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The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men

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The author who aroused a storm of debate with Who Stole Feminism? takes sexual politics to a new level in a book that demonstrates how feminist ideals and politically correct practices are putting American boys at risk.


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The author who aroused a storm of debate with Who Stole Feminism? takes sexual politics to a new level in a book that demonstrates how feminist ideals and politically correct practices are putting American boys at risk.

30 review for The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Oh, my... So many reviewers giving this book low ratings just because Sommers is focusing on boys, as if she's not looking at the "right" group, even though she proves that girls get almost all of the attention. (A recent edition of the book replaces "feminism" with "policies" in the title, probably as a response to outcries) This book gained some notoriety after a Tumblr feminist was shown burning it into a fireplace (calling it trash) to keep warm. The fact that this important book is written Oh, my... So many reviewers giving this book low ratings just because Sommers is focusing on boys, as if she's not looking at the "right" group, even though she proves that girls get almost all of the attention. (A recent edition of the book replaces "feminism" with "policies" in the title, probably as a response to outcries) This book gained some notoriety after a Tumblr feminist was shown burning it into a fireplace (calling it trash) to keep warm. The fact that this important book is written off so easily as "patriarchal garbage" (???) just proves to me that its detractors just haven't read it. The book never attacks girls; it just tries to bring attention to problems that many boys face in the school system. And with the success gap between boys and girls getting larger and larger as the education system panders to one sex, this book desperately needs more popularity. Sommers expands on points she made in her previous book, Who Stole Feminism? another thoughtful and well-researched read. I don't agree with all of her points: she states that emotional stoicism is the way to go and that we should dissuade children from talking about their feelings; while I believe no one should teach children that feelings are more important than anything, and I don't encourage an excess of emotion, one of the reasons that the male suicide rate is so high is that males are discouraged from discussing their feelings and problems because it's not "manly." Anyone should be able to talk about their feelings if they need help. While Sommers obviously doesn't discourage that (she aims more at the assignments where the writing prompts are one long "how do you feel?" after another), I was just bothered by that. Overall, I highly recommend reading it after reading her first book. I highly doubt that the education system will make serious reforms towards egalitarian (or, as Sommers prescribes, single-sex classrooms, which are shown to be surprisingly effective) policies, but it still is an enlightening read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    It's always an eye-opener when a really good look at statistics shows some glaring errors in widely held assumptions. It's even more of an eye opener to realize that some of your own carefully held assumptions are wrong. This book, published in 2001, seems kind of political and reactionary, but that is only the fault of the title. The contents are much more revealing. Feminism is political. This should not be surprising. We see it everywhere. Some a***holes take it way too far. What we have in Ame It's always an eye-opener when a really good look at statistics shows some glaring errors in widely held assumptions. It's even more of an eye opener to realize that some of your own carefully held assumptions are wrong. This book, published in 2001, seems kind of political and reactionary, but that is only the fault of the title. The contents are much more revealing. Feminism is political. This should not be surprising. We see it everywhere. Some a***holes take it way too far. What we have in America's school systems (and probably quite a few other places as well) is a climate where we are told that girls are being held back by the patriarchy, that their voices are not being heard, and that all boys should be more like girls. No joke. I was in the school system when this was really getting started. I bought into it, myself. Even thought of myself as a feminist. Yes. I'm a white male feminist. Or, at least, I thought I should have been. I kept trying to be more feeling and thoughtful and in touch with my feelings. I valued cooperation over competition. I felt bad because I was a boy. Boys are violent. Boys are rapists. Boys the embodiment of the patriarchy that has done so much to transparently ruin women. I was indoctrinated. And I bought it, hook, line, and sinker. So what do I learn here? I went through college and got a degree in Psychology and English Literature in the mid 90's and learned a lot about education. The big keys were inclusion and tolerance and above all, making sure that women have all the benefits that had been taken from them in the past. I thought I approved of this. I also found myself not being heard. I, as a male, surrounded by hundreds of academic studies revolving around a certain Carol Gilligan, then a superstar of feminist studies and the leader of the movement to change all our schools into this bright feminist ideal, was quoted everywhere. I didn't bat an eyelash. I studied more feminists and wanted to see more equality between the sexes. I got upset with every revelation of rape, abuse, and wage differential. So, after all this time, thinking that it's only individual bad apples who like to say things like "murder all men", I held to my beliefs anyway. So what do I believe after realizing that Carol Gilligan had fudged research data, hid sources, and used a very limited several thousand student sample in her study? Remember, she was the foundation of hundreds of similar papers and books that became the forefront of a full politicized movement. A movement that transformed almost every school in the nation based on faulty data. A later study using a hundred thousand samples show a very different picture, and yet the weight of the political movement could not be stopped. What did it report? Little things like girls are twice as likely to be heard in class. That boys are much more likely to give up an not take tests like the SAT or the ACT, leaving only the very confident to take the tests, whereas girls almost always take them. That girls are more confident and self-reported happy in schools than boys. And it didn't stop there. I went to many many in-school campaigns brought up in this book. Campaigns with a clear agenda where I was told about date rape, bullying (that was always bent toward unwanted sexual advances to girls), talking about my feelings, being inclusive, and never, ever, ever violent. Remember, this is 2001 when the book came out. We were already seeing a whole generation of boys be told to be just like girls. That we should all be ashamed of what and who we are regardless of what we may or may not have ever done. I knew a lot of them that took it to heart like I did. Who bought the indoctrination. Of course, after about 12 years of this, we get a complete eroding of value systems and a complete blindfolding of the educational system as to what BOYS ARE. They respond very differently to teaching techniques as compared to girls. It's NOT all learned. They're rambunctious. They do need strict limits and precise indoctrination into values. They respond to active play much stronger than girls, learn from scuffles and a lot of competition AND form very strong and beneficial ties with other boys through it. This is real. And yet the system is devoted to wiping out all the things that most boys are, naturally. I'm speaking in general terms and ignoring outliers. And it's getting worse. It's an ideology that ignores basic reality. You know what opened my eyes back in the day? Fight Club. For how amazingly F***ed-up it was, it absolutely spoke to me on many other levels. It was the repudiation of all the indoctrination I had gone through. I still don't want to hurt anyone. I still believe in equality. But by the actual numbers and the harmful teaching practices and the direction all this is taking us, I now fully agree with the conclusion. Boys (and of course, men) are well on the way to becoming the "second sex". Just look at some of the stats in this book already and you'll see. College grads make more money, but 38% of men go in while 51% of women do. That margin has probably increased in the near 20 years since this book was published. I'd love to see how many men are severely depressed or have gone through long periods of depression, listlessness, and despair after going through the school system. I know I did. I also improved a TON after getting into college. I was surrounded by a much healthier atmosphere. I bought into the lies. I didn't realize I was being downgraded just because I was male. I wonder if a lot of this is the direct cause of some men's backlash. Anger, turned to violence, after having so many of their natural play and learning impulses quashed, being told that they were all rapists in training, that most of our natural desires were not to be channeled into appropriate directions, but told that they were simply and baldly BAD. Of course, I'm not saying that we're all unaccountable to our own actions. Of course we are. But I'll admit that I am rather angry that I have not had any positive male role models. I was brought up to be a girl. I love women. I thought that was okay. It's just a shame... this dog was taught to use the kitty-litter box and meow for affection.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Skylar Burris

