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An Unconventional Family

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300090925
ISBN-10: 0300090927
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A gripping page-turner of an autobiography." -- Grant Jewell Rich, Sexualities

"A unique memoir of a marriage astonishingly brave both in its living and its telling." -- Carolyn G. Heilbrun, author of Writing a Woman's Life and The Last Gift of Time

"A unique, incredibly honest, and smart memoir that is enjoyable and often quite touching to read." -- Psychology of Women Quarterly

About the Author

Sandra Bem is professor of psychology, women's studies, and lesbian, bisexual, and gay studies at Cornell University. She is also the author of The Lenses of Gender: Transforming the Debate on Sexual Inequality (ISBN 0 300 06163 3, pb. 11.95), published by Yale University Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300090927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300090925
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,101,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sandra Bem is an American psychologist known for her work in gender studies. This book is based on her own life, in which she details how she and her husband's marriage worked and how they chose to raise their children in a gender aschematic way. What I liked was that the book ended with interviews with her son and daughter at the end, so the reader could hear their perspective on their childhood experience. Overall, it's a good read if you're interested in psychology of gender.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading this...so much in fact, that I read it in one day while traveling! This book is mostly about Bem's family, her relationship with her husband, Daryl, and raising her children by her and Daryl's egalitarian rules. It's was a very interesting read, but I feel that I probably enjoyed it so much because I have been reading about her research and theory for my dissertation. She led a very interesting life and it was great to learn about the woman behind her work. I also learned a lot about her public speaking...she and Daryl were local celebrities at one time! I also enjoyed reading about her children's perspective of being raised in a very non traditional way. Great read over all, especially if you're interested in gender roles.
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Format: Paperback
Back in the day, some people figured out that gender is a cultural construction, and that was important. Still is. Some people, or at least one of them, seemed to go from there to gender doesn't matter, if you don't want it to, unless of course you step out of your comfy bubble. Yeah. If you are really gender subversive, like Ms. Bem, then gender suddenly doesn't have to affect you, you can just be who you are and you can raise your kids like that. When they go to school and the unenlightened lumpen proletariat make "uneducated" and "prejudiced" comments such as expressing confusion that a boy's wearing barrettes, you can just reassure your son that he is superior to the masses, although not because he's living an upper middle class white academic sheltered lifestyle with a (pink) backpack full of privilege, but rather because culture is dumb.
I also enjoyed the security of knowing that, although gender is a construction, biological sex sure isn't. That's Science. And while cultural constructions are dumb, Scientific ones are important. THerefore, while your son sure is a boy, what a boy is can be whatever he wants--except, barrettes aside, a girl. Girls and boys are biologically determined. Cultural signifiers, which mislead the bamboozled and ungifted masses into believing that they actually signify, are in fact completely irrelevant when you can step into An Unconventional Family and just take off those lenses of gender. Give your eyes a rest. Let your brain float free from reality, lock your door and forescorn the people who feel that gender constantly impacts their life whether or not they want it to. Really, it's just their lack of imagination and Science when they are confronted by society's concrete barriers to eliminating gender from your life.
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Love this book. Will be using it next time I teach Psychology of Gender. Sandra Bem is one of my heros.
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