PASSIONATE ATTACHMENTS: Fathers and Daughters in America Today by Signe Hammer

PASSIONATE ATTACHMENTS: Fathers and Daughters in America Today

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If women started taking a hard look at their mothers in the Seventies, contends Hammer (Daughters and Mothers, 1975), fathers are due for a going over in the Eighties. This one, however, has little new to say. Hammer's relationship with her own father--described as a ""tyrant""--is spot-analyzed throughout sections dealing with sexuality, identity, work, and love, which also draw on the experiences of other father-daughter teams. (""Nearly a hundred"" were interviewed.) Fathers don't demand as much competence or dues-paying from their daughters as from their sons, Hammer observes, yet they expect more in the way of smiling supportiveness. Her ideal in handling sexual energy is a father named Calvin who waxes enthusiastic over his daughter's physical attributes (even admitting to fantasies), but never acts on his enthusiasm. (Callie's father, on the other hand, is overprotective because he was a hell-raiser and expects her dates to be too.) As for identity-formation, father and mother are said to constitute an ""Identity Triangle"": mother provides the model for maternalism, father the feedback that determines ""heterosexual femininity."" This would be all right, says Hammer, if we just used our heterosexual femininity in romantic relationships; but it carries over into other relationships with men, at work and elsewhere. Daughters who succeed, we are told, usually receive their fathers' permission to achieve without fear of losing his support. Often trite--though not necessarily untrue.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1982
Publisher: Rawson--dist. by Scribners