Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Woman's Inhumanity to Woman Paperback – May 1, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Publishers Weekly
Chesler, author of the bestselling Woman and Madness, explores the "shadow side" of sisterhood: women treating each other badly. How could her own mother have been so mean to her? How could someone who "borrowed" published ideas from her not acknowledge her or say "thank you"? In this treatise on breaking the "cycle of cruelty" between women, controversial feminist Chesler addresses why sisters fight, why some women prefer to work for men rather than for women, and other highly subjective cases of woman/woman cruelty. From the "demented Demeters" and "murderous Electras" of Greek mythology to modern-day Mommie Dearest, Chesler warns, mothers and daughters are doomed. Whether they acknowledge their mothers' viciousness, as Chesler does, or whether they're "unconscious" and suffer "amnesia" about the hurt, she says, the patterns are set. Throughout girlhood and into adult life, women repeat the basic lesson in Chesler's words, "maternal envy teaches daughters to be passive, fearful, conformist, obedient as well as similarly cruel to other women." Thus, she says, "an assertive woman manager might be viewed as bitchy and non-maternal." This comment is certainly more digestible than, say, "what complicates the aging process is a woman's life-long experience of all other women as rivals and potential replacements." Chesler draws her evidence from interviews with an unspecified group of women with horror stories: backstabbing by feminist colleagues, sadistic gynecologists, battering lesbians, etc. Needless to say, her book sometimes comes off as quite cynical, despite her claim that "I would like women to treat each other in good ways." (Mar.)Forecast: It's prickly and contentious, but it's Chesler so expect some buzz in the academic feminist circles she inhabits.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Second Wave feminists have for 30-plus years operated under the assumption that sisterhood is powerful. Indeed, women acting in concert have forced society to redefine gender, domestic relations, and the workplace. Still, despite huge gains in public visibility, female ascendance has been hampered by a rarely acknowledged reality: women often betray, hurt, and humiliate one another. Mothers stymie daughters, biological sisters compete, girlfriends gossip maliciously, and women bosses exert arbitrary and capricious authority. Chesler (Women and Madness, etc.) has been studying this phenomenon for 21 years, and her research is fascinating, resonant, and unsettling. While the book focuses on psychological rather than political factors and pays too little attention to race and class, it is nonetheless a groundbreaking look at how women perpetuate oppression. Anthropological, biological, literary, and sociological theories are also tapped, giving the book added heft. Although the text is somewhat repetitious and self-congratulatory, it is highly recommended for all public and academic libraries. Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Chesler reminds us:
"We all have the capacity to act in ways that oppress, dominate, wound (whether or not that power is institutionalized) therefore it is the potential oppressor within that we must resist."
Any woman who has been wounded, betrayed, shunned, targeted or abused by another woman, can appreciate this engrossing and educational read. You will learn that you are not alone in your perceptions of rage and aggression by women towards other women and you are not, in fact, a misogynist by recognizing it. You might also understand more of your own tendencies or if not, those of the women who behave in these ways to other women.
I highly recommend this book to every woman - mothers give it to your daughters and granddaughters, your sisters and all the women you know. I highly recommend this book to every man because men also instinctively know there is something underneath the surface but don't always quite understand what that is. This book is not a condemnation of women though there were feminists who wanted no part of this book at its inception and actively discouraged the author in her attempt.
From the anthropological, sociological, psychiatric, and holistic, these are vitally important findings from more than thirty years of research. Bravo to Chesler for the tireless research which culminated in this book.
The crucial takeaway from this might very well be that this silence of woman's inhumanity against other women must be addressed first and foremost, it must be broken then addressed, before any expectation that mans inhumanity to woman can be repaired.
The book is great in first starting with the group dynamics in monkeys and other primates similar to humans, moving to girls and teenagers and then discussing the adult interactions. I was particualy moved by the story of an honor killing which was caused partly by a women's gossip. I agree that gossip can be really harmful and some people's advice saying just to ignore it undermines the damage that it can do to one's reputation and even one's life. I was a little disappointed that the author does not mention any strategies of how to deal and avoid such situations. She only describes all the harm that women's meanness and spitefulness can cause but never shows how we can avoid becoming victims of other women's envy and jealosity. One strategy that she mentions in one place in the book that some women employ is to try to remove the object of envy that makes other women jealous. The author does not necessarily approves of it but is this the only possible way? Is it possible not to be afraid to be happy, successful, and strive to become a better person and achieve your goals while keeping your women friends and receiving their support that we all crave as a women?
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It resonated with my recent experiences of being backdstabbed at work by other women and experiencing all of the women's spitefulness described in the book (gossip, loss of career opportunities, isolation etc.). I do not think that I am the type of person who causes this type of cruelties although the author mentions women doing it and having an amnesia about it. However, I wish I knew a way of protecting yourself without becoming one of those people who forms cliques, exludes others, gossips and sabotages a girl behind her back.