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47 Reviews
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93 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-read
For a long time I thought I was an oddity for feeling cautious around women, particularly women in the workplace, and that my experiences of betrayal and cruelty at the hands of women were fairly unique. Margaret Atwood's "Cat's Eye" helped me to understand that my experiences were not mine alone; this book went one step further, not only giving additional...
Published on April 8, 2002

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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, but nothing earth-shattering
The concept for Chesler's books is laudable, and the amount of time she put into this work is noteworthy. While I generally agree with most of her theories & findings, nothing contained in the book is necessarily new to anyone who's taken a couple women's studies courses in college. I think this book is great for the set of women who are unfamiliar with the concepts...
Published on October 31, 2002 by Kat Lynch


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A HUSBAND SPEAKS OUT, May 15, 2009
Can't put this book down. Great to see that someone's nailed the problem to the wall. I have seen my wife go through hell at her university job. Mainly, other women have tried to do her in. They gossip behind her back, they tell lies about her. They also give her the cold shoulder. Once, she was almost fired. Her women co-workers are not nice. But no one puts a stop to this bad behavior. I bought this book for her to console her, give her the larger picture. I hope it will help her understand her situation and make the right decision about what to do.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my outlook for the better, September 22, 2008
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This book is sad, funny and rings so true.
I laid it on the table in my women's group, and
all the other women recoiled like I'd dumped a dead cat on the table.
The therapist ridiculed me for bringing it into the group,
but if they had only read the damned book instead of reacting to
the title and attacking me, they'd be a hell of a lot smarter.
I found a new group...
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No More Nice Girls, February 9, 2002
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Finally a book that looks at women's relationships with women through a glass clearly,without the shadow of traditionalism or the glare of feminist polemic. One that dares to be politically incorrect, brilliantly argued, provocative challenging and at times completely enraging!
This well known feminist writer/activist thinker focuses her
lazer sharp insight on the way women fear, hate, desire, despise, sabatoge and long for fusion with other women.
Drawing on socio-biology, psychoanalysis,her own extraordinary experiences within the feminist movement elite, Chesler shows us that the essentialist view of women--where we are more moral, more compassionate, more loving, less violent, less aggressive then men is a lot more wishfull thinking then wish fullfillment.
This is not the dark side of feminism or the feminine -it is just the other side that has been kept in the dark by those who
have no courage to look. Those with an investment in the belief of women's innate moral superiority will have a lot to think about and a lot to answer for not calling womens' sexism when they see it. Cheslers rigorous self/feminist reflection is a breath of fresh air in a time when the "movement" needs moving!
If you have ever been the target of female envy, the girl who was never included, the one who they called nasty names or wondered why your best friend just ruined your life--in other words if you ever were a girl--read this book!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Female Backscratching?, April 1, 2002
By 
Patricia B. Ross (Wellesley, MA USA) - See all my reviews
Thank God Phyllis Chesler wrote this book. It's about time humanity recognized that despite the "sisterhood" that is supposed to characterize and represent the "male brotherhood" of the "old boys club," it definitely doesn't work that way with women. In the backscratching that males do to aid each other, people forget that women have nails, and that backscratching becomes backstabbing more often than not. Whether it's attributable to the fact that women who feel their powerlessness feel a sense of desperation to hang on to it, or whether they are simply frustrated in having been deprived of it for so long, women's defense mechanisms can be far more devastating to other women than they could be, and often prevent that power from growing into something sustainable that can compete upon an equal footing for men in the challenges to be more autonomous. While men have long been known to be spiteful and shoot themselves in the foot, the phenomenon has been little discussed in the "women's movement" where small minds made big differences in failure, and may actually cripple progress. The unwillingness to delegate is part of the problem where so many women feel a possessiveness about their work that they are frantic when questioned or challenged by someone else. There is so little ground upon which to fight that it's a far more embittered battle for the little turf that exists. It may well be considered TARA amplified to its grossest outcome, to everyone's discomfort and disgust even though no one desires it, and might not even admit it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, March 24, 2010
Woman's Inhumanity to Woman

This book challenges the long held belief that men are more competitive than women and that they are the aggressors. Based on decades of research, the author informs us that women are cruel to one another at workplace and within families. Women do crave for approval and friendship of other women but their this psychological need remains unmet because of their feelings of envy ,competition, dislike and mistrust of one another. Generally, women resent the smartest, the prettiest, and the boldest woman in a room with them. Due to societal expectations, women disguise their hostility. They do not attack openly. Amongst women, hierarchies exist; dyads and cliques prevail. Women demand an egalitarian relationship. Consequently, they are threatened when there is slightest change in status of other women in their social network or workplace.

