There was a debate in Sydney, Australia today between feminist author Roxane Gay and “factual feminist” Christina Hoff Sommers. Gay is a bestselling author best known for a 2014 book of essays called “Bad Feminist.” Gay is a fan of no-platforming anything she considers hate speech and, though she had never heard of Sommers before they were paired for this event, told the Sydney Morning Herald last year that Sommers was a “white supremacist.”
In the contemporary culture war over whether racists and other bigots should be given airtime, American author and academic Roxane Gay has planted her feet firmly in the no-platforming camp.
So it may come as a surprise to hear what Gay thinks of the relatively low-profile speaker she plans to share the stage with, when she returns to Australian shores in March for the #FEMINIST speaking tour…
She’s also a feminist whom Gay, speaking on the phone from Los Angeles, describes as “a white supremacist.”…
Gay hadn’t even heard of Christina Hoff Sommers until she tweeted about the event and was subsequently sent some information by civil rights advocates at the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which she found “disturbing”.
There doesn’t seem to be any video of the event available at this point, but someone who attended as a supporter of Western feminism said it left her feeling disappointed. She was disappointed by the poor behavior of Gay’s fans in the crowd and disturbed by Gay’s refusal to condemn the treatment of women in other cultures:
She’s referring to Rahah Mohammed, a Saudi teenager who escaped to Thailand while on vacation with her family. She was granted asylum in Canada and says she was abused by her family from the age of sixteen.
“I was exposed to physical violence, persecution, oppression, threats to be killed,” she said. “I felt that I could not achieve my dreams that I wanted as long as I was still living in Saudi Arabia.
“It’s daily oppression,” Mohammed added. “We are treated as an object, like a slave. We could not make decisions about what we want.”
The other woman she referred to, Nasriin Sotoudeh, is a human rights lawyer in Iran. Earlier this month she was convicted of various trumped-up charges and sentenced to 38 years and 148 lashes. I wrote about her story here.
The author’s Twitter bio describes her as an Australian Egyptian and an ex-Muslim atheist. Here’s a tweet she pinned at the top of her feed which helps explain her reaction to the debate:
Christina Hoff Sommers RT’d the thread and added her own comments about the debate:
Despite the temper tantrum from the crowd, Sommers seems to be enjoying herself: