- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (March 7, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312342314
- ISBN-13: 978-0312342319
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,625,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry Hardcover – March 7, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
The recent rash of books and movies about mean girls may seem to indicate a new phenomenon, but Longfellow observed about a certain little girl almost 200 years ago, "when she was good, she was very good indeed/but when she was bad, she was horrid." The 500 women gender studies scholar Barash interviewed for this exhaustively researched book on female competition confirms that women can indeed be mean. Barash outlines why women compete with each other differently than men do with other men and why women often want to sabotage powerful female rivals. Male competition is goal-oriented and limited, Barash says, while women compete over appearance, children, the workplace and relationships. Why? According to Barash, for women, competition is about identity and relationships, and they have a harder time setting boundaries to competition. Barash devotes chapters to specific areas of competition, from looks to career, and then presents real-life examples of situations in which resentment and jealousy can be used to improve one's life without destroying anyone else's. Overall, this study provides a helpful starting place for any woman wondering if it's possible to get what she wants without hurting or being hurt. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gender-issues expert Barash finds that women's solidarity with one another is mythical in this in-depth treatment of female rivalry, a subject she recognized in previous books but never before focused on in "a study that would show both the external pressures and the internal dynamics that led to envy, jealousy and competition." Insufficient options are the root cause of women's rivalry, she contends, arguing that society's limiting, narrowly defined roles for women create a situation in which there isn't enough to go around; hence, competition. Ironically, her study of 500 heterosexual women of varied ages, races, and backgrounds found that rivalry intensified as women moved from 1950s domesticity to the twenty-first-century's expanded options. Pressure to hide such rivalry has grown, too, and is a key to understanding women's urge to outdo each other conclusively, since the combination of concealment and competition is exhausting, especially for those who came of age during the passionate perihelion of -sisterhood-is-powerful ideology. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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On a more personal note, I first read this book after a "friend" made a serious play for the man who is now my husband. We were in a rough patch, yes, and he was being stupid by responding at all, yes. But what I could not grasp was how SHE could do such a thing. Then, in this book, I read that there are women who want what you have... not because they TRULY want it (or him)... rather, simply because you have it and they do not. Suddenly it was clear... she'd wanted to meet every man I dated before I met my husband. That all clicked after I read this book. She is no longer my friend. He is still my husband... who won? I lost a "friend", trust was damaged, and I regard women with less trust than ever when it comes to my man. I know there are many of you to whom this has happened... this book might help you realize it's not personal... it's a problem with HER. And if you ARE her, get some help for your issues, please.
Read this book, ladies. It opened the eyes of this feminist. We won't truly be able to reach success until we are willing to face down our own demons...and say out loud that sometimes, those demons are ourselves and each other. Healing is possible, but only if we are willing to go there together, with forgiveness and love, and REAL support for each other.
Women rock! Let's rock the world TOGETHER!
On the other hand, the book is a bit long on story-telling and short on analysis. Especially bothersome, to me at least, is the author's failure to distinguish fully the evidence and anecdotes that she gleans from TV and the movies from her real-life interviews. Interleaved with factual material are vignettes taken from Roseanne, Sex and the City, Friends, Desperate Housewives, and so forth. For example, just after describing competitiveness between women in the medical profession (and with hardly a pause), Barash suddenly launches into a recap of an episode she saw on E.R.: "a young nurse living with a doctor feels envious of an attractive resident who develops a crush on the same man..."
Hello! Not real people! You'd think that someone who is a "professor of critical thinking..." (see book flap) might provide a little more in the way of distancing and questioning than the introductory "Although the E.R. writers try to create happy endings for women" (167). A fuller and more analytic attempt to unpack the various ways that media and fiction shape narratives about women might help to explain how we got where we are and be a better first step to understanding what we can do about it than the book's simple exhortations to be nicer and more supportive to each other.
Still and all, read with a certain skepticism, this is an interesting study -- and it is well written enough. It goes beyond discussing the problem to offering solutions, though I remain less sanguine than Barash that simply resolving to be less envious is really going to change human nature.
Most recent customer reviews
The story in this book about the apartment listing stolen by a jealous "friend"...Read more