    “We must put an end to all the crisis mongering,” writes Christina Hoff Sommers in a book titled THE WAR AGAINST BOYS. I’ll pause for a moment to contemplate the irony. I picked up this book after I learned from my then kindergarten daughter that the children at her school were told not to run on the playground during recess and that a male schoolmate was informed he would be sent to the principal’s office if he continued to form his finger into a gun and say, “Pow, pow, pow.” (I used to think th “We must put an end to all the crisis mongering,” writes Christina Hoff Sommers in a book titled THE WAR AGAINST BOYS. I’ll pause for a moment to contemplate the irony. I picked up this book after I learned from my then kindergarten daughter that the children at her school were told not to run on the playground during recess and that a male schoolmate was informed he would be sent to the principal’s office if he continued to form his finger into a gun and say, “Pow, pow, pow.” (I used to think these sorts of school stories were ridiculously rare exceptions, until they started coming home to me.) Sommers occasionally treats extreme examples as normative and allows some assumptions and logical fallacies to slip into an otherwise convincing argument. She clearly has an axe to grind with one particular feminist (she dedicates a good chunk of the book to tearing down the woman’s work), but many of her basic points are sound. Sommers argues that there is a “war against boys” in the American education system, that is to say, in less polemical terms, that (1) girls receive more academic attention and focus, attend college in greater numbers, and earn higher grades than boys, even while feminists claim girls are being shortchanged, (2) stereotypically masculine characteristics and behaviors (such as competitiveness, physical courage, and war play) are discouraged while boys are encouraged to exhibit more stereotypically feminine characteristics (the “feminization” of boys), and (3) the pedagological methods employed and materials used favor girls over boys. As a solution to this problem, Sommers proposes that boys be taught in an all-male classical school environment, with an emphasis on drilling, high standards, strict discipline, competition, moral/character education, and more boy-centric reading materials. I agree with her basic points, and I think her proposed solution has potential, although I am ambivalent about the gender-segregation component, because I think gender-segregation has many benefits as well as many disadvantages. (Personally, I’m glad my education was co-ed.) Despite my general agreement with her arguments, I was bothered by the way she seemed to make everything into an attack on boys. For example, she notes that there is a gender literacy gap between boys and girls: girls are typically a year or more ahead in reading level, and girls read more often for pleasure than boys. This, she suggests, is because of the evil feminist attempt to “feminize” our boys. Yet, when it comes to the math/science gap between girls and boys, she simply puts that down to gender differences. She doesn’t understand why feminists get so worked up trying to close this gap, trying to make girls, on average, equal boys in math/science performance. Even though she admits that research shows women excel more than men in verbal areas, she doesn’t seem to consider that this, and not a “war on boys”, may possibly account for much of the literacy gap. Boys are shown to improve their literacy greatly in an all-male classical school environment with strict standards. But I imagine girls would too. Schools are short changing our kids, yes, but it isn’t just our boys. Give them both classical educations, and they’d both probably pull ahead in many subjects, but would the gender gaps in literacy and in math/science close dramatically? Probably not. Even assigning Jane Eyre as required reading is part of the “war on boys,” because wouldn’t it be better if they assigned works of more interest to boys? Well, yes, boys will more likely read works of more interest to them, but the girls in my school suffered through Mutiny on the Bounty, so why can’t the boys suffer through Jane Eyre? A liberal education does not consist of being exposed ONLY to what interests you. I get the impression that Sommers wants me to be worked up over a boy who is expelled from a private school (a *private* school, no doubt with a strict code of conduct that the student signed) for saying sexually crude things and making crude gestures to a girl. Sorry. I don’t see that as part of the “war on boys.” I see it as a rare insistence on the complete unacceptability of crude behavior. Unfortunately, many conservatives of today say, “Boys will be boys” where conservatives of yesteryear probably would have said, “Where is his sense of honor?!” Further evidence of the “war on boys”: girls earn higher grades and go to college in greater numbers. Now, there are all sorts of reasons boys may be academically underperforming girls that have nothing whatsoever to do with feminist efforts to feminize boys. But Sommers does not seriously explore or convincingly refute these alternative explanations. Nor does she ask whether boys are, in the long-term, truly shortchanged , compared to girls, by this academic underperformance. Are women now earning more income, on average, over a lifetime, than men? Are they making more revolutionary innovations in medicine, business, and technology than men? Do they hold more political offices? She does not address such questions, to which, I’m pretty sure, the answer is no. Indeed, she acts very like the feminists she chastises, decrying a sexist war on boys the same way they decry a sexist war on girls, without adequate consideration of the myriad reasons why people do not always excel. As an example of her assumption-based logic, she mentions that (A) girls are called on in class much more often than boys, and that (B) boys are much less educationally interested and focused than girls. She assumes that (A) causes (B), but isn’t it just as likely that (B) causes (A)? While I am not in favor of “feminizing” boys, I am in favor of "civilizing" children, boys among them. Feminization seeks to suppresses male nature; civilization, much less ambitiously, merely seeks to channel it. But civilizing boys requires lauding and grooming stereotypically masculine virtues, such as honor, chivalry, and courage. It also requires girls to exert pressures on boys by practicing stereotypically feminine virtues such as chastity and modesty. And gender stereotypes are never popular with feminists. Thus we insist that gender differences are social constructs and try to “remake” masculinity. The result of this experiment, Sommers argues, has not been beneficial for boys. I’d argue that it hasn’t been beneficial for girls either.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    I'm a woman. As such, I'd like true equality between the sexes. However, I despise most feminism, at least the more modern variety. Most is militant and entirely illogical in its maniacal desire to bring disadvantage to men as a form of revenge. So while I want women to have the same opportunities as men, I want to see them work for those just as hard as said men. I don't want any favours and gifts. Women should only be allowed to work certain jobs if they are indeed equally qualified (sadly, th I'm a woman. As such, I'd like true equality between the sexes. However, I despise most feminism, at least the more modern variety. Most is militant and entirely illogical in its maniacal desire to bring disadvantage to men as a form of revenge. So while I want women to have the same opportunities as men, I want to see them work for those just as hard as said men. I don't want any favours and gifts. Women should only be allowed to work certain jobs if they are indeed equally qualified (sadly, the reality is that special rules are usually put in place for women and quotas are enforced in many countries even). And I see nothing wrong if a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mom instead of a career machine if she and her partner can afford it. I therefore often have a problem with people's assumption that girls have it tougher in school and need special coddling. And yes, I often have been attacked for my belief. The problem is this: either girls/women are as tough as boys/men or they need special protection. Take your pick. It's either or, not both. Are there horrible male assholes out there? Absolutely. Are there horrible female assholes out there? Absolutely. Is there sexual violence against girls/women? Unfortunately. Are the numbers of sexual violence against boys/men either as high or almost (and having a much higher dark figure)? You bet. None of this is to say that there isn't injustice in the world. But what I'm saying and what the statistics presented by this author prove is that many assumptions in the world are blatantly wrong. And the author makes a wonderful argument about the misguidedness and toxicity of today's feminism. It's always been political but nowadays it's even more of a tool. Men - good men - are silenced because of their gender alone. If you don't believe me, look at Matt Damon vs Minnie Driver. There are countless such examples out there in the entertainment industry alone. And if you're shocked at how bad it is between adults, you are in for an even nastier surprise when looking at the children. This book greatly shows how the US (and I can attest to it being the same in other school systems) enforces the image of girls being held back in school due to the big bad patriarchy. The problem? It's bullshit. Girls can read earlier than boys, grasp concepts faster. Yes, often boys are more competitive, but when has competitiveness become a bad