"Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women," by Christina Hoff Sommers (Simon and Schuster, 320 pp.; $23, hardcover). Reviewed by Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, professor of psychology and resident scholar at the Center for Christian Women in Leadership, Eastern College, Saint Davids, Pennsylvania.

Philosopher and feminist scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, who teaches ethics at Clark University, is no stranger to the pages of CT. In her article "How to Teach Right and Wrong: A Blueprint for Moral Education in a Pluralistic Age" (CT, Dec. 13, 1993, pp. 33-37), Sommers made a timely plea to resurrect the teaching of personal or "virtue" ethics alongside the more standard curriculum of "applied" ethics. While the latter focuses heavily on moral dilemmas concerning issues such as euthanasia, capital punishment, DNA research, business practices, and gender relations, virtue ethics draws on classical, medieval, and other traditions that analyze the character traits-courage, temperance, humility, compassion, honesty, and so on-deemed essential to a mature, moral person. Sommers's point was that only if personal character development is given its due can we hope to produce the kind of people who are capable of recognizing, let alone creating, a truly just society.


In "Who Stole Feminism?" Sommers engages in a detailed critique of certain feminists whose behavior she considers decidedly unvirtuous. She is, she tells us, "a feminist who does not like what feminism has become." In order to appreciate her exegesis of this statement we first need to be reminded that feminism, like Christianity, is a multidenominational movement. Moreover, just as various expressions of Christianity wax and wane in their strength ...

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