FREE TO BE A WOMAN by Patricia Kennedy Helman


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Women's Lib, or Sunday school homilies? We searched in vain through Mrs. Helman's ""Christian frame of reference"" for some edification re the notorious misogyny of St. Paul and Augustine, the Biblical foundations of the ""second sex"" theory, or, at least, ""the road from Adam and Eve to 'Momism"". Alas, there was none. In fact, Mrs. Helman instructs her readers on how to be more fulfilled within the hallowed, traditional roles of wife and mother, and though she promotes the old ""homemaker"" from Good Housepeeking to the more imposing, up-to-date ""placemaker,"" the ""inherent need"" to set the scene for ""procreation and nurture"" is simply assumed as an eternal verity, marriage-cum-babies remain Eve's raison d'etre, and you are reminded that ""cutting up an onion"" and other lowly household tasks can be ""highly creative"" if approached with a sense of ""awareness."" Mrs. Helman scolds TV commercials for depicting women as inane ""fluff"" and contemporary writers (Nabokov, Mailer, Williams, Salinger, Albee, Roth) for their ""grotesque and degrading characterizations of womanhood""; she would like to see a return to heroines of old like Amelia Earhart and Susan B. Anthony to improve the female self-image. For the woman who is ""seeking to satisfy her deepest spiritual nature"" a salve from the patent medicine counter to be swallowed with a large glass of holy water.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1971
Publisher: Doubleday