thing??? Without competitiveness, humans wouldn't have become the dominant species on this planet. Leaps in science (often thanks to women by the way) wouldn't have been possible without competitiveness either. And a competitive boy isn't automatically going to grow up into a rapist. There is no such thing as "toxic masculinity". There is toxic indoctrination, yes, but that's different. This is some of the worst socio-political propaganda out there. This book shows many research papers that have been published. Some names will sound familiar, others won't. In the end, it hardly matters. What matters is that data has often been manipulated (for example by willfully hiding sources) so as to show what the respective person wanted it to show (like the teenage suicide rates). Here's the truth every normal thinking person knows: every kid needs guidance. And yes, boys and girls are indeed slightly different - from biological differences to responding better or worse to certain teaching techniques. Is any of that bad? Of course not! We need to stop categorizing genders as if they were different races and thus promote true equality. Because what we are seeing at the moment is people teaching boys that they are bad and bound to become rapists and that they should therefore not only not being heard but not even having an opinion in the first place. Can you imagine what that does to a child (to adults, too, of course, but children are even more vulnerable)? And while we're at it: doing "boyish" things like climbing trees or competing physically against others is also nothing bad. It's not all about empathy and cooperation, sometimes we need that little boost ahead of the crowd. If you don't believe me, check history books and/or books about human evolution. Boys are not the root of all that is going wrong in the world. I'm glad I coincidentally found out about this author. Her writing is crisp and clear and on point and the fact that I'm not the only woman looking in horror and disgust at what is happening to innocent male children does indeed give me hope that we can come away from this nonsense again. Moreover, her statistics did hold up to scrutiny which is much more than I can say for many others (some of which are talked about in this book). This has definitely not been the last book I've read of hers.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    This teacher comments: One of the best non-fiction books I've read all year! I graduated from Indiana University in 1990 - just as the 'girls are fragile' movement was gaining momentum. I was taught the 'facts' that Sommers refers to in numerous in-services (for all of you non-teachers, many teacher in-services are attempts at teacher training in which a speaker comes and entertains or horrifies us with a speech that usually has little or no practical value - when I taught in the inner city it wa This teacher comments: One of the best non-fiction books I've read all year! I graduated from Indiana University in 1990 - just as the 'girls are fragile' movement was gaining momentum. I was taught the 'facts' that Sommers refers to in numerous in-services (for all of you non-teachers, many teacher in-services are attempts at teacher training in which a speaker comes and entertains or horrifies us with a speech that usually has little or no practical value - when I taught in the inner city it was usually the horrifying type: "these kids are all failing and blah-blah percent of them will end up dead or in jail and it's all because you didn't teach them how to multiply fractions or diagram a sentence correctly!"). Anyway, I did buy into some of the stuff about girls being fragile and being overrun in the classroom. I have heard the statistics Sommers skewers so completely and thoroughly and I swallowed many of them hook, line and sinker because it was early in my career and as a young person I foolishly believed that if a Harvard PhD researched the facts they must be right. As a more jaded professional, I appreciate Sommers' meticulously endnoted work. In The War Against Boys she embarrasses the 'fragile girl' theorists by burying their under-researched (and sometimes un-researched) theories in a blizzard of relavent studies and facts from responsible and trusted sources (for example, I've had the '4 million women die from physical abuse from a man' stat thrown at me in a diversity seminar. Yes, verbally thrown at me - as if I were the man who personally beat them all to death! Well, if it happens again, I'm armed with the REAL facts from the Centers for Disease Control, thanks to Sommers). Sommers overwhelmingly makes the point that our 'touchy-feely' self-esteem oriented schools are a great big turn-off to most of the boys. (in my experience as a high school teacher, the girls don't buy into it much either). Schools are not designed for most boys, especially as we take away physical activities and recesses. Male boisterousness is seen as wrong - a mental disorder and/or a sign of ADHD. Boys have to be medicated specifically for their built-in attributes that they possess as boys... Read more at: http://dwdsreviews.blogspot.com/2011/...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    It was clear to me from several years of volunteering in my son's elementary school that girls and boys are simply and clearly different. Yet the director of the literacy program at the Redwood City Library insisted to me—expressing a belief that too many people have—that boys are girls are identical in every way, and any perceived differences are strictly the result of biased socialization by adults. WRONG. Boys are not "defective girls" and treating them as if they were will only harm them. I It was clear to me from several years of volunteering in my son's elementary school that girls and boys are simply and clearly different. Yet the director of the literacy program at the Redwood City Library insisted to me—expressing a belief that too many people have—that boys are girls are identical in every way, and any perceived differences are strictly the result of biased socialization by adults. WRONG. Boys are not "defective girls" and treating them as if they were will only harm them. I was impressed by the research Sommers did and by her bravery in rebutting things that "everyone knows," especially ideas promoted by organizations with an agenda (like NOW) and a shallow media that just wants a quick, provocative headline. I recommend this book to anyone with children. It will make you reconsider assumptions you might have about boys, girls, education, society, fairness, and appreciating differences.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Dr. Sommers has some valid and important points in this book, but she falls prey to some of the same weaknesses she accuses those terrible-awful-horrible feminists of. As another reviewer pointed out, she calls for an end to crisis-mongering - in a book called The War against Boys. Hmmm...crisis-monger much? And she frequently lambastes feminists for painting with a broad brush and assuming all boys or girls are (fill-in-the-blank) while doing some fairly thorough stereotyping and "broad-brushin Dr. Sommers has some valid and important points in this book, but she falls prey to some of the same weaknesses she accuses those terrible-awful-horrible feminists of. As another reviewer pointed out, she calls for an end to crisis-mongering - in a book called The War against Boys. Hmmm...crisis-monger much? And she frequently lambastes feminists for painting with a broad brush and assuming all boys or girls are (fill-in-the-blank) while doing some fairly thorough stereotyping and "broad-brushing" of her own of boys, girls, feminists, and others. Now, being the mother of three boys (ages 9, almost-6, and almost-3), I am enormously concerned about their education. In fact, just this morning, with more than a little trepidation, I sent two of them off on the school bus to start 4th grade and kindergarten. But I think the problem is more a wholesale failure of the public education system to see children as individuals, rather than a targeted "war" against either sex. Yes, the average male child has better spatial relations, is more aggressive and less "in touch with his feelings" than the average female child, but the average child is a composite that simply doesn't exist. For example, Ms. Sommers states that boys do better in a competitive classroom environment and decries the shift away from competition to make classrooms more "girl-friendly." Well, competition is actually the worst possible educational technique to use with my nine-year-old son. It's a crushing de-motivator for him. But when I was in school, I thrived on competition and loved coming out "on top of the heap." Please, oh please, oh please, look at children as individuals, not as a perfect "average" specimen of their sex. I appreciate the neat holes Dr. Sommers punches in the "studies" that have been used to bolster the false idea that girls are uniquely susceptible to the trials of adolescence. I have absolutely no patience for intellectual dishonesty or politics masquerading as science, but that's certainly not limited to this area of politics or science. Some of Dr. Sommers's proposals are spot-on. I'd love a move back to more classical education, for example. And of course, all children need to be held accountable for following clear, unequivocal, moral rules. I just wish that she could have toned down the inflammatory language, the snippy digs at feminists, and the overgeneralizing by gender so that the essential information in her book could have shown through better. Still, an important read, especially for parents and educators of boys. For more book reviews, come visit my blog, Build Enough Bookshelves.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dolly Wright

