BEYOND SUGAR & SPICE: How Women Grow, Learn, and Thrive by Caryl; Rosalind Barnett & Grace Baruch Rivers

BEYOND SUGAR & SPICE: How Women Grow, Learn, and Thrive

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Those who have kept up with research and thought in the field of female sex-role develpoment will be hard pressed to find genuinely fresh material in this collaboration of journalist and psychologists; however, Rivers et al. synthesize well, and the result is a useful summing up. Chief among their concerns is the notion of female independence and competence: both fathers and mothers, they say, tend to prepare boys for life while ""protecting"" girls from the need to compete or earn a living in the ""outside world."" Hardest hit are women who identify primarily with their mothers; best adjusted are those who identify first and foremost with their fathers. Parents are advised not only to increase their intellectual demands on daughters, but to encourage their participation in team sports (girls' physical fitness tends to deteriorate about ten years before boys'); counteract the adolescent peer pressure that pushes girls to pursue the ""Prince Charming"" myth; and check that such specifics as toys in the nursery do not reflect sex-role stereotyping. The authors do see the tide as changing; they are optimistic that, in principle at least, more and more parents are shunning the limited outlook of the past. The book often lapses into overlapping categories, clumsy repetition of a central idea, supportive overkill; but on balance, it presents the state of the struggle forthrightly and convincingly.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1979
Publisher: Putnam