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True Confessions: Feminist Professors Tell Stories Out of School Hardcover – August 29, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Gubar received the Natalie Davis Spingarn Writers Award from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and, with Sandra M. Gilbert, was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Critics Circle. She is the Distinguished Emeritus Professor of English at Indiana University and lives in Bloomington.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 334 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (August 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393076431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393076431
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,785,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I think of myself as a first-generation feminist. Betty Freidan's The Feminine Mystique opened my eyes when I was in my twenties. I earned my Ph.D. and became an outlaw among the doctors' wives I associated with; I wore blue jean suits when they wore silk dresses. I was never a hard-core feminist, I shed my bra only when I thought I could get away with it and I never smoked pot. Much of the sixties escaped me because I was a newlywed, a graduate student, and a new mother, but I staunchly defended women's right to abortion, equal pay, equal opportunity, and freedom. The contributors to True Confessions left me behind in the dust.

In the first part of the book, "Personal Narratives," the writers seem, in one way or another, to be rebelling against their dysfunctional childhoods. As one woman says "I had to do what I could to share the news with other women." I don't relate to several of them who react with matrophobia--the fear of becoming like your mother. My mother gave me great love, taught me to laugh at the silliest things, to love education, and--perhaps her greatest gift--to love cooking. In retrospect, I realize she was dependant, sometimes manipulative, the perfect pre-Freidan wife and mother, but she did what worked for her. And she passed it on to me.

These women speak a language foreign to me: labial politics and labial pedagogy (it has to do with layers but bewilders me completely). Then there were the fathers whose deep and dark private parts were always a secret. Really? I never thought about it much. I had a brother so I knew about male anatomy. No big secret there.

The parents described in the book were unloving and destructive--strident grandmothers, doormat mothers, and critical fathers who never praised their children.
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