Tuesday, June 30, 2009

V is for Vampires

Just a quick post to point you to Christina Hoff Sommers' article: Persistent Myths in Feminist Scholarship, in which she compares the undead, unkillable, untrue feminist statistics that keep coming back to vampires - as in being 'harder to kill than'.

She writes Berkeley law professor Nancy K.D. Lemon about the acclaimed 'Domestic Violence Law' book she edited, pointing out outright falsehoods that appeared in her book as fact, including the following (excerpted from her article):

"The history of women's abuse began over 2,700 years ago in the year 753 BC. It was during the reign of Romulus of Rome that wife abuse was accepted and condoned under the Laws of Chastisement. ... The laws permitted a man to beat his wife with a rod or switch so long as its circumference was no greater than the girth of the base of the man's right thumb. The law became commonly know as 'The Rule of Thumb.' These laws established a tradition which was perpetuated in English Common Law in most of Europe."

Where to begin? How about with the fact that Romulus of Rome never existed. He is a figure in Roman mythology — the son of Mars, nursed by a wolf. Problem 2: The phrase "rule of thumb" did not originate with any law about wife beating, nor has anyone ever been able to locate any such law. It is now widely regarded as a myth, even among feminist professors.
Other falsehoods Sommers challenged with significant evidence:
  • "women battered during pregnancy have more than twice the rate of miscarriages and give birth to more babies with more defects than women who may suffer from any immunizable illness or disease"
  • "between 20 and 35 percent of women seeking medical care in emergency rooms in America are there because of domestic violence."
What do you think? Did Lemon immediately acknowledge the correction and issue an 'errata' like most any scholar would?


Read the article.