] and the kids know. if you don't keep score and you think, well, that'll make everyone feel good, the children keep score. >> host: a call from annapolis, maryland. please go ahead. >> caller: good afternoon, dr. somers. i was wondering if you would comment on the one-woman theme
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that took place during the presidential election and also the recent virginia governor's election and why at least it was reported it did have an effect on women voters. >> host: what's your opinion first before we hear from dr. sommers? >> caller: my opinion, it was almost like preaching to the choir, and the way it was reported and may have seemed to be emphasized by those who believed it anyway. but in the virginia governor's election, i lived in maryland, it did seem to have an effect at least on those going to the polls, the women going to the polls. >> host: thank you, sir. >> guest: yes. the war on women theme was very effective, and what i think about that is, first of all, i mean, democrats have been far better at listening to women, being informed by various women's centers that they, with
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whom they correspond be, and they got their message, and they fine-tuned that message for different age groups. it was fairly clear, for example, in the last presidential campaign that the republicans did not do that. and i think that for many conservatives as i said before, there are all these women's groups that are supported. they tend to be fairly liberal to radical. and where are the women's groups on the conservative side? there are a few. there's the independent women's forum and the clare boothe luce, a great student group called new. these groups are either libertarian or more conservative, but there are very few of them. so i think that republicans have a serious problem because they don't have the information base. they don't have the scholars, they don't have the research. so i think if they want to win elections, they're going to have to find a way to talk to women and something to offer directly to women. and i think democrats have been
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much better at that. .. >> guest: i don't think it is a radical claim to say that there are differences, but there is
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such a huge thing as human nature and most people are salient. and that boys are falling behind in school, i don't think anyone can deny that. you simply have to look at the hard evidence, which is so obvious in attending college and i'm at a loss of where i'm comfortable and not having evidence but i will tell you that is a trained philosopher, if someone points out to me that i don't have good evidence order that my argument is fallacious in some way, i certainly care about that. if it's a particular complaint, i will investigate it and if i find out that i'm i'm wrong, i change my mind. >> host: we have nancy greenwood . she says in an e-mail, why do you think bigger negative hindsight book should be touted on c-span? anyone can try to rewrite
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history, but not everyone can get c-span2 revise their history. >> guest: well, i'm sorry you feel that way. one of the first books i read when i was there in the 60s and early 70s was by simone de beauvoir and i'm not stir sure how much i understood at age 14, but i've been there all along ai began to write books when i became acquainted and felt that that much had changed. what worries me is that as i said before, i think i represent a moderate voice and perhaps that was one of the first things that we had in common, tends to be the gender feminist, the
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victim who has a voice, and that is taken seriously. and i believe that people who have had a lot of experience with that, they will find what i have to say is strident and counterintuitive. but i think that the gender studies departments in the scholarships were more inclusive and there were moderates, libertarians, conservatives, a lot of women were around the table representing these different points of view and i think that i would not sign on. it could be because what you have been reading is limited and not conclusive. >> host: we have essie on the phone. christina hoff sommers is our guest. >> caller: i would like to just say that i am intrigued with everything and with the pattern.
