The Factual Feminist Christina Hoff Sommers, former philosophy professor and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, joined Glenn on radio Tuesday to discuss contemporary feminism and how it’s damaging to both women and men.
“The feminist establishment is not celebrating the empowerment of women. They act as those things are worse than ever and getting worse every day. I find this baffling, and it’s very destructive. It’s very harmful to the young women who are told to be victims and taught to be paranoid,” Sommers said.
Sommers also addressed her fear for mothers of sons, as well as her theory that the purpose of many college classes is to tear down Western civilization.
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This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: Hello, America. Welcome to the Glenn Beck Program. We’re glad you’re here. We have Christina Hoff Sommers with us. She’s a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She hosts a series on YouTube — fantastic — called The Factual Feminist. Each episode corrects a feminist myth.
And tomorrow, she is going to be giving a lecture at St. Olaf College. She joins us now to talk about the state of feminism and the — this new push into the — into the realm of, I think, insanity.
Welcome to the program, Christina, how are you?
CHRISTINA: Hi. Nice to be here.
GLENN: Thank you very much.
So where do we even begin on this new rape culture and what we’re teaching and what millennials are now believing about this rape culture?
CHRISTINA: Well, it — it’s all fiction. It’s a fantasy. It was created by radical feminist scholars with an agenda eager to indict the average man in a social atrocity. They have exaggerated statistics. And they change definitions beyond, you know, the meaning of words. And most of us do think of rape as a horrible crime. They now have definitions that include seduction. So if you’re willing to do that, you will get a rape epidemic. There is a lot of seduction.
GLENN: So doesn’t this — doesn’t this — you know, I’ve said for 20 years with the Al Sharptons of the world and then in the last eight years, you know, the cry that everything is racist — to say the word Chicago was called racist. To do that takes all of the cries of actual racism and makes them meaningless.
CHRISTINA: Exactly. It trivializes it. This is what happens with rape. And the students are not asking that the cases be turned over to the police, which would be reasonable. Because they have the ability to investigate. They turn it over to a campus tribunal that then determines guilt and innocence through what look to be kangaroo courts. And we have over 100 young men suing. And if you read through these cases, it’s absolutely terrifying if you’re the mother of sons because a boy can be accused — he’s perceived to be guilty because he’s accused because along with this idea of a rape culture is the idea that women don’t lie. You have to believe women.
Well, women lie. Not because they’re women. But because they’re human. Human beings lie, especially about sex.
GLENN: Christina, may I take you to probably a different place than you expected.
I am really concerned that we are imploding as a species because we are — hear me out for a second. I know that’s a crazy thing to say.
CHRISTINA: No, no. I worry about that too.
GLENN: Right? We’re imploding as a species. We’re taking technology and we’re going to give you the ultimate pleasure by creating your own little sexual world. You can live in it any way you want. You don’t have to interact with anyone. And the — and the more we go down that road, while at the same time making common sense completely driven into the wilderness, you won’t want to have a relationship with somebody. Because it — you’ll be accused as rape. You’ll be —
CHRISTINA: Oh, I know. You’ll be brought before a tribunal and told that every —
CHRISTINA: — and told that — you know, without any possibility of defending yourself.
You can’t — you’re just presumed guilty, and you are shamed. They’ve created a shame culture on campus, based on these strange definitions. And it’s — it is very disturbing.
I worry because our colleges are now just so carried away with this so-called social justice agenda, but it’s an agenda of — of authoritarianism. So this is where we are.
STU: Christina Hoff Sommers is with us. And legitimately one of the bravest people you’re going to find, talking about this.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
STU: Any issue —
GLENN: You must just be a pariah. Why do you hate women so much?
CHRISTINA: You know, I have been a feminist in the reasonable sense of the word for more years than I care to mention. I was a philosophy professor. I encouraged the young women in my class. I watched as women surpassed men in education. And only to turn around and find that the feminist establishment is not celebrating, that — you know, the empowerment of women. They act as though things are worse than ever and getting worse every day. And I find this baffling. And it’s very destructive. It’s very harmful to the young woman who are told that they are victims and taught to be paranoid.
And I will also mention — I don’t want to say most. Many college classes. No one has done a good study of this. They should. The purpose of the class is to tear down western civilization. It’s not something to be proud of. Don’t be proud of American history. It’s a rape culture. It’s — and it’s defined by its worst injustices. Don’t be proud.
So they’re replacing pride with shame. I don’t know that this is a way to progress. I don’t think people react well to being shamed. They recoil or they — you know, in this case, at the campus, they’re acting out these — lots of mob justice. So it’s very unhealthy.
STU: Christina, let’s take on one of the big ones here. People hear this all the time. That depending on who you hear it from, one in four or one in five women in college will be raped when they’re there. Can you walk us through that statistic and what it actually is talking about?
