WOMEN: American Women in Their Own Words by Mark Baker

WOMEN: American Women in Their Own Words

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In a solid follow-up to Baker's Cops (1985) and 'Nam (1981), one hundred American women discuss life in the wake of the feminist movement. Are there immutable differences between men and women? Has the feminist movement truly liberated women, or has it given them more choices than they can cope with? Why do women put up with men they no longer love, and why don't they leave them even when they're abused? These and other issues are discussed here in purely personal terms, loosely arranged under topics such as ""Sugar, Spice, Things Not So Nice"" and ""Rape"" in an idiomatic, oral-history format. The women interviewed, most of whom are in their 30s or 40s, range in occupation from the president of a philanthropic organization to a homeless mother of five; but the tone is remarkably uniform: practicality, forbearance, and humor take the front line. The subjects' reflections prove as diverse as might be expected from such a wide cross section, but the cumulative effect is certainly powerful as they describe marital difficulties (often claiming that men are emotionally blind), careers (particularly sexual harassment and child-care issues), adolescence (including the reminiscences of a former teen-aged pornographic film actress and those of several teen-aged mothers), and retirement (one elderly woman describes her retired husband driving her crazy by continually wandering ""in the front door and out the back door,"" depriving her of her accustomed privacy). The reader is left with a vivid sense not only of the subjects' steady vision, but of their determination to thrive in the face of often overWhelming odds. A deceptively simple achievement, both perceptive and intimately revealing Many, however, will find that Baker and his interviewees tread overly familiar, if still important, ground here.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Simon & Schuster