BETWEEN MYTH AND MORNING: Women Awakening by Elizabeth Janeway


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A collection of miscellaneous pieces on the Women's Movement which complements and extends the themes of Man's World, Woman's Place (1971). Janeway's feminism focuses on the social and sexual mythologies which have shaped and supported the idea that woman is a creature who finds her satisfactions in the ""inner space"" of the home. From a critique of Freud's dictum ""Anatomy is Destiny"" to a reconsideration of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Janeway explores the struggle of women to expand their boundaries, a struggle which has gained momentum from the atrophy of the extended family -- which offered a richness and diversity of relationships within the home -- and the displacement of economic activity to office and factory. Though women have always been the ""second"" or ""other"" sex, Janeway points out that they have rarely been as isolated and confined as in the middle-class American household where child-rearing is about the only function left them. Thus Janeway feels that about the most important step we can take to liberate women's talents and potentials is to establish day care centers where they work -- an artificial but effective way of reknitting employment and family, permitting career continuity and enriching the environment of children as well as parents. Janeway stands not at the cutting edge of feminism but somewhere in its mainstream, which makes her no less eloquent. From first to last she sees the Woman's Movement as a grand historical necessity propelled not so much by personal anger and dissatisfaction as by sweeping social and economic changes. Its chief aim is the fuller realization of human potential, and, since this is a goal hardly anyone will quarrel with, Janeway has no need for the kind of clobbering polemics used by those who view the Women's Movement as a grand power struggle between the sexes.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1974
Publisher: Morrow