MOTHERGUILT by Diane E. Eyer


How Our Culture Blames Mothers for What's Wrong with Society
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 An impassioned plea to stop blaming mothers for the ills of society and to focus, instead, on the real culprits. Eyer (Developmental Psychology/Univ. of Pennsylvania; Mother- Infant Bonding, 1992), explores current research and reveals its deep bias against mothers. She documents how American mothers are blamed for too many of this country's maladies, from poverty and divorce to the high rates of teen pregnancy and incarceration. It is far easier to find a scapegoat, contends Eyer, than to focus on the true offender: an economic system that has allowed 15 percent of the population to fall below the poverty line, and to provide a sufficient amount of acceptable child care. Yet it is the mother who is stigmatized. She is made to feel guilty for not adequately bonding with her babies, for working even when she has young children, and for traumatizing them if she chooses to divorce. And in their efforts to scapegoat women, the child care experts and politicians have somehow ignored the fathers. ``While they earnestly engage in scrutinizing the bad mother,'' Eyer notes, ``the bad father is nowhere to be found.'' What America needs to do, insists Eyer, is to devise a child care system that meets the needs of working mothers and to establish policies in the workplace that will allow both parents to become more involved in their children's day-to-day lives. Eyer examines in detail the child care policies in a variety of industrialized nations, including Sweden, France, Israel, and Japan and concludes that ``on any number of indexes the US has the worst record regarding the care of its young children.'' This country, insists Eyer, has clearly assumed no collective responsibility for its children. A strong indictment of current policies that scapegoat mothers instead of upgrading family services, Motherguilt is both enlightening and disturbing. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8129-2416-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1996


NonfictionSCAPEGOAT by Charlie Campbell
by Charlie Campbell