Two feminists from different schools of thought are set to tour Australia together in March 2019. Bad feminist Roxane Gay will appear on stage with factual feminist Christina Hoff Sommers. The tour is being organized by events company This is 42 whose stated aim is to connect “diverse and electrifying speakers [to] inspire our audiences”. It commits a “portion of our ticket sales to send 42 million young people to school”.
The tour promises to bring “together a meeting of the minds” as Gay and Hoff Sommers “navigate the trials and tribulations of 21st century feminism in #FEMINIST”. Tickets are already on sale and the pair are visiting Sydney and Melbourne in Australia as well as Auckland, New Zealand.
Roxane Gay has written and edited numerous books included her namesake collection of essays ‘Bad Feminist’. Her books mix feminist themes with race, gender identity, sexuality and body image. She has published both fiction and non-fiction books about her own personal life experiences and struggles. Her most recent book was called ‘Hunger’ which deals with her relationship with food and her weight. Gay has previously visited Australia and has appeared on the ABC program Q&A
Christina Hoff Sommers is a critic of modern third wave feminism, its victim narrative, what she calls ‘fainting couch feminism’ as well as its impact on men and boys. She has written the books ‘Who Stole Feminism and ‘The War Against Boys’. Hoff Sommers previously visited Australia as a speaker for the Centre for Independent Studies’ annual Big Ideas Forum in 2015.
She is now known as the Factual Feminist due to her videos where she debunks modern feminist myths which are hosted on the American Enterprise Institute’s YouTube channel. Feminist myths she has tackled have included the gender wage gap, male privilege, rape culture, sexist video games and the domestic violence epidemic. She has also highlight the decline of free speech on university campuses including the prevalence of trigger warnings and and concept of microaggressions.
Hoff Sommers has spoken at many university campuses about the failure of third wave feminism which have attracted protests especially those done with conservative provocateurs Milo Yiannopoulos and Steven Crowder. Her presentation with the pair at University of Massachusetts Amherst in April 2017 gave birth to the feminist meme of Trigglypuff who shouted abuse at Hoff Sommers throughout her presentation calling her a ‘rape apologist’ and chanting ‘get your hate speech off this campus’.
Given that Hoff Somers is touring with a feminist of a differing worldview it is unlikely this tour will attract the counter protestors her college presentations have had or that other international speakers have experienced when touring Australia. The tour of immigration and Islam critic Douglas Murray did not attract protests as he was touring socialist black empowerment activist Cornell West.
Certainly the fact that Gay and Hoff Somers have agreed to tour together will ensure that their exchange of ideas will inject some much needed common sense to our political debate in Australia, especially on the topic of feminism.