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i grew up, in my opinion, here in alabama, we route the whole day until night and with the political correctness in school and we have to sometimes politically correct than and they will be there with swords and talking that they want to deal with snipers and it's like, hold on, wait a moment here. maybe you should play another game like paintball or laser tag and we have to look at how when we're out there, we lost some boys. i have one friend who wants to
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be superman or the plastic tape on his back and running around and those are the kinds of things that we have to watch with young men and women after doing a lot of things, but those things can also bring in. my question is there's a lot of groups being formed. there's money coming to the state, money coming to the federal, looking at various populations that are not graduating and a lady like myself who started a group called women of color, we are helping young ladies who develop themselves and to go to college and i am being told that they
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don't need women. they need man. and that is when you have someone who has been very active as a political activist and you hear on one side about these women and men and then on the other side, stirring things up also because of their political affiliation. >> host: okay, thank you for calling in we've got the essence of what you are saying. >> guest: yes, when you describe the boys getting injured. they do need supervision up to a point and they can hurt themselves and we look at the hospital room admissions. as soon as children can move around, boys are more likely to be injured. they take risks, they're willing
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to explore and do crazy things. so if you find an example of someone doing something truly wild, we talked before about this, men being at the extremes and they succeed spectacular and fail spectacularly spectacular. i could leave a void to think he superman turn it could lead other men to become inventors and leaders. so it must be nurtured and recognized. this is quality that is more boys than girls. and i'm sorry about your mentoring program because you were discouraged from the program for girls because one message, especially in the new edition is that you really have to take the gender partisanship out of this. because what most americans want is fairness for all children and
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we want our friends to succeed in our sons to succeed in our daughters to succeed. in the weight i want to take anything away from the girls and more than not, a lot of it worked and whatever it was that was effective, we should try to replicate it for the boys and young men. >> host: we have heidi from palm springs. she says, do you think that there is discrimination or fear? since the trayvon martin case was more about fear than race. >> guest: i think that there is a lot of prejudice against african-american teens and all boys. there is a kind of assumption that the antics than ms. behavior are connected to something that is dangerous that everything about them is potentially lethal. and i've think that the boys do
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bear the prejudice. even being suspended from school, it's an epidemic for african-american boys and technically all boys. all of those suspended, about four or five times more livable and people have studied the suspension rates and they have exacted a terrible toll for african-american boys and they found that most of them were not doing anything that were not a zero-tolerance policy. it was nothing like that. it was just acting out in typical boy ways and no tolerance for it. it's all boys, but especially young men of color. >> guest: patrick sends a tweet, please write a book on zero-tolerance and show whether it causes harm. >> guest: i now believe it
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causes harm. the book has been written and there are dozens of studies. the american psychologists have a major front-page story about how ineffective it is because children are suspended and sent out of school and if you have a disengaged kid who is acting up, that's the worst thing you can do. again, the child is always perceive it as a punishment. there is scott to be free time, if he could be unsupervised for its the worst thing you can do. they can sit in the front row and ask a lot of questions, and engage more in academia. but these policies are harmful and there are very good books and someone will write them, but probably not me. [laughter] >> host: our next call comes from an individual who has a
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question. >> caller: yes, we have admired her ever since she has come on the scene with her books. if i fumble with this question, i apologize. but it was earlier mention the phrase called separationist and i would like to call everyone's attention to your magazine and the cover story was january 2010 entitled [inaudible] , in which a courageous reporter said that they have documented what was going on at that time, for a long time in new york city and now goes on to every schoolhouse throughout the plane throughout the exceptions.
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where the children are sent with members of their own sex only. there was no heterosexual environment, same-sex in the puddle of every school, and this includes kevin jennings in the west wing of the white house under the leadership of valerie jarrett, and i'm wondering if doctor summers took notice of the january 2006 magazine and realizes that every school has a poll today where children are assigned to go and disrobe with members of their own sex only. >> host: okay, i believe we've got the point. let's get a response. >> guest: i have not heard of that. when we mentioned lesbian separatists, there was a theory where it there was a movement, and you might have readings on
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this but it didn't have anything to do with this. i'm afraid to find out. >> host: kenny, you are on c-span. >> guest: thank you for your call. >> caller: thank you for everything you said. my question is do you talk about how some boys are destructive and some are more, not destructive, has anyone done a study in this service? and a second part of this, as far as the women's liberation type of thing, do you feel that when on the frontlines, front lines, do you think it plays a
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psychological effect on e-mail pending to be a protector and provider for women? i will hang up and let you comment. thank you. >> guest: i will answer your last question first. i know that there are, as an equity feminist, equal opportunity, also a person concerned about the well-being of the military, i know that there are women who we have ample evidence of and there are so many things that they could do even in combat. of course the majority of women probably don't want to be in combat. but some women actually do. and if it is workable, then i see no reason why we would have to do it. but with one caveat, i do think that we need this. i do worry that if people are
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ideological, it will be research that is slanted in one way or another and we have to be careful that because this is a sensitive subject. and i say this a lot. integrating women in the military and women into the passion or eating disorders or any of that, they will all benefit from the honest research carefully done and design studies and we have this. so i would like to see in the military is to allow the combat units and integration and see how it works. my guess is that the women will do pretty well. it will be a minority. and on average, a typical woman is not a lawyer and does not wish to be in combat, but there are exceptions of extraordinary women and i think we may need them.
