Feminist philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers enjoys the way that she and her fellow philosophers can sharply, even angrily, disagree on various points and still be friends and go out for drinks later. When debate on a particular movement breaks up friendships, it seems probable that the movement has stopped moving and has become a religion in which either there are no new revelations, or new revelations have to pass through the vetting of the establishment to be acknowledged.
In 1988, Hoff Sommers spoke at the American Philosophical Association and shared her criticisms of modern academic feminism, and she saw that there was something different about this particular debate. She and her detractors didn’t go out for drinks or part in a friendly way, and this event ended up radically changing the course of her career. She hadn’t realized that feminism was a religion until she was excommunicated. She is now labeled as a “right-winger” even though she’s a registered Democrat.
Though I don’t have time to do justice to this topic today, I’d just love to hear everyone’s thoughts about what it means to be afraid of criticism — to feel like everything you believe in is a house of cards that will come crashing down with the slightest breeze. And of course, being open to criticism means that people I admire like Christina Hoff Sommers should be expected to weather it, too. I hope you’ll comment below.