WOMEN AND LOVE: A Cultural Revolution in Progress by Shere Hite
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WOMEN AND LOVE: A Cultural Revolution in Progress

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KIRKUS REVIEW

What do women want?"" asked an exasperated Freud. Some 4,500 supply their answers in this third and presumably final volume of The Hire Report. (The first dealt with female sexuality; the second with men's attitudes toward women and love.) The answers--in essay form--respond to 127 questions that cover just about every. thing pertinent to women's relationships (primarily) with men: formative years, early dating, affairs, marriage, divorce, childbearing, child rearing, careers, and so on. The women's voices (from diverse ethnic, economic, religious, and political backgrounds) swell like an oratorio: varied, but with certain identifiable themes. Hite attempts to quantify and interpret the significance of these responses with her own (feminist) ""intuition"" and perspective. Whatever--the media will seize on these findings and disseminate them broadly. A sampling: 84% of the women surveyed are not satisfied with their relationships with men; 92% report frequent sexist comments: 92% of single women are ""outraged"" at constant pressure from men for sex: 70% of those married more than five years have had at least one affair; 91% of divorced women claim the breakup was their idea; 93% of never-married women enjoy their independence. All this sounds grim for the future of love and marriage; yet the women write lyrically of the wonder of early passion. The problem: they eventually found themselves living with someone full of male-oriented concepts of status and power, indifferent to their emotions, intellect, and contributions to family and society. Hite contends that the women are really telling us they ""no longer want to integrate into 'men's' world so much as to reshape the world"" into a ""non-aggressive, nurturing. . .life-oriented"" place. Curiously, none of Hite's questions touch on world-oriented themes; nor do the responses, apart from a minuscule few. Hite's conclusion comes whizzing out of the ether at book's end. Can it be that yet another massive Hite Report is in the wings?

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1987
Publisher: Knopf