I Can’t Believe TIME Published This Article on Feminist Myths
I haven’t picked up a TIME Magazine in years. The same is true of Newsweek, which for a time was sold to somebody for $1 or a U.S. News and World Report. Is there still a print edition? Since bookstores have closed down and newsstands are the thing of the past, I’m not up on what’s in print anymore.
Every so often I’ll come across a TIME article on the internet. Most of them push some left-wing agenda. It seems there’s always some article on why Americans must submit to the rising Gaystapo movement or lose your identity, job, and standing in the new rainbow America.
But just to show that TIME is “objective” and only seems to lean left, the editors will throw a bone to conservatives.
The latest example is “5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die” by Christina Hoff Sommers. It got little attention when it was originally published on September 2, 2014. It’s gotten new life because of Patricia Arquette’s equal pay rant during her acceptance speech at the Academy Awards.
Christina Hoff Sommers is a former philosophy professor and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author of several books, including Who Stole Feminism and The War Against Boys, and is the host of a weekly video blog, “The Factual Feminist.”
If we’re genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women, we need to get the facts straight
Much of what we hear about the plight of American women is false. Some faux facts have been repeated so often they are almost beyond the reach of critical analysis. Though they are baseless, these canards have become the foundation of Congressional debates, the inspiration for new legislation and the focus of college programs. Here are five of the most popular myths that should be rejected by all who are genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women:
MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.
FACTS: This injustice confection is routinely quoted by advocacy groups, the World Bank, Oxfam and the United Nations. It is sheer fabrication. More than 15 years ago, Sussex University experts on gender and development Sally Baden and Anne Marie Goetz, repudiated the claim: “The figure was made up by someone working at the UN because it seemed to her to represent the scale of gender-based inequality at the time.” But there is no evidence that it was ever accurate, and it certainly is not today.
Precise figures do not exist, but no serious economist believes women earn only 10% of the world’s income or own only 1% of property. As one critic noted in an excellent debunking in The Atlantic, “U.S. women alone earn 5.4 percent of world income today.” Moreover, in African countries, where women have made far less progress than their Western and Asian counterparts, Yale economist Cheryl Doss found female land ownership ranged from 11% in Senegal to 54% in Rwanda and Burundi. Doss warns that “using unsubstantiated statistics for advocacy is counterproductive.” Bad data not only undermine credibility, they obstruct progress by making it impossible to measure change.
MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.
FACTS: This sensational claim is a favorite of politicians, celebrities and journalists. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore turned it into a cause célèbre. Both conservatives and liberal reformers deploy it. Former President Jimmy Carter recently said that the sexual enslavement of girls in the U.S. today is worse than American slavery in the 19th century.
The source for the figure is a 2001 report on child sexual exploitation by University of Pennsylvania sociologists Richard Estes and Neil Alan Weiner. But their 100,000–300,000 estimate referred to children at risk for exploitation—not actual victims. When three reporters from the Village Voice questioned Estes on the number of children who are abducted and pressed into sexual slavery each year, he replied, “We’re talking about a few hundred people.” And this number is likely to include a lot of boys: According to a 2008 census of underage prostitutes in New York City, nearly half turned out to be male. A few hundred children is still a few hundred too many, but they will not be helped by thousand-fold inflation of their numbers.
Check out the remaining three myths here.
MYTH 3: In the United States, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms do so because of domestic violence.
MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.
MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work.