Being surprised to see

Angus Johnston of StudentActivism says Yes, Christina Hoff Sommers is a Rape Denialist.

If you were around for the so-called Culture Wars of the mid-1990s, you probably remember Christina Hoff Sommers — her 1994 book Who Stole Feminism? was a centerpiece of right-wing attacks on mainstream feminist theory and organizing at the time. Recently Sommers has re-emerged as the “mom” — that’s literally what they call her — of #GamerGate, that weird movement of video game fans obsessed with “ethics in gaming journalism” and what they see as feminist attacks on their hobby.

I haven’t paid more than desultory attention to Sommers since the nineties, so when I somehow wound up at her Twitter feed on Saturday I was surprised to see her supportively retweeting this:

Joanna Williams @jowilliams293

If universities are really in the grip of a rape culture, why did Rolling Stone need to invent their story on the topic?

10:53 AM – 6 Dec 2014

I know that “I was surprised to see” so well. I too remember her from the culture wars of the mid-nineties and I too find her new persona quite astonishing.


  1. quixote says

    (Just a request for info. I can’t stomach reading any of the zomg-Rolling-Stone-blew-it reporting so I only have third-hand impressions. It’s my impression that the woman (Jackie?) didn’t get the name of the frat right. And that one of the men she says was there said when asked, that he totally wasn’t there. I’m sure rapists are always honest about their activities, so his statement must mean she’s got it all wrong. The chances that she made it all up are, of course, excellent.

    Anyway, enough with the snark. Am I missing big chunks of information? Because that to me sounds very far from evidence of an invented story of rape.)

  2. says

    Angus is a friend of mine. For realz. The whole article shows what a sloppy thinker Sommers is, and that’s giving her the benefit of the doubt that she is not doing it deliberately. I’m glad you saw the post, though — I was thinking of getting the link to you.

  3. allosteric says

    I had reached similar conclusions as Angus Johnston some time ago when I did my own investigation of CHS’s claims. She is employing the classical denialism tactic of playing up minor differences between two different rape studies as if this shows some massive conspiracy on the part of scientists and feminists to exaggerate the problem. Then she fudges some numbers and lies by omission. All plays from the right wing think tank playbook. What a dishonest, incompetent hack CHS is. Dawkins should be embarrassed.

  4. says

    Dawkins should be embarrassed.

    I think it’s pretty clear by this point that he simply doesn’t have the capacity for embarrassment.
    This is something I’ve noticed in others – when they do or say something they are called on which they should feel embarrassed about, they instead feel anger at others and lash out.

    Someone should do a study.

  5. qwints says

    @quixote, you are missing a lot of it. Suffice it to say that the victim’s story is inconsistent with a number of verifiable facts (e.g. her report mentions a staircase which doesn’t exist), but that it’s still reasonable to believe some trauma happened to her.

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