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>> host: david e-mails us and says do you consider the late feminist ideology to have been proto- typical of what you object to in this so-called movement? >> yes, sort of. she was a very committed mail of verse, maybe not in her personal life, but i did know her personally, but i would see her interact personally and she had a lovely voice and was so compassionate, but she was such an individual that was brought up on this sort of rampaging and male bashing feminism that depicted american society as sort of wars in the congo. it's just as though women were barely keeping themselves alive in these male predators were everywhere and it was almost
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always experienced as something negative and horrible and they launched a campaign against photography, which included playboy magazine and the centerfold in sports illustrated. to me, that is so wrong. and it doesn't help women and there's no evidence that the centerfold in sports illustrated, it is a cover of it, that it causes of violence, but they were certain that it did in the works were responsible for an anti-sex feminism that had to be overthrown, and it was. and she was very much an opponent of that, an opponent as a kind of puritanical repressive feminism with the 1984
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overstatement. >> host: you write that by now feminists have a well-deserved reputation for dishing it out, but completely unable to take it and many are known to deal with opponents by ad hominem or feminine counter attacks and opposition to diversity or inclusiveness. >> that's right. and again, we are talking about all feminists, and i wasn't careful enough, but i did try to make it clear. but i'm very much talking about those who do view all criticism as backlash. i've been called a traitor, and even a non-woman in some ways. indicating that and i have a photograph that was once at a dinner and had a picture and we
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are not -- i'm not. but yes, women are supposed to be nicer and kinder but when you object to something written by the hard-line feminists, they react rather aggressively and unkindly. >> host: we have trade from fresno, california. >> guest: thank you for taking my call. i appreciate your response. as a young black man, i have to say that i very much feel that coded language can create oppression and misconceptions, not only in the media, but textbooks as well and i'm
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wondering if you can bring any legitimacy to my concern in the same attitudes which you have mentioned that existed and i think you. >> guest: okay, that was a lot. i didn't hear all of it, but angela davis, she was a philosophy professor there. she was kind of a fierce revolutionary in the 60s. my problem with her is that she held onto a marxist philosophy, and maybe she still does, maybe not. so i am not overly sympathetic to that. it was a bit too extreme. but if i understood you, the harshness towards young man in feminism and a kind of -- i mean, when i became a feminist, it was a humanitarian movement
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and a compassionate movement to help people and improve the world, and now i think that we see something new, which is a kind of feminism without heart, which just doesn't seem to care about boys and young men. most of the phenomenon that i have been talking about boys of color is that most of them are most affected. and with the intolerance for young boys, underperforming, ignoring it, some latinos are doing fabulous in school than their male counterparts. yet the girls overall compared to the boys are considerably better and far more likely to go to college and someone commented that most of the benefits and education are approved for women and not for the men. so would be good if we had a
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women's movement that was just more open. to understanding. and this includes young boys and young boys of color. >> host: margret sends an e-mail about the over emphasis on sports, even little boys are pulled in to the spider big sports fans fathers because it's something that the dads like and they have very slim choice and opportunities, but they spend a lot of time and no more watching sports than they could be learning more diverse subjects. >> guest: yes, that is a very good topic. as a group, it they tend to be sports obsessed and despite everything, watching the red sox fans in, however, on the boy's
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behalf, i worry about some of the claims about how terrible it is. it's a source of enjoyment and that's what they love to do. and you can attract far more voice to your school. if you want to get one of boys into your college, start a sports team and they will come in much greater numbers. if you have a football team, he will come with all his friends and "the new york times" wrote about this. so again, this is the difference that we do not admit that there are certainly enough not to love the sports and there are far more voice who are sports addled and i don't want to be that disapproving. because i am sure that there are
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horrible examples of terrible parents. i think that lucy will we have our kids that are forging friendships and getting outdoors and having great experiences and a lot of fun as adults as well. >> host: we have laura from erie, pennsylvania. >> caller: good afternoon, it takes a lot to go up against the liberal feminists and all of this, the girls on campus that will attack you for your views. especially, i wanted to ask why you'd be that they don't tolerate any discussion of life when it comes to the abortion issue. i worked work in a clinic and we show abortion minded women free ultrasound and many of them after seeing the baby with the fingers and toes will choose life. and there is such an opposition to the 1 million plus who have said that they regret their
