BOUND BY LOVE: The Sweet Trap of Daughterhood by Lucy & Paula Webster Gilbert

BOUND BY LOVE: The Sweet Trap of Daughterhood

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Sweet trap,"" indeed: this is the kind of harangue that gives feminism a bad name. Here, the woman is Victim--of programming by mommy and daddy; of wife-battering; of rape and ""other heterosexual rituals""; of emotional seduction by father, possibly of incest; etc., etc. Paradoxically, we're told, the truly ""feminine"" woman must be helpless and dependent enough to attract a man, yet strong enough to be the self-sacrificing martyr for husband and children. Seldom is there even a glimmer of awareness that roles have already changed drastically, or that individual variations might soften the effect of this early, debilitating conditioning. Three archetypes of femininity are presented: the Good Girl, as programmed by her mother to be ""altruistic, selfless, and concerned""; the Princess, or Daddy's Little Girl, a role that backfires in incest; and the Bad Girl, the one who dares to ""grab for that pot of gold herself, often self-destructively and always unsuccessfully."" Even the rapist is in cahoots with a woman's parents--""culture's avenger for the daughter's attempts to have sexual autonomy. . . ."" Wife-batterers, on the other hand, indulge themselves because, quite simply, they can get away with it: they have society's OK to express anger and stress physically, and the compliance of a wife with a ""birthright"" of passivity. A stick-figure approach to women's problems--and, at the least, out-of-date.

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 1982
Publisher: Beacon