    This well researched and enlightening book is an important book for debunking the myths and bad science surrounding the notion that we need to raise boys more like girls. The author clearly points out the importance of the reality of gender differences and respect to biological fundamental truths vs. a need to merely presume that in order to be progressive, we must alter the way we raise boys. I love the evidence based writing that this book adheres to!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    Is it really a 5 star book, maybe not but I found it refreshing to read a book that didn't feel so extreme, from either a conservative or liberal point of view on feminism. Though I imagine there would be some disagreement about that. This book reminds me that maybe we are failing boys when I'm surprised at finding a polite one or when a young man holds the door for me, or when a little boy is well behaved at a restaurant. Why should these things be out of the ordinary? When did it become a bad Is it really a 5 star book, maybe not but I found it refreshing to read a book that didn't feel so extreme, from either a conservative or liberal point of view on feminism. Though I imagine there would be some disagreement about that. This book reminds me that maybe we are failing boys when I'm surprised at finding a polite one or when a young man holds the door for me, or when a little boy is well behaved at a restaurant. Why should these things be out of the ordinary? When did it become a bad thing to instill these values. I personally think it's pretty obvious that girls are outdoing boys in the academic world, yes, yes, maybe not in the STEM disciplines but far surpassing boys in most of the others. Absolutely, I think it's important to educate girls in the choices they have, that a career in science or getting into a trade would be a great idea, that they pay more, that they offer opportunity and variation and interest. Though from a personal perspective, I can't say as I'd be thrilled to go find a job working out in the rain and the mud or one where I had to work 80 hours a week (that being said, I do work in a very male dominated field, because this was where my interests lay, and I'm thrilled that I'm able to do that in this day and age.) But I think it's also imperative that we train young men for the future as well, we need them to be as interested in higher education as girls because we're going to need that for even basic jobs. Even working as McDonald's isn't as simple as it used to be; the menu is large, the speed has increased and you have to know how to use a computer. I think it's important that we focus on the entire population and not leave anyone out. If that means we have to come up with a better solution, then we better do that, because technology is only getting more pervasive and all of us need to keep up.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    In the end, the real assault has not been upon women and girls, but upon boys, feminising them, generally calming them down, all motivated by a downer on masculinity. The anti-sport, anti-competitive, anti-violence, effeminisation of boys has been perpetrated through the media and especially child psychology and educational philosophy. There is a pile of data, evidence and statistics here, and Sommers does a good, detailed job of debunking the anti-man crowd. Boys need male leadership models , h In the end, the real assault has not been upon women and girls, but upon boys, feminising them, generally calming them down, all motivated by a downer on masculinity. The anti-sport, anti-competitive, anti-violence, effeminisation of boys has been perpetrated through the media and especially child psychology and educational philosophy. There is a pile of data, evidence and statistics here, and Sommers does a good, detailed job of debunking the anti-man crowd. Boys need male leadership models , hard work, discipline and structure. But we knew that...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Karmel