CHRISTINA: Yes. That sort of statistic comes from — not from the Bureau of Justice statistics. Not from the FBI. Legitimate data-gathering organizations. You know, they use careful methodology. And they will come up with a figure like one in 50. That’s still too many. But it’s far different from one in four. One in four is worse than war-torn Congo. They’re telling us that, you know, your daughter enters Wesleyan or Bard or Stanford, and she’s basically entering a — you know, a society more dangerous than anyplace on earth for a woman.
How do they get that? Well, the first thing to know, they don’t ask on these surveys, were you raped? If you ask that, you get a fairly low number. They describe events, and then they say, did this ever happen?
And some of them do sound like a — every woman agree that someone said, “Yes, I was violated. Assaulted and penetrated.” You would agree that’s rape. But they would include things like, did you have sex that you regretted because you were drunk? And if you say yes to that, that counts as rape.
So they change the definition from, you know, an assault to a bad — a bad hookup, essentially. So that’s one thing they do. They enlarge the definition. They ask a nonrepresentative sample. A lot of these studies are computer generated. And they will go send it out and see who responds. They’ll send it out to 200,000 people and maybe 1,000 respond. But that’s a self-selected group of respondents. It may be people that feel more strongly about it. So you have to be very careful. So they do that. They ask a nonrepresentative sample. And then they project it on to all college students.
So bad definition. And a bad sample. And you can have an epidemic of anything that way.
GLENN: How do we —
CHRISTINA: Claim to have it.
GLENN: How do we look at things like what’s happening with Fox News? Where I believe — we don’t know the facts yet. But I believe that there were bad things that happened at Fox. I worked there. I never saw anything. But I believe that some of these things happened. Some of these things most likely also did not happen. And that’s for the courts to work out.
But they just fired Bill Shine yesterday, who was the vice president and really one of the stabilizing factors of Fox News. There’s no charges that I — that I’m aware of, that he was assaulting anybody or coming on to anybody.
When you have this witch hunt, nobody wants to stand up and say, “Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute.” Because it’s just — it just becomes, I want to protect women. And we should believe the women. And men are bad. And all of a sudden, anyone can be swept up into this.
How do we stop that?
CHRISTINA: Well, it’s a moral panic. And those — you know, it creates a lot of hysteria. And going back to what you said. There was a problem with some people at Fox News.
CHRISTINA: And here’s what — and here’s what distresses me the most as an equity feminist, an equality feminist. Is if we want to help women, we should tell the truth. But it shouldn’t be done in an atmosphere of panic and hysteria. Women who are victims need sober analysis. They need truth. Not hype. Not spin. Not panic. We have too much of the latter. So if you want to help people who are at risk for sexual harassment, for sexual assault, these are real criminals — if we want to help them, then we should tell the truth and not cry wolf and not get hysterical. That helps no one.
GLENN: But how do you do that when — I mean, I found as a father of three women, I am — I was — I found it beyond offensive what President Trump said about women when he was on the bus with Billy Bush. Just like shocking. I thought that was the end for sure.
The left, of course, came out against that. The right suddenly was quiet. But when this happened in the 1990s, they were musical chairs. They were on the opposite side, when it was Bill Clinton.
CHRISTINA: Oh, when it was Mr. Clinton.
GLENN: Yeah. How do we — how does the average effect something when these big powerful groups don’t really care? They’re just using it.
CHRISTINA: Exactly. They’re using it. And in this case, it’s a little harder to fight because it’s — the source are these scholars in the gender studies department. People have to realize, their work is not carefully reviewed. They don’t even — many of them don’t even believe in the basic protocols of scientific research. They have their own methods they’ve invented of just listening to stories and believing people.
And so — but journalists and even legislators, they take them seriously. They take these scholars seriously. And I’m just saying — I’ve been watching this for 20 years — at the heart of the women’s movement today is a body of recklessly false information, and it’s not helping women.
GLENN: Is there a movement — a legitimate movement that is out there?
CHRISTINA: You know, right now, there are small groups. There are groups like the Independent Women’s Forum. There’s a group called the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education. It’s a civil libertarian group, not exclusively about women. But it addresses these issues.
Both of those groups are very good, FIRE and IWF. But they’re small. It’s nothing compared to this juggernaut of women’s organizations. And they’re all marching in solidarity. And they reinforce one another’s messages. It’s in the colleges. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s — you know, usually, people can only go so far with — that are alternative facts. And their concocted studies and pseudoscience. This has gone very far because I think a lot of men hesitated to correct the bad scholarship. They would be called sexist. A lot of women didn’t want to belittle a cause they believed in at heart. They just thought they would be quiet. And so, well, now we’re copying with it. Now we’ve got this rape panic. And it’s very — it’s very destructive on campus. It’s leading to fanaticism.
GLENN: Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She hosts a series on YouTube called The Factual Feminist, where she corrects in each episode a feminist myth. And it’s fantastic. It’s really good. Tomorrow night, she’s going to be giving a lecture at St. Olaf College. It is great to have you on Christina. Thank you so much.
CHRISTINA: Thank you.