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abortions. >> host: okay, we got the point. how does that fit in everything that we are talking about? >> well, i am pro-choice and however, i have spoken to enough people who are pro-life and have read enough about it and taught philosophy talk philosophy class where we debated these issues back and forth, that there is a core philosophical disagreement and it is a very big moral dilemma in a respectful of those who hold the view of the sanctity of life beginning at conception and it's grounded in a religious view that they hold and i understand that and respect it. but i have a different opinion and what i will tell you is that you look at the data on men and women in america and it's not that different and the men and women break down and i forget the exact same percentages, but
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equal numbers are for or against. so it's not really a men versus women thing, but those who believe that as the caller said, when you see a sonogram and you see the diggers and toes and so forth and i found out i was pregnant, i was immediately bonded and felt that this was a person and you have those experiences and it makes me sympathetic to those who fight for all the rights to life, but on the other side, i still think that a woman i think that having a baby, when you have that baby, it's probably the best experience of your life and make sure that you organize your life. and we don't tell young women enough about how important it is
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on the other hand, if you don't want it and heaven forbid it was, it's just -- that you're 15 years old or something, i have to come down on this side of choice. they respect the other side and i have been moved and the more i study the philosophical issues and it was michael lockwood, who is not religious, it is probably an atheist, but his tough-minded and analyzed it and you thought that after the first trimester, he thought that it was morally very dicey and hard to defend. sort of pushing me back the first two weeks or something. but then you really are beginning to see the formation of a that is more tragic and
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more all. >> host: the next call comes from diane in florida. >> caller: i appreciate your interview. doctor christina hoff sommers, that last question just got me thinking about this issue. and i wanted to ask you what your opinion is on late john paul the second, because i think your take on the need for boys to have the same type of, just attention, maybe, and men even today. it is so important. and women have kind of taken it
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by storm and men are left standing there and they have natural desire in everything i am trying to reach on equal ground is kind of muddled up with the wonderful differences. and you really have to understand that there is something there and i was wondering if you have read about this, simplicity has made it not >> guest: you know, i haven't read it. you're not the first person that suggested that i do, so i will. especially if he is talking about the need to honor the soul of the boy and acknowledge his need, a kind of need of young men to be heroes and little boys casting themselves in these
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narratives and their imaginative play and i worry now we are not allowing them to do it, but now they are be ashamed being ashamed for that and they could pay a high price. >> host: we have an e-mail, my facts are fuzzy, but i think it was geoffrey canada who wanted to start an academy for black young men and boys and this was so turned down by the new york feminists, including many of my own very liberal friends, that what seems like a great idea to me was completely buried and were you watching when this happened and what would you say about it now? >> i know about the efforts and the good news is that there are such academies across the country, as are the 2006 -- one thing that the no child left behind dead, it allowed schools to experience these academies
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and a lot of them have grown up in urban areas and some coed high schools as well experimenting with these classes. i think some of these programs, a lot of them don't don't don't have dads and they go to these economies that are modeled on the prep schools and the boys are just -- they are thriving. there is a school in dallas, texas. they have a school for girls, a leadership academy, and it just opened up two years ago. the barack obama leadership academy for boys. and these kids, and inspired principle, he understands this and i think he got this from harry potter and invited them to different academies and they compete with one another.
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so if you participate in sports and if you do poorly, then you have to explain to your team, what you can do and the kids react so well and they have such high expectations and great role models with teachers and principals and i think that schools are great, but i'm sorry to say that the aclu is on a campaign to shut down single-sex education in the private sector and they don't even like it in the public sector, they don't even like it better. they call it gender segregation in may compared to racial segregation, but that is absurd. first of all, when you racially segregate the kids in schools, it is demeaning and it harms the children that were segregated and the whole society and it was toxic. you are not denigrating anybody,
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kids are flourishing in some of the schools. and it's not a form of discrimination but enhancement, enhancement to their lives. so i have had some debates recently with opponents and i've done not at the american enterprise institute. and i'm the champion of them and a supporter and they have been very effective with kids in the inner city. >> host: what do you think of think of sandra fluke? and seems like she's getting free scholarships to a prestigious law school on a fast-track and successfully portrayed as a noble victim standing up for the republican war on women and why does this happen and why his victimhood a comforting blanket for so many people? >> guest: i don't own that much about her except she may be parents in the hearing.