    This book was written in 2000 by someone who works at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. As far as I can tell, this was part of a successful campaign by AEI to kill funding for the Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA, 20 USC §§ 7283-7283g), which among other things authorizes grants to promote gender equity in schools. WEEA received funding in the federal budget from 1976 to 2010, with a high of $10 million in 1980. The funding dwindled steadil This book was written in 2000 by someone who works at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. As far as I can tell, this was part of a successful campaign by AEI to kill funding for the Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA, 20 USC §§ 7283-7283g), which among other things authorizes grants to promote gender equity in schools. WEEA received funding in the federal budget from 1976 to 2010, with a high of $10 million in 1980. The funding dwindled steadily every year and leveled off to about $2 million per year in the 1990s. In 2003, the Bush Administration stopped funding the WEEA Equity Resource Center, and since 2010 the Department of Education has not funded any WEEA program grants. The President’s budgets no longer request funds for WEEA. Thus, the campaign to kill funding for WEEA has been a success. After reading this book, I agree that the way this program was implemented was a waste of taxpayer money. This book contains some good reporting exposing the way that some of the grant-funded programs were not evidence-based. This book doesn't agree that the educational system needs to do more for girls. In 1992, "How Schools Shortchange Girls" was published. This was "A Study of Major Findings on Girls and Education" commissioned by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and researched by what is now called The Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College. This "study" concluded that our educational system was shortchanging girls, and more action was needed to correct the inequity. The author of this book takes issue with the findings of this study as well as its authors. The book takes aim at The WEEA Equity Resource Center in Newton, Massachusetts, run by Katherine Hanson, which was funded through a contract from the WEEA Program Office at the United States Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Its 5 year federal contract ended in February 2003. The author also didn't like Take Our Daughters To Work Day, so I would say this book was part of the impetus to change it in 2003 to Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. According to this book the materials produced by the WEEA Equity Resource Center with federal grant funds were heavily influenced by the work of Carol Gilligan while she was at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Gilligan wrote the book In a Different Voice, published by Harvard University Press. She got a Heinz Award in the category "human condition." I was convinced by this book that Gilligan's hypothesis that girl's lose their "voice" after Middle School really hasn't been validated by any data. This book also doesn't agree that boys and girls should be treated the same. She takes issue with the Ms. Foundation and Gloria Steinem who is known for saying "We badly need to raise our boys more like our girls." "Creating Sex-Fair Family Day Care," by Bonnie Raines, was another WEEA Equity Resource Center "equity in education" resource. It encourages boys to play with dolls. The book Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood, by William Pollack (1998) also saw it as problematic to encourage boys to be "masculine." The author thinks it's stupid and contrary to biology to try to raise boys as if they were girls. It certainly should not be the basis for educational policy. The arguments that boys and girls should be treated the same also play out in the courts. The Supreme Court case United States v Virginia struck down the male-only admission policy of the Virginia Military Institute in 1996. Gloria Allred represented the plaintiff in Yeaw v Boy Scouts of America, in which the plaintiff claimed it was illegal for the Boy Scouts not to allow girls. In 1998, the California Supreme Court said girls had no right to be in the Boy Scouts. The author of this book is in favor of allowing boys to be educated in boys-only environments, and she believes traditional teacher-centered education with firm rules and strict discipline and high academic and code of conduct expectations are better for boys. The movement towards child-centered classrooms where students are taught to express their feelings and opinions and work together hurts boys. In general, the author opposes the educational effort to boost student self-esteem. Rather, she thinks schools should teach character. The author also takes issue with the sexual harassment education in schools. The publication "Quit It!" is still available on the Wellesley Centers for Women website, so presumably some schools still use it. The author thinks it and other similar educational materials go overboard in the "zero tolerance" policy for boys' touching girls or hitting on them. In the case Davis v Monroe County Board of Education, the Supreme Court held that a student can sue under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (under which students must not be denied access to educational benefits and opportunities on the basis of gender) for severe and pervasive student-on-student sexual harassment, where the school is deliberately indifferent and has actual knowledge. The author thinks this case was decided wrong. Finally, the author thinks schools have become too permissive and don't foster moral education. In the case Tinker v Des Moines Independent Community School District, the Supreme Court held that a student had a First Amendment right to wear an armband indicating opposition to the Vietnam War. The author thinks this was the beginning of the end for discipline and morality in public schools. I think this book starts out being about how certain "feminists" have been influential in creating educational policies in certain schools that at best are just politically correct hooey, and at worse actually have a negative impact on boys. But then the book lapses into a kind of general attack on the influence of progressive liberalism in the schools. I agree that boys have a lot of issues in schools these days, but I was not at all convinced that this is the fault of "feminists." The feminists in this book are not necessarily representative of feminists in general and are really not all that influential in the big scheme of things. And a lot of the stuff the author opposes I would perhaps characterize as politically correct bullshit, but I wouldn't characterize it as "feminism." Clearly, the Supreme Court is not "feminist." One thing I agree with in the book is that people who believe that boys need to be more "empathetic" in many cases themselves lack empathy for boys. There is nothing wrong with non-emotional, philosophically-based ideas of justice that guide the way men act. Boys should not be told that it is not good enough to do the right thing, because they are feeling the "wrong" emotions. Education should focus on what kids do, not how they feel. Overall, I thought this was a thought-provoking book, although I doubt I share the author's political views.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    My husband would talk about hearing Christina Hoff Sommers on podcasts, and based on what he said, I always thought of her as the mouthpiece of the right. I'm oriented pretty left. So I expected to hate this book. Actually, I liked it. Sure, it has a provocative title (revised from its first publication in 2000); to be fair, so do lots of books, including Hanna Rosin's The End of Men. Sommers's thesis is that special-interest groups like the National Women's Law Center and the AAUW, what she call My husband would talk about hearing Christina Hoff Sommers on podcasts, and based on what he said, I always thought of her as the mouthpiece of the right. I'm oriented pretty left. So I expected to hate this book. Actually, I liked it. Sure, it has a provocative title (revised from its first publication in 2000); to be fair, so do lots of books, including Hanna Rosin's The End of Men. Sommers's thesis is that special-interest groups like the National Women's Law Center and the AAUW, what she calls the "women's lobby," have used skewed and unreliable research to bring about polices that are hostile to boys' development. My first response was "Boo, hoo"--but listen up. Sommers asserts that there are innate gender differences--an unpopular opinion, but one which I have firmly believed since reading Steven Pinker, an intellectual whom I admire (and who certainly is aligned left). The most compelling evidence for innate gender differences is probably the effect of prenatal hormone exposure on the fetus. She cites research out of Vancouver in which hormonal manipulation in fetal rhesus monkeys was shown to reverse sex-typed behavior. (I think hormones are the key to variation in sexuality, too.) Anyway, her complaint is that normal boy behavior is being seen as undesirable, and boys are being forcibly "resocialized" (for example, teachers intervene and redirect their natural "rough and tumble" play, even if all are participating happily and no one is getting hurt). "Different," she argues, doesn't necessarily mean "inferior," and healthy masculinity is not the same as pathological masculinity (or "hypermasculinity," which involves antisocial behavior, violent aggression, and exploitation of women). Sommers spends much of the book debunking the research that has guided our policy over the last two decades. She criticizes that of Carol Gilligan, whose claims caused panic over teenage girls' plummeting self-esteem, and later, over "the emotionally repressed boy." Most boys are perfectly normal emotionally, if a bit reticent, Sommers argues. Her argument didn't seem altogether convincing to me, but then I wondered if that myth of "the emotionally repressed boy" is something I've taken for granted for so long that now I'm placing the burden of proof on the other side ("Prove to me that boys AREN'T emotionally repressed!"). She profiles some deviants--school shooters and such--and points out that these "sociopaths" don't represent all boys. "The worst-case sociopathic males become instant metaphors for everyone's sons," she contends, and the "false and corrosive doctrine that equates masculinity with violence" lives on. But wait-- aren't most violent crimes committed by males? Sommers acknowledges that boys need more discipline, structure, and authority in their lives than girls, to tame their "asocial, egoistic impulses," but she argues that rather than attempting to "resocialize" them to be more feminine, which clearly isn't working, we simply provide all students, male and female, with a moral education. The research is mixed on these programs, and as a teacher, my experience with them is limited, but her argument is strong nonetheless--the evidence indicates that it's not necessarily "toxic masculinity" that causes violence, but a lack of morals. As a reader, I'd really like more from her on what differentiates "normal" masculinity from "toxic" masculinity. Further, Sommers presents strong evidence in favor of single-sex education for boys, but says that single-sex programs are under assault from the ACLU (even though parents place their kids in these programs by choice). Hybrid academic/vocational high schools, like Aviation High School in New York, have had demonstrated success with boys, but are under fire (even though girls can, and do, attend there). The recommendations she cites for effective education for boys include a highly structured environment with more teacher-led activities, high expectations, consistently applied consequences, reading material that boys find engaging, and male role models, among others. I highly recommend this book, although I can't speak for Sommers's other work. I also like Diane Ravitch and Charles Sykes on education.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    I really tried to like it; I really did. The problem is that Sommers doesn't really present a strong, persuasive case that is needed for this kind of book. She makes a lot of good points, and these points do make for some "aha" moments, but there's nothing that really puts you on her side. She has quite a bit of literary evidence and sees the faults that feminists and young girl advocates have, but doesn't ever actually make the true case for boys. So i'm still feeling that it actually is girls I really tried to like it; I really did. The problem is that Sommers doesn't really present a strong, persuasive case that is needed for this kind of book. She makes a lot of good points, and these points do make for some "aha" moments, but there's nothing that really puts you on her side. She has quite a bit of literary evidence and sees the faults that feminists and young girl advocates have, but doesn't ever actually make the true case for boys. So i'm still feeling that it actually is girls who are shortchanged in America in the areas of education, societal expectations, etc. Books like Reviving Ophelia present a much better case than this book does. But it's not awful. I've read much, much worse.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Absolutely spectacular work of journalism that goes beyond getting all of the facts right to restating some of the most basic truths of the human experience. The only criticism I would make is that not all of her ideas are new, in fact in 1981 as a high school senior I read an essay called "Screwtape Proposes A Toast" by C.S. Lewis that makes almost all the same arguments with equal force and clarity. I was especially pleased to see Barnard bully Mary Gordon get hers on the last page. Absolutely spectacular work of journalism that goes beyond getting all of the facts right to restating some of the most basic truths of the human experience. The only criticism I would make is that not all of her ideas are new, in fact in 1981 as a high school senior I read an essay called "Screwtape Proposes A Toast" by C.S. Lewis that makes almost all the same arguments with equal force and clarity. I was especially pleased to see Barnard bully Mary Gordon get hers on the last page.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Overall, a good introduction to this social conversation -- a good place to start, to get you thinking, but it's not comprehensive. There's lots of statistics and citations, but it's relatively short. She gets a little snarky and sarcastic at times. But read it honestly, with an open mind, and it's worth it. Overall, a good introduction to this social conversation -- a good place to start, to get you thinking, but it's not comprehensive. There's lots of statistics and citations, but it's relatively short. She gets a little snarky and sarcastic at times. But read it honestly, with an open mind, and it's worth it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Before he had been silenced by angry feminists, Warren Farrell, a leader of the men’s rights movement, has wanted to address the issues of boys failing in school and committing suicide to the audience of the University of Toronto. While most of those feminists probably wouldn’t give him so much as the time of the day, there are a few feminists willing to address said issues, one of them being Christina Hoff Sommers. Now, Sommers is unlike any other feminist I’ve actually seen. One of her most fam Before he had been silenced by angry feminists, Warren Farrell, a leader of the men’s rights movement, has wanted to address the issues of boys failing in school and committing suicide to the audience of the University of Toronto. While most of those feminists probably wouldn’t give him so much as the time of the day, there are a few feminists willing to address said issues, one of them being Christina Hoff Sommers. Now, Sommers is unlike any other feminist I’ve actually seen. One of her most famous books, Who Stole Feminism?, is, like the title suggests, a criticism of her own movement. In it, she differs between what she identifies as gender feminism and equity feminism. Many feminists such as Michael Kimmel openly use the feminism platform to demonize men while claiming to help while others such as Lindy West just bring up men’s issues to give herself a pat on the back. Tumblr feminists just say "check your privilege" and "male tears." However, Christina Hoff Sommers is a refreshing voice in the feminist movement. She is willing to recognize misguided feminism and is able to take a more neutral stance to it rather than using it to demonize feminists or brush the wrongdoings underneath the rug. Many statistics show a growing increase in the decline of boys within our school systems. By the time one reaches college, it’s quite easy to see that girls have a much easier time making it to college as opposed to boys. Personally, I have seen several of my male friends drop out or lose interest in school. I’m rather glad that I didn’t go down that path. While a “war” on boys sounds way too dramatic, Christina Hoff Sommers does address the ways that feminists and schools have managed to hurt boys more than help them. She talks in quite a bit of detail of how seventh-grade boys are told that they’ll grow up to be abusers or rapists and that programs that seek to rectify abusive behavior in men may harm them more than help them. She recognizes that children are not in need of gender politics, but rather protection from school bullies. One main criticism Sommers has of several mainstream feminist initiatives is that many of them have been focused on re-socializing boys and trying to make them more feminine. Some feminists, such as Gloria Allred, are unwilling to acknowledge that male and female brains may be different from one another. Such is evidenced in a study Sommers cites. When girls play with dolls, they dress them up and kiss them. When boys play with dolls, they launch the carriages from a toy catapult. While Sommers says this is just an innate difference in boys and girls, Allred argues that this is a clear need for re-socialization. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There have been many initiatives, as Sommers describes, that have been used to try and “fix” young boys by making them feminine. The book, overall, is a well-written and informative one. I will admit, however, that is does have its dull passages and I wasn’t too entirely thrilled with the work as a whole, but I do find Sommers to be intelligent and worth reading. On a side note, many of these writings are based on Sommers’ personal experiences with other feminists. Many of them involve people she has talked to or conferences she has attended. Even within those circles, she was criticized for simply not sharing the same opinion as her sisters. But that is what I like about Christina Hoff Sommers. She is a feminist willing to oppose things said by Gloria Steinem, Carol Gilligan or Jackson Katz. She is willing to recognize false statistics and misleading information as well. Her feminism seems to be a lot more in line with the likes of women such as Camille Paglia and Janice Fiamengo as opposed to the Jezebel variety. I will be looking forward to reading more of her work sometime in the future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marshall

