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Feminist Dumbism in Cherry (1995)

© Peter Zohrab 2007

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The famous murder of Kitty Genovese has attracted the attention of Feminists in our dumbed-down universities. Previously Social Psychologists had considered her case as part of the phenomenon of bystander non-intervention, whether the victim is male or female. (see: Cherry, F. (1995). Kitty Genovese and culturally embedded theorising. In: The Stubborn Particulars of Social Psychology (pp 16-29). London: Routledge.)

Cherry seeks to unsettle the established scientific approach in social psychology.

Cherry (1995) is so incoherent that it is clear that she intends her work to be judged by political, rather than by intellectual criteria. In the academic power-grab that she represents, she relies on fellow-leftists and feminists to help her take control of the field of social psychology, in order to exert social control, irrespective of the merits of her arguments.

Cherry sees the task of social psychologys as intervention in favour of so-called ”powerless groups” – women, the aged, children, racial minorities and the poor, among others. She uses the Kitty Genovese case to construct a loose argument around violence against women (and other “powerless groups”).

Having decided to take a political approach, she takes one that is clearly discriminatory against men, as well as being simplistic. In her dinner-party environment (which she refers to in her article!), it may well be taken for granted that women, the aged, children, racial minorities and the poor are “powerless”, but that needs to be defined, spelled out and proved.

Individual members of some racial minorites are wealthier than the average in many societies, the aged are often wealthier than their adult children, and women are much more powerful than men in Western societies, as can be seen by the constant stream of anti-male and pro-women legislation that such societies have enacted since World War II, which has been produced by the massive infiltration of university departments, schools and the media by people with a feminist agenda.

Universities have courses in the Psychology of Women and ignore the Psychology of Men, Ministries of Women’s Affairs and the like proliferate, as do Women’s Studies courses – and some universities even boast of having mainstreamed Feminism, and ban the teaching of Freud because he said things about women that feminists dislike – while those same universities spread a lot of slanderous theories about men. The media are also well known to be feminist-dominated.

Cherry is sexist and not obviously capable of logical reasoning. I have counted 13 examples in her short article of phrases such as “violence towards women”, in a sort of ritual mantra, without the slightest attempt to cite statistics to show that violence towards women is more prevalent than violence towards men – or any other reason for ignoring violence against men. Professor Martin Fiebert's Annotated Domestic Violence Bibliography is obviously something she is ignorant of. It

“examines 196 scholarly investigations: 153 empirical studies and 43 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.“

If Cherry was making a serious attempt to show that it was the fact that Kitty Genovese was a woman that prevented her from being helped, then she would have had to provide comparative data of some sort, at least, on the numbers of bystanders who help women and the number who help men.

Indeed, it was probably the fact that Kitty Genovese was a woman that caused her story to be reported in the first place, and then to be taken up as a cause célèbre by social psychologists. Boyce's 1994 thesis Manufacturing Concern: Worthy and Unworthy Victims: Headline Coverage of Male and Female Victims of Violence in Canadian Daily Newspapers, 1989 to 1992 is obviously something else that Cherry is ignorant of. Boyce states:

“Using conservative estimates, (this thesis) suggests women receive 35 to 51 times more headline coverage than men. This is inconsistent with statistics reporting that men and women are victimized at roughly equal rates (traditionally finding that men are victimized more).”

In other words, Cherry’s approach differs from the approaches which have informed the experimental research literature by being politically inspired, unsystematic, irrational, sexist and simplistic.


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Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

10 November 2019