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Ceasefire!: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality Hardcover – February 22, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this stirring rebuke to the doomsday writings of feminist authors such as Susan Faludi (Backlash), Cathy Young provides a commonsense approach to resolving the political and personal war between the sexes. There is no "war against women," proclaims Young, who smartly rebuts the phony scholarship of advocacy groups on a series of controversial issues, from the incidence of domestic violence (not as frequent as you might think) to the wage gap (much smaller than you've been told). Young's intelligent handling of this data--the strongest aspect of the book--allows her to advance dozens of contrarian ideas. Although many of her targets are on the political left, she certainly is no right-winger. In fact, Young embraces many aspects of the sexual revolution, and devotes an entire chapter to attacking conservative authors such as George Gilder and F. Carolyn Graglia for their views on gender. In the final chapter of Ceasefire, Young offers a series of proposals for de-escalating the gender wars: don't assume sexism is the root cause of all women's problems, rewrite sexual harassment law, demand that husbands and wives serve as equal parents, and so on. Many readers will haggle with Young over several of her interpretations, but by book's end she probably will have them on her side. A well-argued and carefully reasoned polemic. --John J. Miller

From Kirkus Reviews

A call for men and women to stand down from the gender wars, culminating with a 12-step program that is intended to lay common ground in ``trying to make life better for all of uswomen, men, and our children.'' The author's thesis is that, as feminists of the 1970s achieved the goals they appropriately soughti.e., equality in the workplace and elsewhere in societyideologies hardened. Young disputes the feminist belief that the personal is political; whats personal is personal, she claims, and the battle for equal rights is not an excuse for portraying men as fundamentally malevolent.'' Although feminists themselves are divided regarding various issuespornography, most visiblythey share, according to the author, ``a propensity for sweeping statements based on modest evidence.'' Young offers evidence that other basic feminist credos are mistaken: e.g., that male violence is directed primarily against women or that male privilege comes without any price (men die younger, she points out). Young, a journalist who describes herself as a ``dissident feminist,'' contends that rape is not a bias crime. She also examines the men's movement, where men often take on the role of victim, and what she views as the confused response from political conservatives regarding gender roles. The 12 steps to an egalitarian society include such seemingly innocuous (but, on examination, distinctly provocative) propositions as Take gender politics out of the war on domestic violence and In politics, stop treating women as an interest group and acting as if womens claims were more legitimate than mens. A bucket of cool water on whiners of both sexes, along with a convincing appeal to look ``fairly and compassionately at both sides of these conflicts.'' -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (February 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684834421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684834429
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,423,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It is symptomatic of the times that any criticism of feminist orthodoxy can only be delivered by a woman. Even then, any hint of allegiance to conservative politics is an automatic disqualifier. It labels one as a reactionary mouthpiece for the alleged forces of patriarchy. Fortunately, there are a growing number of young women challenging feminism's victim-cult politics. Unfortunately, contemporary pioneers for sanity in gender politics such as Rene Denfeld and Christina Hoff Sommers are not likely to get equal time - if they get any at all - in university women's studies departments.
Equally so, Cathy Young, a regular columnist for the Detroit News and contributor to Reason Magazine, is not likely to hit the recommended reading lists of those with a partisan interest in the exploitation male female differences. As the title Ceasfire! suggests, the gender war has gone too far and, as Young exhaustively documents within its covers, damaged too many innocents.
Says Young, "Things were simpler a decade ago, when there were just feminists and anti-feminists." But today there are two feminisms. One is 'equity' feminism; that is simply the commonsense call for equal rights and opportunities. Young is solidly in this camp. No problem there, but its radical counterpart, dubbed 'gender' feminism, defines itself in warlike terms against male oppression. Proclaiming victim status for women leads to a hoard of injustices, not only against men, but nearly as often against women.
Young doesn't suggest men and women are androgynous, but unlike suggestions of Mars and Venus, she places them both solidly on planet earth. They share substantially the same ability to wrong each other - and that they do.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
We on the left have a tendency to make a hero of the "victim" whoever he or she may be. To do so, we need our "reasons." We concoct statistics of victimhood, rely on our gurus (e.g., Catherine McKinnon, et al), usually avoiding decadent "male" critical thinking, to develop abstractions to prove the victimhood of same. When our findings are challenged, we throw flames at the straw person into which we've transformed the challenger, claiming most often that the challenge is of no merit because of the credentials, political affiliation, or alleged diabolical objectives of the challenger. As the challenges become more substantial, the flames become hotter.
While the person who recommended the book to me is one whom I trust, I had some reservations about it as Young is affiliated with the Cato Institute, a conservative libertarian think tank. I was relieved to find that, while the book seems aimed at a conservative readership--there is a chapter dedicated to the mistakes of conservatives--by and large the book is a pretty safe analysis of contemporary feminists who are so dedicated to their status as victims that they've endorsed a veritable "paleo-sexism" as Young calls it. And this victimhood is, to me, the opposite of what feminism is supposed to be about! The feminists I've admired have insisted on claiming their own turf, on demanding their rights as citizens, not insisting that their rights are contingent upon their subservience to the omnipotent men.
Oh, and Young had the audacity to acknowledge that women too abuse their kids--and their spouses--much more than many a feminist or court is willing to acknowledge. Thank you, Ms. Young. If a man were to say the same thing, he'd be accused of bitter cynicism.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Diana Lynton on February 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
First of all let me assure you that there is nothing wrong with American women. There is something very wrong, though, why American feminism "group-think", notably "victim feminism" (Oh, come on, is there *really* any other kind of influential feminism nowadays?). Which strikes me as very, very odd. Blame it on my European identity, cultural and otherwise, but the increasingly virulent rethoric of victim feminism makes absolutely no sense to me. It takes women who are born into one of the richest societies in the civilised world and clothes them in the garments of a Third World-esque "oppression". The irony is, of course, that most of these women have not met with much oppression during their lives and that they have a world of opportunities open to them in a way undreamt to their ancestors, both male and female.
Not that I intend to deny that the odd male chauvinist still exists, but to claim that the way to eliminate anti-woman attitudes is by encouraging anti-male attitudes is unacceptable in my book. And for anyone with more than a nodding acquaintace with moral and ethics, it is not only unacceptable, it is positively totalitarian. Another thing that I find intriguing (and I say intriguing to avoid the over-emotional conotations of "downright angry") is this mindless connection of victimhood with power. I look at the real victims: at the Third World children who die of hunger in countries brimming with natural riches, at refugees that wait and wait for a peace that will never come, and wonder where does all this "patriarchal oppression" rethoric comes from. I have a little game to pose to those women who are bent on blaming men for their every personal shortcomings.
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