    An interesting and mildly persuasive book about how young boys are quickly becoming disenfranchized in American society, particularly in the school system. By almost every metric, girls have pulled ahead of boys in recent years. This is something feminists decades ago only dreamed of, and yet now they seem more determined than ever on portraying girls as the ones at risk. How did we get here, and what could be the consequences of this rapidly dwindling success rate of American boys? I loved Somme An interesting and mildly persuasive book about how young boys are quickly becoming disenfranchized in American society, particularly in the school system. By almost every metric, girls have pulled ahead of boys in recent years. This is something feminists decades ago only dreamed of, and yet now they seem more determined than ever on portraying girls as the ones at risk. How did we get here, and what could be the consequences of this rapidly dwindling success rate of American boys? I loved Sommers' book Who Stole Feminism, and hoped this would constitute a sequel. In this regard I wasn't disappointed. Her superpower is her relentless research and truth-seeking, exposing myths and calling out misplaced ideology. She's in full stride in this book, and I loved every minute of it, though not as much as Who Stole Feminism. It's a bit too conservative for my taste. I particularly don't like how she portrays children as savages in chapter 8. While she makes good points, and children do need guidance, I still believe their rights and autonomy are not negotiable. Another gripe I have with this book is its title. I hate how popular it is for anyone who wants to make some kind of political point to hyperbolically call everything "wars" on things. In wars, people die. They lose limbs and if they're lucky enough to come home, many of them live with PTSD. That's what war is. Stop calling everything you don't like wars. I also found the case she made for innate differences between boys and girls to be lacking. She seemed to misrepresent the case that all psychological differences are socially constructed. And she clearly doesn't know enough about biology or psychology to make a strong case. I can't imagine anyone who doesn't already agree with her changing their mind by reading this book. However, I hope they take more seriously the risks to society in case they're wrong. If boys and girls really are different, how could it not be considered bullying to try to force them to be someone they're not? And what will happen to these boys who don't get the education they need to be effective and ethical men? The best summary of this book is the first page of the last chapter: "There have always been societies that favored boys over girls. Ours may be the first to deliberately throw the gender switch. If we continue on our present course, boys will be tomorrow's second sex. "The preeminence of girls is gratifying to those who believe that, even now, many girls are silenced and diminshed. At long last, it is boys who are learning what it is like to be 'the other sex.' Recall Peggy Orenstein's approval of a women-centered classroom, whose walls were filled with pictures and celebrations of women, with men conspiculously absent: 'Perhaps for the first time, the boys are the ones looking in through the window.' "But reversing the positions of the sexes in an unfair system should be no one's idea of justice. A lopsided educational system in which boys--finally--are on the outside looking in is inherently unjust and socially divisive. The public has given no one a mandate to pursue a policy of priviliging girls. Nor is anyone (outside exotic gender equity circles) demanding that boys be resocialized away from their boyishness."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Colesberry

