Today, women's 'problem that has no name' is children."" Fox-Genovese's chutzpahfilled appropriation of Betty Friedan's...


"""FEMINISM IS NOT THE STORY OF MY LIFE"": How Today's Feminist Elite Has Lost Touch with the Real Concerns of Women"

Today, women's 'problem that has no name' is children."" Fox-Genovese's chutzpahfilled appropriation of Betty Friedan's famous phrase sums up her case for more family-friendly social policies. Radical and elitist feminists, she claims, with their ostensible overemphasis on having ""upscale careers,"" ""equality with men,"" and avoiding the ""burdens"" of motherhood, ignore the real needs of most women, who are working mothers. But this is only one aspect of Fox-Genovese's (Humanities and History/Emory Univ.; Feminism Without Illusions, not reviewed) larger argument that children are a fact of most women's lives, one that is being overlooked by everyone--men and women, feminists and conservatives alike. Many feminists, she says, prize women's independence but not women's maternal instincts; conservatives value family and motherhood but make no provisions for women to secure fulfilling work. As a result, ""our failure to meet the needs of children, and the needs of the women who bear them, is costing us heavily,"" and children are the ones who lose most. But though she stresses the hypocrisy of conservatives, she still assigns the brunt of the blame to radical and elitist feminists. Her broadsides on those feminists who attack the notion of the ""Mommy track"" (which, she asserts, would provide ""what millions of women want""), or oppose restrictions on abortion, or condemn conventional standards of femininity seem like a grab bag of personal gripes and detract from her central (and less hackneyed) point that radical feminists and political conservatives form a united front against the needs of most women. Fox-Genovese concludes her tract with an effusive paean to children that rivals the platitudinous sentiments she condemns in conservatives, illustrating, as she does in the preceding chapters, that feminism is not the story of this book.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996


Page Count: 288

Publisher: Talese/Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1995