In a controversial world first, This Is 42 is bringing to Australian shores the feminist " albeit a self-proclaimed 'bad one', New York Times Best Selling Author and editor, Roxane Gay face-to-face with self-described 'factual-feminist', philosopher and author Christina Hoff Sommers. Taking centre stage, the intellectual giants will ignite an authentic, civilised discussion about their ideological differences, conversing on topics ranging from the division of domestic labour, feminism perpetuated in media, social inequality, violence against women, sexual harassment and more.
Inspired by today's social media and opinion-galvanised media landscape, #FEMINIST will reinforce the art of having idea-driven, honest, rational discussions; a conversation. Shining light on topics that have become movements defining the 21st century, Gay and Sommers have never been brought together to discourse with a shared vision of both educating and entertaining the audience.
#FEMINIST is touring Australia and New Zealand, see below for tour dates and location:
New Zealand Tour Dates:
Auckland: 27 Mar 2019, Victory Convention Centre
Australia Tour Dates:
Sydney: 29 Mar 2019, Sydney Town Hall
Melbourne: 31 Mar 2019, The Plenary
Roxane Gay is an author and cultural critic whose writing is unmatched and widely revered. Her work garners international acclaim for its reflective, no-holds-barred exploration of feminism and social criticism. With a deft eye on modern culture, she brilliantly critiques its ebb and flow with both wit and ferocity. Gay's collection of essays, Bad Feminist, is universally considered the quintessential exploration of modern feminism. Her powerful debut novel, An Untamed State, was long listed for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. In 2017, Roxane released her highly anticipated memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, as well as a collection of short stories titled Difficult Women. Gay's most recent book and New York Times Best Seller, Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, published May 1, 2018, is a collection of essays that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face for speaking out.
Christina Hoff Sommers is an author and philosopher famed for her critique of contemporary feminism. Sommers has penned books Who Stole Feminism? (1994) and The War Against Boys (2000), and also hosts a video blog called The Factual Feminist. Sommers' positions have been characterised by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as "equity feminism", a libertarian feminist perspective which suggests that the main political role of feminism is to ensure the right against coercive interference is not infringed, arguing that modern feminist thought often contains an "irrational hostility to men".
This is 42 aims to advance humankind by bringing passionate people together. Connecting through tech and educating through events, the diverse and electrifying speakers inspire our audiences, while the digital platform connects them into a community. This Is 42 celebrates intelligence in all its diversity, exploring new horizons across art, science, design, sports, and music. For more information visit our website: https://thisis42.com/
Question: How do you define a feminist?
Christina Hoff Sommers: A feminist is someone who believes in the moral, social and legal equality of the sexes. She wants for women what she wants for everyone"opportunity, dignity and liberty. Of course, there is a lot of disagreement on how to achieve these ends. I am a strong supporter of classical equity feminism " the sort of feminism that won women the vote, educational opportunity, and many other freedoms. Equity feminism is not radical. It works through legislative and social reform. Critics dismiss it for being insufficiently revolutionary. But most women aren't looking for a revolution, they want their basic rights and freedoms. Equity feminism has a proven record of success.
Question: Why do you relate to the term The Factual Feminist?
Christina Hoff Sommers: As a feminist and former philosophy professor, I am persuaded that women are best served by truth. There are a lot of half-truths, and untruths at the heart of contemporary feminism. Misinformation gets in the way of progress. It undermines good causes and sends resources in the wrong direction. Worst of all, it doesn't solve problems. We often hear that women are cheated out of nearly a quarter of their salary; that one in four college women is sexually assaulted, or that women are facing an epidemic of online abuse and violence. Such claims are exaggerated and misleading, but they have been repeated so they have taken on the aura of truth. That is unfortunate. Workplace discrimination, sexual assault and on-line threats are genuine problems, but to solve them women need sober analysis "not soundbites and spin.
Question: Why did you choose to participate in #FEMINIST A Conversation Between Roxane Gay and Christina Hoff Sommers?
Christina Hoff Sommers: Roxane Gay is an excellent writer and she has a lively, original mind. It's an honor to share the stage with her. She does favor more radical versions of feminism than I do. I look forward to hearing her reasons. There is always a chance I can change her mind on some topics "or maybe she'll change mine.
Question: What can attendees expect from the This Is 42 event?
Christina Hoff Sommers: Spirited, respectful disagreement. No matter where they stand on feminism, the attendees will be able to hear Roxane and my actual positions"not just caricatures favored by certain Twitter and Tumblr partisans.
There are serious and credible arguments for and against most standard feminist positions: Are the US and Australia patriarchal societies? Do we inhabit a rape culture? Are women being systematically denied equal pay for equal work? I am inclined to say no to such questions. Roxane, I suspect, will say yes. But the This is 42 event will give us a chance to put forth our best arguments and to answer objections. Will we change minds? Maybe not. But if we do our job, attendees will go away with a better understanding of their own views"and maybe a little more respect for the counter position.
Question: What topics do you plan to discuss at the event?
Christina Hoff Sommers: Those I just mentioned "partriarchy, rape culture, wage discrimination"as well as the promise and perils of #Metoo. I'm sure we will both have a lot to say on topics like identity politics, intersectionality, free expression, and due process. Nothing is off the table.
Question: What do you hope to achieve from this conversation?
Christina Hoff Sommers: My hope is that Roxane and I have some great discussions that the audience finds edifying and entertaining. If she and I manage to find some common ground and get together for drinks"that will be great too.
Question: Can you tell us about The Factual Feminist and your new podcast?
Christina Hoff Sommers: The Factual Feminist is my Youtube series. In most episodes, I debunk false claims or misleading statistics about the status of women. I also try to present viewers with solid data from trustworthy sources. The series has attracted millions of views.
Recently, my friend Danielle Frum and I launched a weekly podcast called The Femsplainers. We interview authors and experts on various hot topics of the moment. We deal with a lot of controversial gender issues"but we try to present all sides"without too much drama or rancor. It helps that we imbibe cocktails throughout the tapings.
Interview by Brooke Hunter