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and i understand that. there was a hearing in congress that involve the funding for contraception and there were no women there. so she questions that and it's not a bad question. but then would happen if she was insulted and profane terms by rush limbaugh and that -- she became a sort of celebrity. and that happens that we can become a kind of representative. and i don't know how. i'm not sure because i don't know that much about the other topics, i would have to know more. >> host: what about the issue of victimhood? >> guest: yes, there seems to be
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a fascination among gender feminist to prove that women are victims and find data to seal the deal. so it evolved in the 80s and 90s and they would depict american society as hostile to women and they would then find statistics that show a third of women were being battered and most of us are being harassed in the workplace and high levels of rape and i couldn't find the data for this. when i looked at american society, i saw a great feminist success story in women's flourishing. i don't think that things are perfect, even today there are some unresolved equity issues, but they're not perfect or not either, but overall this is a highly successful society for
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men and women and even though i am complaining about the boys right now, compared to the rest of the world, we are still so far ahead in we try so hard and we have these constant conflicts, but it's just a healthy part of the democracy, where overall terms of basic rights and well-being, if it continues as it has for several decades, one is fortunate to have been born here. several scholars including myself have looked at these very good things for women if you want to work part-time. if you are a full-time and ambitious woman, you are probably better off being here. many have a high managerial position, just to be ahead and we envy them because they do have far more protections and
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that sort of thing. but just in terms of opportunity, it is here. so the feminist, they took such a grim and negative view of american society and they were just, you know, trying to knock down doors or artery open and they would not admit that all the problems that men had, just moving along with the times and there is was a time when it was appropriate and today is a new world and millennium and what we should be working on, or we can be together and in terms of this, men and women together running the world. i don't think that we will be the same, and a string of another study, then study that i love was published by international researchers and i think it was the journal of personality and social
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psychology, and they looked at this between men and women across 50 cultures and rural couples in botswana, the philippines, as well as a dutch couple, french and american couples, washington dc, what they found as they took basic personality traits and on the men and women, the more educated and prosperous, the larger the personality difference. and they said, how can this be. the difference of minimization of prosperity and they have this idea that in a society where we are all having an opportunity, there is greater self actualization and you can be who you want to be. so becomes more salient and more so than the democratic postindustrial society.
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and many times they don't have the opportunities to lawyers. so it turns out the difference of sex can be a manifestation of well-being. >> host: as a mother of four boys, paul comments ages 14 to 23 are the ages of her children, i agree with everything you are saying, my sons have been shortchanged in the catholic school system and teachers have required them to be medicated so they would still for long. the program of study is literary base, excuse me, literacy based and as christmas gifts, i gave some of the teachers the book the wonder of boys and some are offended and boys are definitely being shortchanged. >> guest: that's right, he loves
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boys and he's not afraid to admit the differences and this book is full of inspiring ideas on how to help boys and i recommend a book -- any book by ralph fletcher, and he is an expert on writing and has all sorts of ideas on how to improve literacy skills. but there are innovators and certainly in the private sector. and there's a website called guys i urge everyone to go there, it proves irresistible to boys. >> host: what about the medication issue? >> guest: i do believe that there are children, it's mostly boys, 75% or more that are
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generally afflicted with this disorder and major kids are bouncing off the wall and they can't sit still and other children reject them and they are not invited to any social type of things. they are isolated and that's the exception. the majority of kids have said in both the book, they don't need to be medicated. there are a lot of little boys with perfectly healthy lives but they are high spirited. and what the school needs to do is channel that energy and imagination and the risk-taking and to engage that. i'm afraid in too many schools that there are -- they are replacing a challenging this with medication. and i think that the parents should get a second or third opinion before you put your child on the drug. there could be boys who need it.
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i don't want to be dead set against it or anything. and there are children who need it. but even the majority of psychiatrists agree that it is overprescribed and one psychologist recently wrote that if you want to reduce the amount of ritalin, offer more recess. because it's known that kids can find is not good for girls and undermine their effectiveness in the classroom and it is especially bad for boys. it's bad and i think that this kind of epidemic of the prescriptions is a symptom. >> host: have 15 minutes left with our guest christina hoff sommers. please go ahead. >> caller: it's great to have her on the program. let me also say, and i know you've had a lot of families, are you there? >> host: we are listening. please go ahead.
