ASCENT OF WOMAN by Elisabeth Mann Borgese


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In an attempt to reconcile what she honestly sees with what she honestly believes, Mrs. Borgese assaults sexuality as we know it. She feels that women have been inferior in the past, but that they need not be in the future, and since they can be equal, therefore justice requires the granting of equal rights and opportunities to them. Her thesis that feminization comes with collectivization, that as a society moves from the individualistic to the collective women become increasingly important, is traced in action through religion, language, painting. The place of women in Italy, the United States, Israel (with the army and kibbutz the highest ascent to date), the Soviet Union and China indicates that it is easier to move from pre-individualistic society to post-individualistic rather than running through the individualized stage (as witness India and China vs. the United States and Italy). ""We believe,"" says Mrs. Borgese, ""that a new, specifically human, cultural synthesis of the natural trends of individuation and socialization will change the sex balance and produce superior women, men's true equals."" After presenting various Utopian views, she invites Campanella and Thomas More to her own ideal state which includes life phases in which a single individual transverses and transcends specific sexual roles. While some of the forays are of interest, the total remains enigmatic in its epochal approach. For an initiated audience.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1963
Publisher: Braziller