lishment feminists who see the worldrnthrough a prism of sex and gender andrnwho “seek to persuade the pubhc thatrnAmerican women are not the free creaturesrnthat we think we are”) havernusurped the women’s movement fromrnthe more classically liberal “equity feminists.”rnWhile Who Stole Feminism? repeatsrnarguments made by other writersrn(such as Philip Jenkins, writing in Chronicles),rnand while it illustrates that bothrnleft and right can always find studies tornsupport their points, it does serve as arnuseful compilation of the horror storiesrnset in circulation by the feminist movementrnin recent years. Moreover, it disclosesrnhow easily mainstream media andrnpoliticians accept and repeat these stories,rnwhether because they recognizerntheir sensationalistic effect or becausernthey are too lazy to check their sources.rnThe Super Bowl Sunday story is particularlyrndisheartening in this respect, as anrnorganization formed to promote “fairnessrnand accuracy in reporting” (FAIR)rnstood silently by at a press conference inrnJanuary 1993 while a coalition of women’srngroups misquoted a study done atrnOld Dominion University and warnedrnwomen to protect themselves on gamernday.rnThe real merit of Who Stole Feminism?,rnhowever, is its expose of the nonsensernpromulgated by gender feministsrnin our universities. As a recent graduaternof the University of Michigan (home tornCatherine MacKinnon), I was surprisedrnby none of this. I was fortunate in myrnundergraduate career to avoid genderrnpolitics and multiculturalism (the solernexception being a French literature classrnin which Flaubert was replaced on thernsyllabus by a woman writer whose namernI do not even remember and whose novelrninvolved a hero and a heroine whornswitched sexual roles). But nonacademicsrn(and especially parents of presentrnor future college students) couldrnuse a hard look at what passes for educationrnthese days.rnSommers unveils what she calls thern”transformationist” agenda and showsrnhow in conferences and classrooms everywherernthe gender feminists are underminingrnour traditional knowledgernbase. Especially insightful is her analysisrnof how the transformationists have alteredrnthe study of history. Not contentrnto add a few neglected women writers torncourse reading lists or to discuss women’srnrole in social history (as legitimate historiansrnhave been doing since the 1960’s),rnthey want to rewrite—translation: fabricatern—political, military, and intellectualrnhistory so that women assume a rolernwhich in reality they never played. In responsernto transformationist dolts, likernthe man in one of her audiences who arguedrnthat Martha Washington may veryrnwell have provided our first Presidentrnwith every idea he ever had, Sommersrnwrites: “Any history that is faithful to thernfacts must acknowledge that in the pastrnwomen were simply not permitted therndegree of freedom commensurate withrntheir talents Lamentable as this mayrnbe, there is simply no honest way of writingrnwomen back into the historical narrativernin a way that depicts them asrnmovers and shakers of equal importancernto men.” Sommers’ argument is notrnnew, but it does represent a much-neededrndose of common sense.rnEqually true is her argument that thern”safe zone” of the feminist classroom isrnendangering the education of youngrnwomen. Allowing these women to abandonrnphilosophy and Great Books, languagesrnand history, math and science forrnwomen’s studies courses in which theyrnare required merely to divulge their innermostrnsecrets, discuss their changingrnemotions, and develop a radical attitudernwill only widen any remaining gap inrnachievement between them and theirrnmale counterparts. Moreover, Sommersrnreports, students (and teachers) indoctrinatedrnin the tenets of women’s studiesrncontribute to the intimidating and censoriousrnatmosphere sweeping Americanrncampuses. Another example from myrncampus visits last spring illustrates thernpoint. A statue I stopped to admire onrnthe grounds of the University of NorthrnCarolina at Chapel Hill had been movedrnfrom a central location to “an out-ofthe-rnway place where no one would bernforced to see it” because feminist students,rnwho organized a CommitteernAgainst Offensive Statues, were insultedrnby it. The statue, entitled The StudentrnBody, depicts a male, who is reading arnbook, with his arm around a female, whornis holding an apple.rnPerhaps the most disturbing effect ofrngender feminism on college students isrnthe condescension, elitism, and self-preoccupationrnit fosters in them. As evidencedrnby my “friend” at the Universityrnof Chicago, female students convertedrnto the cause are completely disconnectedrnfrom the feelings and experiences ofrnwomen outside the Ivory Tower—rnwhether they be single professionals orrnwelfare moms, working mothers or stayat-rnhome ones. While this may not bernthe young feminists’ fault (resources andrnrhetoric are disproportionately directedrnat privileged, educated women: campusrnrape crisis centers are overstaffed,rnwhile urban battered women’s sheltersrnare hurting for funds), their whiningrndoes nothing to help those whom feminismrnhas neglected—or maybe evenrnharmed. Who can possibly argue, for instance,rnthat a woman with a high schoolrndiploma who works in an office 40 hoursrna week; who has two children in daycarernto look after in the evenings, on weekends,rnand when they are sick; and who isrnresponsible for all the cooking and cleaning,rnbecause her husband refuses to dornwomen’s work, has been “liberated” byrnthe women’s movement?rnSelf-preoccupation has led genderrnfeminists to an unhealthy focus on thernfemale psyche. Numerous books andrnstudies in recent years address women’srnlack of self-esteem, blaming the problemrnon our hierarchical, male-dominatedrnsociety. Two studies on self-esteem inrnadolescent girls drew considerable attentionrnamong journalists and even politicians.rnThe Cender Equity in EducationrnAct was proposed by Patricia Schroederrn(and endorsed by Ted Kennedy, of allrnpeople!) in response to findings by thernAssociation of American UniversityrnWomen (“Shortchanging Girls, ShortchangingrnAmerica,” 1991) and thernWellesley College Center for Researchrnon Women (“How Schools ShortchangernGirls,” 1992) that girls’ self-esteem dropsrnsharply between the ages of 11 and 16, inrnpart because girls get less attention fromrnteachers than boys. Sommers, afterrnquestioning the research on which thesernfindings are based, points out that nornone has been able to establish a clearrncorrelation between self-esteem andrnachievement. (Black girls—and blackrnboys—have the highest self-esteemrnscores, but they also have the lowestrnachievement scores.) She argues, moreover,rnthat the small gap in test scoresrnbetween boys and girls in the UnitedrnStates is nothing compared to the gaprnbetween American children and foreignrnchildren. (Asian children have the lowestrnself-esteem scores and the highest testrnscores, with the average Japanese studentrnequaling or surpassing America’s bestrnand brightest.) America is not just shortchangingrnits girls; it is shortchangingrnits children, period. Gloria Steinem, inrnRevolution from Within, says the solu-rnDECEMBER 1994/29rnrnrn