JUNE 12, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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In recent surveys, 70 percent of American women rejected the label “feminist.” Why? In Freedom Feminism: Its Surprising History and Why it Matters Today (AEI Press, Values & Capitalism Series, 2013), author Christina Hoff Sommers explains that even though a flourishing women’s movement needs the support of both conservative and liberal women, feminism has devolved into a one-party system in the US. It has become associated in the public mind with the beliefs of hard-liners who claim that American women are held down by a system of global oppression, or “ruling capitalist patriarchy.”
“The work of feminism is unfinished and too important to be left to the existing [strident] lobby,” notes Sommers. Instead, she believes in a feminist renaissance through “freedom feminism,” which she defines as the moral, social, and legal equality of the sexes — and the freedom for all to pursue happiness in their own distinctive ways.
Freedom feminism is a synthesis of two movements: an “egalitarian school,” which regards women as independent agents and aims to liberate them through universal rights, and a “maternal school,” which is family-centered and argues that educated, responsible women can be a force of good beyond the family through enlightened social policies and charitable work.
To revive freedom feminism, Sommers suggests that Americans:
• Take back reason: correct more than 40 years of feminist advocacy research;
• Be pro-women but not male-averse: acknowledge that the health, education, and welfare of males are pressing public issues;
• Pursue happiness: allow women to follow the paths they want to pursue — and respect their decisions;
• Support women as they are: respect them regardless of the different paths they choose;
• Forget about political litmus tests: understand that freedom feminists can be libertarian, liberal, or conservative.
The quest for equality has hardly begun for women in most of the world, and Western women should not take for granted the rights of equal citizenship and social status, advises Sommers. Instead, their success should provide a road map for women in the developing world.
Christina Hoff Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the author of Who Stole Feminism (1995) and The War Against Boys (2001 & August 2013). For interview requests, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202.862.5829.
This monograph is part of the Values & Capitalism initiative at the American Enterprise Institute. Intended primarily for college students, the series of 13 books is devoted to the study of the moral and material nature of competition and a free-market economy. The project’s goal is to engage Christian students in a discussion of the compatibility of their faith and the system of free enterprise.
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