THE WOMEN WHO BROKE ALL THE RULES by Susan B. Evans

THE WOMEN WHO BROKE ALL THE RULES

How the Choices of a Generation Changed Our Lives
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A feeble attempt to explain how women got where they are today. The women’s movement is still evolving, yet already people are analyzing what really happened way back in the 1960s. Evans and Avis, experts in interpersonal communications and psychology respectively, both at the University of San Francisco, interviewed more than 100 women who came of age in the late ’60s and early ’70s, their theory being that these “torchbearers,” who broke new social ground and crushed certain accepted gender conventions, could help shed light on how women forced social change. Unfortunately, the authors reduce this intriguing idea to pap, resorting to clichés under the guise of “new truths” such as “You’ve got to have friends” and “If it’s a trial by fire, don’t forget to bring marshmallows.” In attempting to consolidate a lot of information, Evans and Avis trivialize individual women in stereotypical caricatures. Joyce, for instance, was a radical leftist who created coffee houses near military bases to encourage soldiers to question the Vietnam War. Later she tried to join the army to better organize from the inside. (Her father secretly sabotaged the attempt by calling the FBI.) Her ultimate decision to marry a conservative, apolitical man and live a “settled middle-class life focused on family” is evaluated by noting “she did so with a deep sense of satisfaction, knowing she had been true to herself and had contributed to stopping social injustice.” Is that all there is to say about such an original life? The book also traffics in the worst sort of New Age-isms: “Create balance in your life.” This is a woman thing? The authors” annoyingly simple explanations don—t do justice to a time period deserving of better analysis.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1999
ISBN: 1-57071-430-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1999