IN TRANSITION: How Feminism, Sexual Liberation, and the Search for Self-Fulfillment Have Altered Our Lives by Judith M. Bardwick

IN TRANSITION: How Feminism, Sexual Liberation, and the Search for Self-Fulfillment Have Altered Our Lives

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A well-modulated appraisal of the related consequences of three contemporary causes: feminism, sexual liberation, and the human potential movement. Psychologist Bardwick maintains that, especially among the young and college-educated, these social movements have already altered behaviors, attitudes, and values, discarding coercive sex roles and traditional expectations, but she cautions against wholesale embrace of change: ""no lifestyle is painless."" Many of her observations seem familiar--from Sunday magazine articles or talk show exchanges--and Bardwick includes her own experiences as representative. But although her subjects are not original, they are honestly analyzed and thoughtfully sounded for implications. For example, she notes that once past the initial search for easy orgasm, both men and women prefer mutual affection to impersonal sex; that men are now as troubled by ""fear of success"" as women; that women can feel competent as housewives or as corporation executives; and that the ""work-driven style of the successful American male,"" although necessary for achievement in the current system, need not always be the model. In the transition from parenthood as duty to parenthood as choice, ""We must see when being a parent deprives us of significant experience and when it holds the potential for extraordinary experience."" Or recognizing the growth which can follow divorce, she does not ignore the initial pain and sense of loss or the subsequent search for commitment that most adults pursue. In other words, some early, much-touted precepts have been re-evaluated, their initial optimism muted but not effaced. An intelligent, balanced contemplation, which avoids unrealistic or narcissistic goals and yet favors a workable androgyny valuing gender identity and improved self-esteem.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1979
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston