Christina Hoff Sommers' book, The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men, complains of an educational system bent on feminizing boys and reconceptualizing gender by erasing differences between boys and girls. In doing so, Sommers assumes that gender is exclusively binary. The experiences of gender non-conforming youth in schools and the legal system highlight a reality Sommers ignores. This Book Review explores the experience of youth who do not conform to the stereotypical male model and, in turn, suffer severe harassment and discrimination. The stories of four gender non-conforming youth elucidate how schools remain primary enforcers of a binary gender system that fails to address the needs of many. This Book Review concludes that the strides being made in the legal system to expand notions of gender-appropriate behavior and to recognize individual identity contrast starkly with the lack of progress in schools. While the legal system offers hope for gender non-conforming youth, schools must soberly begin to address their adherence to a gender model that has punitive effects on those labelled "different."
Patience W. Crozier,
Forcing Boys to Be Boys: The Persecution of Gender Non-Conforming Youth,
B.C. Third World L.J.