    A good friend recently completed a documentary called A Game about the crisis in the education of African-American boys, who are outnumbered 10 to 1 in colleges by African-American women. But the American school system has not just failed African-American boys, it has failed boys in general and Sommers gives us several hints about why. The feminization of education is a well-studied topic, but there's no political incentive to do anything about it. This is required reading for anyone who wants t A good friend recently completed a documentary called A Game about the crisis in the education of African-American boys, who are outnumbered 10 to 1 in colleges by African-American women. But the American school system has not just failed African-American boys, it has failed boys in general and Sommers gives us several hints about why. The feminization of education is a well-studied topic, but there's no political incentive to do anything about it. This is required reading for anyone who wants to know about education and what it's not doing for our future.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ammie

    A very good presentation that challenges contemporary notions about 'hapless girls' and 'rapey boys'. In a current atmosphere where anything that could possibly be construed as not "pro-woman" is falsely equated to being an apologist, this book is a very refreshing read. The points are relatively banally made with nearly 20 pages of references to peer-reviewed studies. It provides quite a different point of view from the feminist propaganda of the 90s/2000s. A very good presentation that challenges contemporary notions about 'hapless girls' and 'rapey boys'. In a current atmosphere where anything that could possibly be construed as not "pro-woman" is falsely equated to being an apologist, this book is a very refreshing read. The points are relatively banally made with nearly 20 pages of references to peer-reviewed studies. It provides quite a different point of view from the feminist propaganda of the 90s/2000s.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dimitar

    This book is an eye-opener about the anti-male environment at schools in the United States. For example, playing with gun toys, even when those "toys" are boys' own fingers, is considered worthy of suspension or some other form of disciplinary action. The author correctly points out that both extremities - "zero-tolerance" policies and "self-esteem" teachings - are harmful to the development of every child, and that it has a disproportionately negative impact on boys. Contrary to progressive bel This book is an eye-opener about the anti-male environment at schools in the United States. For example, playing with gun toys, even when those "toys" are boys' own fingers, is considered worthy of suspension or some other form of disciplinary action. The author correctly points out that both extremities - "zero-tolerance" policies and "self-esteem" teachings - are harmful to the development of every child, and that it has a disproportionately negative impact on boys. Contrary to progressive believes that children should discover themselves and celebrate each other, children are vulnerable and uneducated, and they first need educators to build up their educational background before children go to a chemistry lab and, as I will paraphrase here, 'mix their own concoctions', as Dr. Sommers correctly made a note of at the end of her book. The U.S. society could really do a better job at educating their children to become model citizens. Dr. Sommers is right on the money when she added discussion about how boys are starting to lag behind academically, yet most of the feminist society keeps pushing for pro-female approach on education disregarding boys' needs, yet boys also lack lobbyists who would take their side unlike what has apparently happened in Great Britain and Australia. One of the few discussions that I did not like in the book was the inclusion of psychiatric studies. An example is the discussion about behavior disorders - developing behavior that is not in accordance with society's norms and values (all is paraphrased). There is a lot more to that discussion, not to mention that the so called disorders are, for the most part, made up by the so called psychiatrists. I can give two examples to substantiate my point (my point being that nowadays we still know too little about mental health in order to give those scientific studies too much credit; also, there is a growing concern that disorders like ADD/ADHD are in fact not real and possibly made up): 1. Up until not long ago, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder. Nowadays, it is no longer considered a mental disorder. 2. Yesterday, the BBC and the South China Morning Post reported on a Nigerian man, Mubarak Bala from the state of Kano, who is being held at a mental health institution because he told his relatives he was an atheist. Two doctors were consulted - one said the man was fine, the other diagnosed his "condition" as a "personality change". This is the URL: http://www.scmp.com/news/world/articl... That remark though is no reason for me to give the book less than all five stars that I believe it really deserves.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David

    The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men by Christina Hoff Sommers tackles a subject that has been hands off for most writers because of political correctness and uses facts and statistics to form her arguments. In order to help girls who had been neglected by the education system for decades, policies were created to even things out and actually give some advantages to help girls excel and break into some fields where they had not been in much before. The results ha The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men by Christina Hoff Sommers tackles a subject that has been hands off for most writers because of political correctness and uses facts and statistics to form her arguments. In order to help girls who had been neglected by the education system for decades, policies were created to even things out and actually give some advantages to help girls excel and break into some fields where they had not been in much before. The results have been phenomenal as girls began to equal and then exceed the number of college degrees, including graduate degrees, that boys had dominated historically. The author argues that this was a dramatic turn around that was sorely needed for our female population who took the opportunities and ran with them. But she also points out that once this was accomplished, the performance of boys in the education system actually declined as teachers and administrators tried to get boys to be more like girls. The author points out that the results for boys has been squashing their essential nature; things that make boys boys were discouraged or even punished causing an increase in suicides among other things. The author makes suggestions to help get boys back on track without impacting the great successes experienced by the girls. This was an interesting and thought-provoking book and gets a highly recommended from me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I love the way Christina Hoff Sommers presents factual data which completely disproves the stereotypes perpetuated by both the media and the so-called feminists. The only issue I had with this book is that it could have been longer...and I'd like to see some updates since it was written ten years ago. It's shocking that our government passes legislation based on faked scientic data. Repeal Title 9 laws now.... As a mother of two sons, much of what I read in this book was alarming. The truth is, I love the way Christina Hoff Sommers presents factual data which completely disproves the stereotypes perpetuated by both the media and the so-called feminists. The only issue I had with this book is that it could have been longer...and I'd like to see some updates since it was written ten years ago. It's shocking that our government passes legislation based on faked scientic data. Repeal Title 9 laws now.... As a mother of two sons, much of what I read in this book was alarming. The truth is, schools in America no longer teach facts...they indoctrinate liberal agendas based on false notions of reality...it's no wonder why the country is failing miserably. I've seen some of the falsehoods being taught in our local schools and it is truly appalling that parents are so uninvolved in fighting for their children's educational rights.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Adam Morva

    This was a good 101 into some of the issues that boys and men face in modern societies. I say it was too short and too basic, but I would certainly recommend this book to the layman. Christina Hoff Sommers is a brilliant thinker, charming person, and it's worth following her outside this book as well. This was a good 101 into some of the issues that boys and men face in modern societies. I say it was too short and too basic, but I would certainly recommend this book to the layman. Christina Hoff Sommers is a brilliant thinker, charming person, and it's worth following her outside this book as well.

