BECOMING WOMAN: The Quest for Wholeness in Female Experience by Penelope Washbourn

BECOMING WOMAN: The Quest for Wholeness in Female Experience

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This short book proposes to isolate the points of ""identity crisis"" in the lives of women, to show how our culture fails to observe them with appropriate ""rites of passage,"" and to give ideas on how each of these crisis times may be met ""gracefully,"" or creatively, instead of in a role-bound, ""demonic"" way. In ten chapters, from Menstruation through Anticipating Death, Washbourn develops the same few points, notably the importance of the special rhythms and seasons of the female body and the need for every woman to be a spiritual ""virgin"" with a sense of her ""ultimate worth"" and her ""unique purpose in life."" The author, trained as a Christian theologian, contends that ""for there to be a new order, the old one must be displaced."" Thus, as she faces each successive stage of life, a woman must be unashamed to recognize it is a crisis and then permit the death of one stage in preparation for her rebirth into the next. The sections dealing with the events--like menstruation, marriage, and first pregnancy--most deeply shrouded in convention and romance and which occur when the woman is young, might be helpful to parents and teachers. In the chapters on later life one meets naive statements like, ""Old age is a drag. Dying is a bore,"" and it becomes harder to take the book seriously. But the basic ideas here are sound enough, though in range, style, and structure Becoming Woman is no challenge.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row