CEASEFIRE! by Cathy Young


Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality
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A call for men and women to stand down from the gender wars, culminating with a 12-step program that is intended to lay common ground in “trying to make life better for all of us—women, men, and our children.” The author’s thesis is that, as feminists of the 1970s achieved the goals they appropriately sought—i.e., equality in the workplace and elsewhere in society—ideologies hardened. Young disputes the feminist belief that the personal is political; what’s personal is personal, she claims, and the battle for equal rights is not an excuse for portraying men as “fundamentally malevolent.” Although feminists themselves are divided regarding various issues—pornography, most visibly—they share, according to the author, “a propensity for sweeping statements based on modest evidence.” Young offers evidence that other basic feminist credos are mistaken: e.g., that male violence is directed primarily against women or that male privilege comes without any price (men die younger, she points out). Young, a journalist who describes herself as a “dissident feminist,” contends that rape is not a bias crime. She also examines the men’s movement, where men often take on the role of victim, and what she views as the confused response from political conservatives regarding gender roles. The 12 steps to an egalitarian society include such seemingly innocuous (but, on examination, distinctly provocative) propositions as “Take gender politics out of the war on domestic violence” and “In politics, stop treating women as an interest group and acting as if women’s claims were more legitimate than men’s.” A bucket of cool water on whiners of both sexes, along with a convincing appeal to look “fairly and compassionately at both sides of these conflicts.”

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-83442-1
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1999


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