To sum up, it is a great book. It sure is sad and frightening to learn about the insecurities of women and the envious, hostile feelings women harbor.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consciousness Raising for Woman at the Office., May 23, 2009
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Take this book with you to work and show it to your female co-workers, actually take this book where ever you go where you know there will be working woman. It may save your mental health and theirs. I am one of four secretaies and three paralegals, all woman, and we know how to get into it with each other and with the woman lawyers too. I didn't know that woman's "backtalk" is ordinary, universal, but also horrible and dangerous. It can sabotage a project, a working relationship, maybe even your job.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Author, The Subject and The Book Rocked My World, June 11, 2009
I heard Dr. Phyllis Chesler present this material at the 'Association For Research On Mothering and Mamapalooza' Conference in NYC. She spoke to a packed room of feminists of every age, from 19 -80 years old. Each of us were forced to confront this subject with honest, open eyes and this book is a MUST READ for women looking to turn the tables on what has gone before and what must come next. It's a smart read and I hope women everywhere will pick it up and learn these lessons so we can move forward - Finally - Please! Bravo once again Phyllis.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For every feminist's bookshelf: Speaking (difficult) truths, June 9, 2009
As the saying goes, no prophet can preach in his or her own town. Phyllis Chesler has drawn fire from many leading feminists for her forthright criticism of the women's movement in The Death of Feminism and other writings. In this book, Chesler speaks out against a force which undermines women in the drive toward full equality and names it Woman's Inhumanity to Woman. She bases her censure on a weighty overview of scholarly literature and relevant interdisciplinary sources - psychology, history, literature - which is striking in its comprehensive scope. Yet her incisive writing and use of personal anecdotes makes this book gripping and readable throughout. The revised edition provides valuable new perspective on the themes covered in the original, making it a welcome addition.
True to her reputation as provocative, Chesler minces no words and spares no sacred cows. Yet her critique, while often scathing, stems from a place of optimism and from her ultimate confidence in the women's movement to overcome defensiveness and address this important issue, as well as in women and their ability to bridge chasms of mistrust. Her outspokenness challenges us to honest and open discussion. Only once women cease undermining one another and themselves can there be hope: true liberation is not granted by the Male oppressor but comes from within.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A groundbreaking exegesis!! Enlightening!! A Must Read !!, May 5, 2009
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In this seminal exegesis and meticulously researched analysis of the behavior of women towards one another, Dr. Phyllis Chesler hits the nail on the proverbial head when she says that the internal "hard wiring" of women is predicated on the behavior of both the angels and the apes.

In nuanced detail, she explores the cruelty perpetrated amongst women because of patriarchal inspired internalized sexism, the pursuit of men and jealousy on all fronts including careers, families, social circles, financial successes, etc. If women are ever to understand each other and recognize what we're doing to one another, then this book will be an invaluable guide.

What makes this book especially relevant at this juncture in history is the fact that Islamic gender apartheid has taken hold of the entire Muslim world and is, in some cases, fostered by the very women who are being effected by it. Let's take the subject of honor killings of Muslim women. Again, in some cases, but certainly not in all, the instigators and actual murderers of young Muslim women are their own mother-in-laws. Sometimes, most tragically, their own mothers, sisters, aunts, etc.

Kudos to Dr. Chesler for writing and re-releasing this book with an updated intro and new information.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, but nothing earth-shattering, October 31, 2002
The concept for Chesler's books is laudable, and the amount of time she put into this work is noteworthy. While I generally agree with most of her theories & findings, nothing contained in the book is necessarily new to anyone who's taken a couple women's studies courses in college. I think this book is great for the set of women who are unfamiliar with the concepts or who may not believe themselves to be feminists. For others more well-versed in the topic, the insights come across as somewhat obvious.
One of the main features of this book that put me off (as noted by another reviewer) is the poor job of copyediting done by someone at the publishing house. Typos are found throughout, but worse are the sections of many chapters where the author is just short of rambling. There are too many "lists" of supportive data or quotes from others' published works. I wanted more substantive theory, not page after page of anecdotal data.
But for all this criticism, the book is still an interesting read for those, like I described, who haven't yet been exposed to this vein of feminist thought.
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Woman's Inhumanity to Woman
Woman's Inhumanity to Woman by Phyllis Chesler (Paperback - May 1, 2009)
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