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Mother, Daughter, Sister, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood Hardcover – November 1, 2005
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About the Author
Joanne B. Eicher, Regents Professor of the Department of Design, Housing and Apparel at the University of Minnesota, co-authored a recent text, The Visible Self, and edited or co-edited the following books: Fashion Foundations: Early Writings on Dress (2003), Dress and Gender, Dress and Identity, Beads and Beadmakers. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Lisa Ling, host of the National Geographic Channel's Explorer, takes on challenging assignments that immerse her in far-flung places and cultures. Previously, she was co-host with Barbara Walters of ABC's popular morning talk show, The View. She is a frequent guest on Oprah, where she discusses international women's issues.
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Top customer reviews
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I gave it as a present to my Father's wife, she has a grown daughter from previous marriage.
I am going to re buy the title for myself to keep and cherish. Thank You. Beautiful concept and beautiful book.
On the upside, though, there are many unique images in this book-- lots of photos that create insights into other cultures, which you would otherwise never see. To me, the book is worth owning just for those gorgeous and interesting photos. If you're looking for depth of content about "rituals of womanhood," however, you may want to look elsewhere. The text glosses over the subject, covering rituals that sound fascinating in two or three sentences, then moving on. Basically it's a long general essay. There's more depth to "Women in the Material World" by d'Aluisio, and less judgment in "Women" by Leibovitz. But if you're a fan of this type of book, this one makes for good general reading.
I read this book in its entirely. Of course, while it is tempting to concentrate on the photos and skim the text, it is very important to note that the pictures can only be partly understood without the accompanying prose.
As a long-time supporter of The National Geographic Society, I am sad to admit that I was disappointed. I found it surprising that National Geographic published this book with at least three major problems. First, the text was not well written and needed more editing. Second, when I tried to look up two subjects in the index, the pages listed for those topics were incorrect.
Finally - and for me this was the most egregious error - although the authors were quite unflinching in their criticism of the cruelty inherent in certain culturally sanctioned practices such as bride burnings in India and the murder of little girls in China, of genital mutilation as practiced in Africa and parts of Southwest Asia, we discover hardly the slightest protest, except to note that "clitoridectomy" is "controversial to many people" outside one particular culture mentioned that practices it (p. 32). The only other reference is an elegant chiaroscuro photograph which depicts "a newly circumcised bride rest(ing) with a friend." Apparently, the murder of brides and female infanticide are one thing, but the authors don't want to appear culturally insensitive when it comes to the removal of young girls' genitals.
The question goes unanswered: How is the slicing away of a child's clitoris (and it is almost always a child, who by definition has no choice in the matter), which often also involves the removal of the inner and sometimes outer labia, and the nearly complete sewing together of the entire vaginal opening -- frequently under questionable hygienic conditions and without anesthesia, which causes excruciating pain and often leads to severe infection and in some cases permanent disability and even death -- off limits to criticism? This is passing strange, and National Geographic certainly has some explaining to do.
This has all the hallmarks of a "rush job." If you want to own this book, I would definitely wait for the next edition -- if there is one.