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Showing 1-10 of 37 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 51 reviews
on October 4, 2013
I am a feminist of the old school, old enough to be the author's mother, and it has been a while since I read a book on the topic so I was interested to see how the generations were faring ....I was not pleased.
There are some good points but they seem lost in the shuffle. What I mostly heard was a woman trying very hard to convince us, and maybe herself, that her perceptions of the world and her experiences were typical and her choices valid. It really didn't sound much different from "is this all there is," in the seventies, just cast in a different set of scenery. So, she wears white after labor day and doesn't obsess over yellow wax buildup? She still seems to look around her at what others are doing and what the media tell her, and does that. So much for independent choice.
The author lives, first of all, in rather rarified air. Believe it or not most women and men do not make it to the top of their professions (there is not room at the top for everyone to be at the top, for one thing) and most of them don't have professions at all. This is the 1% speaking. Hard to get excited about women lawyers making a few hundred thousand less than their male counterparts when you know a huge percent of women...and men...are living on minimum wage or not much more and have no hope of rising to the top of anything. Moreover, believe it or not, some people don't equate a fulfilling life with money and fame.
The author seems to have a very morbid fear of aging, a conviction that all women want to...no, MUST bear children to prove their value, and hanging out in a profession that puts her mostly in the company of twenty year olds may be what has her obsessing over shoes and fashion and waxing her legs, like the bimbos we former-day feminists were so driven not to emulate.
So when she finally writes a few decent pages about making careful choices and being realistic and not setting oneself up to overextend, it seems like too little too late. Does she herself dare to march to a different drummer, or compose her own music to march to? Or would she be looking around anxiously to make sure others still thought she was dressed right and "with it?"
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on September 17, 2013
This book is invaluable in helping smart women think through the question, "What am I committed to becoming?" Dr. Spar provides incredible research, warm insight, and non-judgmental compassion for women who need a better compass to move forward - at least better than the one we absorb from society (often without questioning why we're doing what we're doing). The book shares humorous, poignant moments from Dr. Spar's own experiences and struggles, moving from research to reality. It's a breath of fresh air for people suffocating under the stress of taking on too much by default. Her voice is a much needed one in the discussion about "what does it mean to flourish?" A group of women and I have decided to read it and use it to start a dialogue on the topics Dr. Spar raises over the next year in our own city.
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on October 11, 2013
A couple of years back, I met two young college students so that I could mentor them about a new women's group forming at their university. I described myself as a "feminist"--mind you, I am afraid that I am a feminist of the Debora Spar's generation. The young women looked at me as if I had just used a four letter word.
I believe this book is a good starting point for a dialogue with the younger generation who is uncomfortable using the word "feminist." It also explains the experience of a certain set of women. I found myself wanting more ideas about what we can do--if you are looking for the next "feminist manifesto" I am afraid you will be disappointed. On the other hand, the prose was clear, engaging, easy to read...and I found the information well organized. We all are our "story" and for me this one resonated more than Leaning In. If nothing else, the book articulates the perils of going from a movement to individualism and perfectionism. Maybe it's not academic, but sometimes anecdotes and common sense are just as helpful. Overall, a good read and one that I would recommend.
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on October 8, 2013
The most interesting part of this book was the young women's attitude about drinking and sex--something I can only view as a 67-year-old watching drunken girls hooking up as I fear for their safety. So, it really is that wide spread. Sigh. That could have been a rather long article or a report instead of a book. I tried to think of the book I'd read several years ago which I thought truly captured some of the issues women face, and I'm fairly certain it was The Type E Woman: How to Overcome the Stress of Being Everything to Everybody. If I can still remember quoting parts to other stressed women, it must have been helpful and memorable to me. I can't remember anything noteworthy to quote from this book--and I finished it last week. As the mother-in-law of a young woman who has decided (along with my son) that she does not want to have children, I found the book tone deaf in understanding and validating that choice. This book is not the answer that women are looking for to explain their lives.
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on November 23, 2013
Provocative blend of the data-driven analysis, Dr. Debora Spar is known for, with insightful personal observations of womens' careers as they unfold over the course of their lives. The value of this book is that it re-focuses our attention to preserving opportunity for women to excel in their lives without the pressure to be perfect at everything. Women of all ages will gain insight from this book and much needed clarity of purpose that good research encourages. Thanks for this book. Keep writing.
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VINE VOICEon April 14, 2014
Author Debora Spar, using herself and intimate others, as well as historical figures, has written an excellent examination of women's quest for equality, mostly, but not entirely, in the western hemisphere. Because of her frank and straightforward attitude, readers will smile, nod in recognition, grind their teeth in frustration and, in the end, recognize the truth of Spar's contention. Much has been gained, over the years, some has been lost and there is still a great deal to be done for women to achieve their rightful roles. And that comes with a recognition that we will never live in a perfect world. The quest will continue.
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on May 19, 2014
Great read for any woman who questions whether she can really "be" it all- employee or boss, wife and mother. It's refreshing to know that the expectations really are set high and that we should stop feeling guilty when we are not perfect but are doing our best.
This book also helped me understand my mother better and why she is the way she is.
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on September 28, 2013
I agree with the other 3-star review that the author seems conflicted. She is horrified at her young students who factor future children and husbands into their school and career plans, yet insists that the vast majority of women want children and gives dire warnings about declining fertility after the age of 30. How old fashioned is that? Her 'proof' is that her accomplished friend, tired of money, promotions, and travel, went through extensive fertility treatments. Although the author promotes choice, the only valid life path for her seems to be a high-powered career and the requisite 2.4 kids, maybe with some job and telework flexibility right after birth. She pities women who choose to stay home and poo poos bonding/attachment with a newborn as part of that unnecessary quest for perfection. (She herself was on travel 5 weeks after giving birth and makes a flip comment about having a backup plan for when a child gets croup the night before your presentation. Why have kids if they're such an inconvenience?). She gives little mention of the expense of daycare, and almost no mention of the quality: a recent study showed that most daycares are mediocre at best. She gives a lot of attention to gender and biological differences, but I think the truth is, we just don't know. One study showed that women in matriarchal societies were even more competitive than men in patriarchal societies. Spar does make some great points - e.g., that the insistence on women's perfection starts early in life (girls have to be princesses, athletes, and honor students at the same time). Although I'm part of the target audience - working professional mom - I didn't relate quite in the way I thought I would. I prefer Michelle Goldberg's book for a true picture of 'choice."
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on January 16, 2014
I heard about this book on NPR, and, listening both to the interview of the author and a couple of excerpts, I absolutely had to pick up a copy.
I think this book is a must-read for all women, young, old, career-oriented or homemaking. Career-oriented AND homemaking. Whatever your goal(s) and/or dating/work/living situation(s), this book is a great look at the evolution of women's roles and the approach to our sexuality. Best advice from this book, of course, is to be realistic in your expectations of yourself.
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on February 21, 2014
I got this book for my wife. Before she even read it, she got suspicious and started to question my motivation for getting her the book. I just told her to read it and she will know why I got it for her.
I purchased this book after reading its review online. It is a good book for women who think that they have do it all.
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