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>> caller: he has written a lot of books that fit into this kind of shauna for me to say that i have started thinking about this and there are more men than women, he could go to alaska and you do all this work that won't do, and i really don't think that men are so detrimental to the system if you look at the statistics. >> guest: i totally agree. are men necessary? yes, they are. and if you look at the many professions, i mean, we are
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working in mines or oil rigs or cleaning windows and neither do other things as well in his look something like 90% of the patents. because i do think that there is a tendency for certain males could become focused on the little obsessive. and maybe women's brains are more balanced. and depending on these men, we have that kind of singular focus on one thing, that seems to be the source of so much creativity. i like what my friend want content once wrote that she said it is sublime male poetry. she thinks that men will does, and i think that there is a poetry that goes on. and it's not unacknowledged. all of the work has been a part of this in their other remains were women are working just as hard, but in a different way. and so i celebrate that.
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>> host: we have another e-mail, i would like to know if the trends do you see are found in other countries. >> guest: that's a very interesting question. i wrote about how i looked at other countries and what are they doing. and in england and canada and australia, they are unconflicted and trying to help the boys. they move right in at the highest level of government in england on male literacy and all sorts of resources for the teachers to help them. and they do share with us the problem of educating boys. and the british acknowledge this and they know that boys and girls don't have the same interest when it comes to reading material and boys preferred nonfiction in comic
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books and girls are more likely to read fiction and poetry and they are making an accommodation for that. they are doing it in canada and australia and for two reason come they worry about the well-being of the boys and the national economy because if you have a large cohort young people that are not succeeding educationally, that does not alter the future of your workforce and you have to pay attention because i keep reminding people who keep saying the boys will get along, they always have, no, they won't. because we have a different knowledge-based economy we need better education than they are looking and they are moving mountains in england and australia and trying to improve the educational prospects of these boys and we are at least 10 or 15 years behind. but we have to get started.
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>> host: in your book "the war against boys: how misguided policies are harming our young men", you say 60% of the athletes should be female, even if far fewer women than men are interested in playing sports at the college level. the many athletic directors have been unable to attract the same proportions to avoid government harassment and loss of funding and lawsuits and they have simply eliminated this. >> guest: yes, absolutely. and it's horrible. what we needed and going back to this, we wanted equality of opportunity and we needed to change things the way that they were done in sports. there are girls who are great athletes and it was just wrong that they didn't have the same opportunities. so we have changed that employ this opportunity is twisted into
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her personality and a backed up 60 because they have so few men. but one way to attract young man is to have a sports team that keeps them interested and get them into college. it doesn't have to be professional. it can be just where they can play and the fact is that there are far more males that are interested in females. and so why can't we just allow them to be driven in this way? and i will tell you why. because we do have a commitment to this idea that the sexes are the same. so any difference must be a manifestation of discrimination and need to rule it out and i have another idea. what if we are equal but a little different and then when it comes to certain locations,
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professions, pursuits, we take somewhat different paths. and i think we should include things, i would vastly prefer that. many women would not do that. but many men would. so we have to account for this, what people want, and that is what i have been calling for is a kind of preference humanism, probably a better word, where you can satisfy the aspirations and this path to happiness and it's not the same for everyone. it's not the same for most men and women in sports is a perfect example and they have really hurt young men. personally harmed lots of them and i think that a lot of people
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see this as mean-spirited and there were schools where they had to disband a wrestling team even though the alums would say that we would pay for them money and it was just a symbol. they wanted the parity because they seemed to have these forces. but most of us don't want to be men and we're not going to do exactly the same things. or to participate in a collegiate sport. but of course, with all due respect, i know that some of them are fantastic athletes but there just are not as many bits as saving them talking about engineering and the military and you're not going to get parity. i could be talking about things for women and you are going to get as many men now who will want to go into cosmetology.
