Chivalrous Pugilism

Chivalrous Pugilism

How William F. Buckley Tried to K.O. Feminism

December 8, 2016 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Please join us for lunch and the WGS Intellectual Forum

Heather Hendershot (CMS/W/WGS) will present on her current research:

“Chivalrous Pugilism: How William F. Buckley Tried to K.O. Feminism”

William F. Buckley was not a feminist.  This hardly constitutes a shocking revelation.  Yet he was not unsympathetic to all of feminism’s goals, and he did not harbor the callous antipathy toward the movement that is typical of so many on the hard right.  In her presentation, Hendershot will discuss how Buckley grappled with feminism on his long-running public affairs program Firing Line.  While Buckley strongly opposed many of the structural reforms called for by the feminist movement, he was not opposed to the movement’s call for personal empowerment; nor was he opposed to the notion of equal pay for equal work, or, more generally, to the notion that women should seek professional success.  Examining the appearances of Firing Line guests such as Betty Friedan, Phyllis Schlafly, Germaine Greer, and Clare Boothe Luce, Hendershot will show how Buckley attacked the feminist movement while, at the same time, attempting to be “a perfect gentleman.”  Clearly, in these difficult days of mediated punditry and populist demagoguery, there is much to learn from a TV program that offered a model of polite discursive engagement between political opponents.  

Lunch will be served, please RSVP to and note dietary restrictions