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

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Simon & Schuster, 2000 - Social Science - 251 pages
It's a bad time to be a boy in America. As the century drew to a close, the defining event for American girls was the triumph of the U.S. women's soccer team. For boys, the symbolic event was the mass killing at Columbine High School.

It would seem that boys in our society are greatly at risk. Yet the best-known studies and the academic experts say that it's girls who are suffering from a decline in self-esteem. It's girls, they say, who need extra help in school and elsewhere in a society that favors boys. The problem with boys is that they are boys, say the experts. We need to change their nature. We have to make them more like...girls.

These arguments don't hold up to scrutiny, says Christina Hoff Sommers in this provocative, fascinating book. She analyzes the work of the leading academic experts, Carol Gilligan and William Pollack, and finds it lacking in scientific rigor. There is no girl crisis, says Sommers. Girls are outperforming boys academically, and girls' self-esteem is no different from boys'. Boys lag behind girls in reading and writing ability, and they are less likely to go to college.

The "girl crisis" has been seized upon by some feminists and has been suffused with sexual politics. Under the guise of helping girls, many schools have adopted policies that penalize boys, often for simply being masculine. Sommers says that boys do need help, but not the sort they've been getting. They need help catching up with girls academically. They need love, discipline, respect, and moral guidance. They desperately need understanding. They do not need to be rescued from masculinity.

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THE WAR AGAINST BOYS: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men

User Review  - Kirkus

A repudiation of the fashionable claims of "girl advocates" by controversial social critic Sommers (Who Stole Feminism?, 1994). "It's a bad time to be a boy in America," the author (a mother of sons ... Read full review

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User Review  - chasnaj - LibraryThing

Sometimes it took some perseverance to get through all the statistics which sometimes seemed redundant. Otherwise a strong book that alerts us to a serious problem in American education. Read full review


two Reeducating the Nations Boys
five Gilligans Island

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About the author (2000)

Christina Hoff Sommers is the W. H. Brady Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. She has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Brandeis University and was formerly a professor of philosophy at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Sommers has written for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and many others. She is the author of Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women. She is married with two sons and lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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