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you find more women in these fields and a fine man. i don't think that's a problem in a free society. >> host: what about the violence against women and the legislation? you also write about that. >> guest: that is interesting because it does a lot of good things and i have -- had i been in charge, i might have called it the violence in families act. family violence is often complicated and involves children and the stomach and in that legislation, i don't know the weight carried out, but certainly in the way it was written in the time it was written, it was informed by a lot of feminists statistics that made it seem like we were facing an epidemic and the average man was a play-doh battering and every woman sort of needed
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protection and they made it seem as though the women were turning up in emergency rooms and this was a claim that i think was even part of this testimony in favor of the bill that no woman in an emergency room, car crashes and diseases combined or something like that, it was absurd and false and i've talked to several people, and it's a small percentage of people and anyway, it was reckless and that bothered me that there was misinformation and however it has gone on to do good things. does fund shelters and redundant work on educating people and violence is ndant work on educating people and violence is going down and it's still a serious problem even though it's gone down, but
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sometimes men are victims of violence as well and we know that in gay couples, levels of violence or about about the same. so it suggests that this is a pathology of intimacy, not necessarily patriarchy and to the extent that the bill represents a out-of-state feminism and i think it should be changed and as vigorous because i think that's a huge problem and we seem to have a lot -- there's a lot of optimism, but nothing compared to this with the neglect of children and the violence against children and i would have liked to have seen this be different. >> host: we have another call from ed in sacramento. >> caller: hello. first of all, belated happy thanksgiving.
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>> guest: thank you. >> caller: i would also like to thank booktv. my vote is that the show should be once a week and not once a month. my question has to do with parenting and i'm a little curious. i have some experience studying a species. part of the stereotype, i don't know to what extent it is still the case. but in order to increase accessibility, what you recommend and what you might refer to have parents promote and support expressiveness and assertiveness equally for boys and girl children. thank you. >> guest: i do not disagree with that. and i think that you should, you know, try to develop your child
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and your child should be emotionally expressive and appreciative of literature and does try to develop getting your child and construction and the child will go his or her own way and there's so much you can do and when individual wanted to play to play with the trains that it was so happy. and then he came downstairs and she was playing and she said that i'm putting it to flee. sleep. so you may try as best as you can to get your child to develop in a direction and it doesn't always work. the child knows who he or she is
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and there's only so much you can do. but i do think sometimes you have to intervene and i think that we want them to become gentlemen. so we have to influence them and direct them and i don't think that means turning them into growth and it doesn't work. they will protest. they will find ways to avoid it and it's futile to attempt that. >> host: are western feminists to accepting of islamic countries and their plight of islam? >> guest: well, it is a mix, you have some who have made calls with women's groups in the developing world. but overall, i am disappointed because i think that that should be the focus of the women's
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movement and i think overall there are some issues to be resolved and overall, we have had our feminist revolution and it was successful and now it is more or less self defining in this society. and so i have been to a number of conferences and i meet women from egypt are coming from somalia are coming from burma. and it's like meeting the susan d'antoni of that society. and this includes protection against violence for iranian women and so i think that that is the natural alliance that modern american feminists should
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have. we had to fight the scourge of slavery and it was fascism, totalitarianism, i think that it's liberating women across the developing world, where as i said, they have not had the basic liberation. but there are indigenous movements and wonderful liberation movements in these countries and they're asking for our help and i just wonder where that is. in the 1980s we have a lot of activist groups on campus who formed an alliance with the forces in south africa who were opposed to apartheid and that was a powerful movement on campus. so where is the movement on the american campus to bring down gender apartheid in the developing world? it's really not fair.
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the young woman is more likely to spend per hour and a half learning how she is a victim and at that risk and how she is held back and also harmful. because if you have that, then i think that if you have that good information, it's more like progress. in that would be forming an alliance with women across the globe. but if you have misinformation and propaganda about the american take your key, i think that that leads to this. >> host: will we see immense liberal movement? >> guest: i hope to see a humanist movement and we are in this together. if men are in trouble, fred
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astaire and ginger rogers, we are together. and we can't separate them. it's artificial and its mars versus venus and the women's group has to root for venus. and i think that we should form a movement where we are concerned for one another and that we all can forage. we are different but equal. >> guest: we've been talking with author and scholar christina hoff sommers. she has written the books "who stole feminism?: how women have betrayed women", "the war against boys: how misguided policies are harming our young men" and the new addition this year. ..
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>> next, from the 2013 gaithersburg book festival this maryland, a panel discussion on independent bookselling. >> the industry for over 20 years, and it seems for some reason or other, it is an industry is alive and well. this isn't


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