  24. 5 out of 5

    David

    Hoff Sommers capably addresses serious flaws in prevailing political and educational policies that claim a pursuit of of gender equity. She pleads for reason, and calls policies that help all children rather than advance militant ideologies currently in vogue.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    DNF. I felt like I was reading Ann Coulter. No thanks.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

    I have to say that I agree with much of what Sommers has to say in "The War Against Boys". However, not much of it was new to me. This book was published eight years ago. In those years, I've seen many articles that state the same things and have come to many of the same conclusions from observing my children and their friends. I have to say that I agree with much of what Sommers has to say in "The War Against Boys". However, not much of it was new to me. This book was published eight years ago. In those years, I've seen many articles that state the same things and have come to many of the same conclusions from observing my children and their friends.

  27. 4 out of 5

    David Riccardi

    An interesting point of view. I do sense that boys and men are shifting in terms of their place in society and the family. I suspect, too, that women are over compensating in their expectations and influences of men and boys. Males are fundamentally male and females fundamentally females. Understanding each is more important and valuable than turning one into the other.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Burns

    I enjoyed this a lot. Sommers is a rock solid writer. A proper scientist. She doesn't make complex rhetorical arguments or go off into Jungian flights of fancy. Basically her job is to criticise the work of others. When people come along with these post-modern ideas like the society-wide oppression of women and "toxic masculinity" and so on her job is to say "Is that so? Where is your evidence? Show me your studies?" She's what we all desperately need in this modern age when every default intell I enjoyed this a lot. Sommers is a rock solid writer. A proper scientist. She doesn't make complex rhetorical arguments or go off into Jungian flights of fancy. Basically her job is to criticise the work of others. When people come along with these post-modern ideas like the society-wide oppression of women and "toxic masculinity" and so on her job is to say "Is that so? Where is your evidence? Show me your studies?" She's what we all desperately need in this modern age when every default intellectual position seems to be under attack; A critic to stand up for us and evaluate these suspect claims with a rigour and a critical intellect that most of us do not have the inclination or the ability to utilise for ourselves. The basic gist of this book is that at some point in America in the 70s or 80s it was pointed out that girls were lagging behind boys in certain areas of education, most notably maths and science. There was much public concern, steps were taken and by the 90s the Americans were in a situation where girls were ahead of boys in most areas of education. One would have assumed that there would now be a similar outcry in favour of boys but this doesn't seem to have been the case. The sad truth is that in this modern era there are many advocacy groups who pursue the interests of historically oppressed groups (females) and there tends not to be the same level of public support for supposedly dominant groups (males). So instead of the sorry state of boys' education triggering concern and corrective action, what we got was a series of pseudo-scientific and highly influential articles about the supposed crisis of self-esteem in girls and the potentially pathological violence of boys. This led to an already unbalanced educational environment being geared even more in favour of girls and making the landscape more hostile to boys. Sommers gives the example of vocational schools where boys learn technical trades, aeronautical and automotive engineering, carpentry etc. The boys apply far greater effort to their academic studies because they know that they will have their vocational principles revoked if they don't get sufficient grades. The boys are engaged with their studies because their studies include something that they genuinely care about. Feminist advocacy groups like the AAUW single out these schools where the student population is predominantly male (an aviation engineering school) as discriminating against females, the evidence being the unrepresentative demography of the student body. Some schools offer a variety of vocations such as plumbing and cosmetology. When 19/20 plumbing students are boys and 19/20 cosmetology students are girls (all being free to choose whichever vocations they prefer), these feminist groups threaten schools with class action lawsuits for "perpetuating and promoting dangerous gender stereotypes". It is a distinctly poignant image to see these oases of academic engagement and excitement for boys being threatened by activist groups for purely political and ideological reasons. As someone who himself felt totally bored and unengaged by school (not necessarily due to feminist bias) I feel a lot of sympathy for any youngsters who have to go through the same experience. Sommers introduces us to a whole plethora of aggressive, anti-male or anti-maleness ideologies that feminist intellectuals try to impose on the educational system. In each case she does a fine job of examining what evidence there is to support either side of the argument. For example, when influential feminist writers make a general point about the violent tendencies of boys being caused by separation from the nurturing feminine spirit of their mothers, Sommers points out that it is boys who do not have fathers who tend to be more violent, not the boys who divide their time between a mother and a father. She is always quick on the draw with evidence-based counter-arguments which always seem obvious, but only after she has pointed them out. Ultimately the conclusions of this book are that boys and girls (surprise surprise) are different from one another. Their responses to various learning techniques and environments are totally different. They vary in their preferences for different subjects. The main points upon which experienced teachers agree are that boys do better in single sex classes; they focus better during heavily structured, teacher-led lessons as opposed to more improvisatory group work; they require more discipline, more moral and ethical guidance than girls; they tend to be restless and respond well to being allowed to run around during recess; they often fail to see the value in tasks centered around creativity, imagination and feelings and prefer fact-based, practical work. Essentially the ideal learning environment for boys is not the same as for girls and you do them a disservice when you organise your curriculum primarily around girls. If nothing else, what I take from this is the idea that single-sex classes are probably an excellent idea for teaching children, at least in the subjects where there are major differences between boys and girls (like reading). I really enjoyed this and I found the subject really interesting and I thought Sommers made an excellent guide. I'd definitely recommend it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ramona McConkie

    I’m giving this book 5 stars not because I agree with absolutely everything it says or because the writing is fantastic but because it is an important read for those of us raising boys in this culture. The reasons and researched background for what boys in this culture are experiencing is super insightful, and the ideas for what can be done about it are also counter to what society is currently doing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I listened to the audiobook and the voice reminded me of those YouTube videos of a generic female voice explaining the way the government works using computer generated avatars that are a blank slate. I almost quit listening for that reason alone! I think there is something wrong in society when you can look at the large number of men who are suffering from failure to launch. While I don't think feminism is helping men, I'm not sure that is the root problem. Christina Hoff Sommers thinks it is an I listened to the audiobook and the voice reminded me of those YouTube videos of a generic female voice explaining the way the government works using computer generated avatars that are a blank slate. I almost quit listening for that reason alone! I think there is something wrong in society when you can look at the large number of men who are suffering from failure to launch. While I don't think feminism is helping men, I'm not sure that is the root problem. Christina Hoff Sommers thinks it is and she tries to make the case. Sommers does make some interesting points and it would be a good book for feminists to read just to get a broader picture. However, I don't think feminists would be able to tolerate this book. Men and women are not the same, and neither should be forced into a particular roll. Boys are going to be attracted to action, and parents should accept that and channel it into positive directions. We do live in a politically correct world that can be annoying to adults; imagine how stifling it can be to boys! Stifle this boy and feel his wrath!

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