Anonymous asked in Social ScienceGender & Women's Studies · 7 years ago

Does Sommers prove that there is a war on boys?

In the context of Sommers's book, the issue of nature and nurture is much more than a matter of idle speculation. Her position that male nature is set in genetic stone is crucial to her argument. She sees the changes in educational method, child-rearing and moral education advanced by feminists and other liberals as violations of true male nature and therefore as a war against boys.

Her proposals for improving boys' education and reducing anti-social behavior have limited or questionable research support. The value of phonics instruction, lecture-and-drill teaching methods and frequent testing is hotly debated among education scholars (a debate Sommers does not examine). Her enthusiasm for all-boy schools is based on experiments in Britain that are too recent to be usefully evaluated and on a few glowing anecdotes of questionable generality from the United States. Her advocacy of directive moral education rests on no hard evidence at all. Apparently, ideological enthusiasm is sufficient reason to suspend critical thinking as long as the ideology is the right one.

In the end, Sommers fails to prove either claim in the title of her book. She does not show that there is a "war against boys." All she can show is that feminists are attacking her "boys-will-be-boys" concept of boyhood, just as she attacks their more flexible notion.


Did Christian Hoff Sommers actually write her book while being funded and given a job by the American Enterprise Institute?

AEI grew out of the American Enterprise Association (AEA), which was founded in 1938 by a group of New York businessmen led by Lewis H. Brown. AEA’s original mission was to promote a "greater public knowledge and understanding of the social and economic advantages accruing to the American people through the maintenance of the system of free, competitive enterprise".AEI’s founders included executives from Eli Lilly, General Mills, Bristol-Myers, Chemical Bank, Chrysler, and Paine Webber. To this day, AEA’s board is composed of top leaders from major business and financial firms.

5 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I have never fully read this book so my reply is based on reading passages here and there and from third party references.

    From what I gather though, her body of research is more along the lines of how the school system operated before the AAWU report came out and claimed that girls were being 'shortchanged' sometime in the early 1990's. There was a lot more physically free time, and children were allowed a lot more leeway, and yes, boy were allowed to be boys. AFTER the report the notion is that school has been feminized. All vestiges of methods that were geared to boys vanished. No competition, less recess and physical education, no competitive tests, lots of feel-good programs. The girls excel at this and the boys have subsequently been left behind.

    Worse though, is that in this new reality, the boys are seen as 'defective' girls rather than boys who ARE supposed to be different because they are a different gender. (a VERY difficult reality for feminists to accept). Rather than backing up the changes to a middle ground, the new reality became to administer mood altering drugs to contain boys enthusiasm to the level of the girls.

    These are some of her concepts, and they don't seem to far fetched for me to understand. What I find hard to understand, especially from mothers who have boys is WHY is taking so long to DO something about it??

    We have had an inkling that something was wrong not 2 years after the changes. And have been talking about it ever since, but all we get is more talk and more thesis but NO action.

  • 7 years ago

    She documents how feminists first created a false public opinion that girls were somehow in crisis and then used this to push school reforms favoring girls over boys. That single-gender schools are the solution is her own opinion, but the actions of the AAUW and the Women's Educational Equity Act are easily verified fact. The WEEA is a matter of public policy. The many good links Ted offers are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of verifying this. If you don't like Hoff-Sommers book, read Peg Tyer's book. It documents the same events.

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    5 years ago

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  • 7 years ago

    There is plenty of other evidence that boys are at a disadvantage.

    Virtually all gender-specific education initiatives and programs exist to benefit girls and young women.

    There are over 4 times as many scholarships for females as there are for males.

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  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    There is no war on boys. However, girls are given more encouragement and advantages in modern day society.

    Source(s): 1
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