THE COST OF LOVING: Women and the New Fear of Intimacy by Megan Marshall

THE COST OF LOVING: Women and the New Fear of Intimacy

Email this review


In the train of Betty Friedan, and others: why today's single professional woman--the successful, unfulfilled 1980s stereotype--should shuck the Myth of Independence and reconsider marriage. The general idea is true-to-recent life: women did reject what they saw as their mother's subjugation, and aspire to self-sufficiency; as the years pass, many do have second thoughts. The presentation, however, is Packaged Rethinking--complete with handy labels, pop-psychology nostrums, and cases-in-point. Marshall interviewed 40 unmarried achievers around the country--members of what she calls the Control Generation--and found them lost souls. For the group she dubs Brave New Women--represented here by Ellen Barnes the Professional, Lynn Feldman the Feminist, Rikki Sanchez the Sexual Revolutionary--""learning to stand up for themselves had meant shutting off women's once instinctive emotionality and compassion."" Those she categorizes as Self. Seekers--April Benson the Loner, Laurie MacVey the Heroine, Kate Holloway the Conformist--""found, most often, only isolation."" The Caretakers--two in the helping professions, one unmarried mother--were, ""deep down, more troubled"": ""Believing they had all the answers, they had stopped searching. . . ."" The cases raise valid points--especially of specific, unliberated reactions to maternal models. But invocations of fear-of-intimacy, buttressed by reference to women's nurturing nature (Carol Gilligan, Nancy Chodorow), leave lots of female concerns unresolved.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1984
Publisher: Putnam