Scholar: ‘Fainting Couch’ Feminism Needs to Go

Annie Holmquist | November 8, 2016

Scholar: ‘Fainting Couch’ Feminism Needs to Go

There’s a growing narrative on college campuses that today’s students are oppressed and victims of insensitivity. Such a feeling seems to be particularly held by female students, who believe that their oppression is exacerbated by their gender.

But according to scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, these young women need to get over their sensitivity and ditch their brand of “fainting couch” feminism. In a recent interview with Heatstreet, Sommers declared:

Feminism has a lot of work to do, but we have to get over this ‘fainting couch’ feminist stage, and the trigger warnings and running off to safe spaces—that is the betrayal of feminism, that is not true feminism. There are women across the globe, and I have met them at international women’s conferences– from Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, from Iran, and Egypt, where they are coping with patriarchal practices, they are coping with institutionalized misogyny, and they are asking for our help. And yet on our campuses you have young women that are self absorbed and more concerned with their own oppression when they happen to be among the most privileged people in the world with a lot to offer, if they were to open their eyes and make common cause with feminists across the globe.”

Sommers words come at an interesting time in the history of feminism. We’re on the threshold of a potentially historic election in which a woman may be elected president. We just passed the 100th anniversary of the first woman being elected as a representative in Congress. By all accounts, women have made extraordinary progress.

As a woman, I’m thankful for the opportunities which that progress has afforded me, particularly the opportunity to vote.

But as a woman, I also have to wonder if my sex has squandered that same progress and reverted to an even worse state than we were in before we had all of these opportunities. Have many women taken feminism too far and used it to trample others in the quest to obtain their “rights”? Instead of being thoughtful, rational creatures seeking to improve the world in which they live, has feminism encouraged women to become emotional tyrants, interested only in how they can get the world around them to cater to their whims? 

{PD-1923}