Author to speak on ‘misguided feminism’ Feb. 18 in ‘War vs. Boys’ panel discussion at UF law school

Published: February 16th, 2009

Category: News

Christina Hoff Sommers, author of two provocative books debunking “misguided feminism” and a prevailing view that American schools “favor boys and grind down girls,” will share her controversial views and findings in a lecture and panel discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Her presentation topic—“The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men”—derives from the title of her 2000 book in which she claimed that “by virtually every measure, girls are thriving.” Instead, Sommers writes, “it is boys who are the second sex in school.”

She will speak on the 18th at noon in the Bailey Courtroom at the law school. Following her opening talk, Sommers, a self-described “equity feminist”, will participate in a panel discussion with gender-equity scholars from the UF College of Education—Mary Ann Clark, associate professor of counselor education; and Luis Ponjuan, assistant professor of educational administration and policy.

The program, sponsored by the law school’s Federalist Society student organization, is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided.

Mary Ann Clark, associate professor of counselor education

Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit group, based in Washington D.C., whose stated purpose is to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism. She previously was a professor of philosophy at Clark University and also has written for the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, and The Atlantic.

She is the author of two books–“Who Stole Feminism?” and “The War Against Boys” (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year” selection in 2000)—and recently co-authored a third book titled “One Nation Under Therapy.” Sommers has appeared on numerous television programs, including Nightline, Sixty Minutes, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

Her fellow panel members, Clark and Ponjuan from the College of Education, both study gender-related issues in education. They say their work focuses not so much on misguided feminism than on the lack of male role models in society, concepts of masculinity, motivational issues and other perspectives. “But we are all addressing the same problem of male underachievement and gender differences in educational achievement,” Clark said.

Luis Ponjuan, assistant professor of educational administration and policy

Clark, the B.O. Smith Research Professor, is one of the lead investigators on a multi-year study that is looking at male underachievement in the United States, England, Australia and Korea.

Ponjuan’s research focuses on how, gender, ethnic background and other social differences are increasingly steering boys and young men away from participation in postsecondary education and more towards low-paying occupations or unemployment, military service or criminal activity.