"MY ENEMY, MY LOVE: Man-Hating and Ambivalence in Women's Lives" by Judith Levine

"MY ENEMY, MY LOVE: Man-Hating and Ambivalence in Women's Lives"

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, a contributing editor to New York Woman convincingly argues that some degree of man-hating (""misandry"") is practically universal among American women today. For evidence of man-hating, Levine draws on 80 in-depth interviews with women of various social classes, ethnic backgrounds, occupations, and sexual orientations. Nearly all women, she finds, perceive men as fitting one or more stereotypes: either that of needy ""Infant,"" exploitative ""Betrayer,"" or testosterone-poisoned ""Beast."" Levine goes on to describe the genesis of such attitudes in women's first relationships with their fathers, and represents the feminist movement of the 60's and 70's as the first time that women recognized the commonality of these feelings and claimed the right to express them. Her discussion concludes with portraits of individual women and the strategies they have found for dealing with their hatred or ambivalence: total avoidance of men; intimacy marred by strife; rage and disappointment; utter capitulation. In only one couple does Levine find an egalitarianism that exemplifies her own vision of a future in which gender will be seen simply as interesting difference, not superiority or inferiority, and in which the work, concerns, and privileges of both sexes will be shared equally. Thoughtful and balanced, despite its volatile subject, and deserving a place on the same postfeminist shelf as Deborah Tannen's You Just Don't Understand, Myriam Miedzian's Boys Will Be Boys, or Susan Faludi's Backlash.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Doubleday