THE FUTURE OF MOTHERHOOD by Jessie Bernard

THE FUTURE OF MOTHERHOOD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Don't look back, because ""the wind is blowing in the direction of a life style for women that combines both work or career and motherhood."" Bernard, professor of sociology at Penn State until her retirement, is also the author of The Future of Marriage (1972). Here again she suggests that family institutions as we know them are good for men, bad for women. The Victorian model of the mother role (endlessly loving, tender, giving, patient, devoted, self-sacrificing) is not for everyone, she argues, despite the pressures on women to want babies. Many are angry that no one told them about the ""hidden underside"" of motherhood, of guilt, fatigue, dependency, isolation, anxiety. The young and the educated, presumably Bernard among them, are gestating a future that includes raising the housewife's status, perhaps with a salary, or replacing her with a cleaning crew; role-sharing plans drawn up by both marriage partners; perhaps boosters of male hormones for noncompetitive women. It all sounds so much more like a feminist cliche than an original, objective study. We've already heard this one.

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 1974
Publisher: Dial