War Against Women

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9780140171310: War Against Women

"Terrifying...Impressive...A challenging esay that justifies the feminist revival."
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Bestselling author and feminist scholar Marilyn French has written a shocking and fascinating analysis of the history of women's political, cultural, physical, and economic repression that is as controversial as it is utterly convincing. In this stunning work of resarch, Ms. French creates a devastating portrait of today's male-dominated global society, with its underlying aim of destroying, subjugating, or mutilating women. Here is a devastating indictment of our values and an important step toward an urgent public discussion of human morality.
From the Trade Paperback edition.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

French takes on global sexism from the fall of the ancient goddess-worshiping societies to routine modern-day oppression of women in every nation of the world--quite a large bite to chew, and not always thoroughly masticated. ``Humans are the only species in which one sex consistently preys upon the other,'' French proclaims in this determined attempt to sound an alarm to women around the world. ``Men's need to dominate women may be based in their own sense of marginality or emptiness; we do not know its root, and men are making no effort to discover it. But men's long-standing war against women is now, in reaction to women's movements across the world, taking on a new ferocity, new urgency, and new veneers.'' Dating the birth of male insecurity to a decrease in dependence on hunting in ancient matriarchal societies (which, French claims, led to defensive efforts to dominate women and nature through hunting cults, male initiation rites, male deities, and, eventually, the state- sanctioned ``ownership'' of women's bodies), the author asserts that today's nations continue to wage war against women: systemically, through organized religion and international economic policies that fail to value unpaid but indispensable ``women's work''; institutionally, in medicine, science, and law; culturally, via sexist language, advertising, arts, and other media; and individually, through largely unpunished rape, wife-beating, sexual harassment, and incest. French's passion, though otherwise somewhat reminiscent of Susan Faludi's Backlash (1991), is seriously undermined by her overambitious attempt to investigate sexism in every society at once--as well as by undocumented, sweeping accusations (``all male violence toward women is part of a concerted campaign'') and unchecked hyperbole (``Since patriarchy began, prostitution is the only work for which men pay women enough to support themselves'') that obscure the many facts that French reveals once her anger abates. A feminist call to arms--headstrong and provocative. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

French (author of the groundbreaking novel The Women's Room , LJ 11/15/77) states what she is about in her title. This exhausting, horrifying, and deeply saddening compendium catalogs religious, sociological, institutional, and physical oppression of women throughout the world. While it is extensively footnoted, French's essays are focused toward raising readers' consciousness of legal and political strictures; statistics on rape, incest, female infanticide, and clitoridectomy; and male obsession with controlling female reproduction. Little of what is contained here will be news to any conscientious reader of Ms . magazine. One wonders who French perceives as her audience, as most feminists are probably aware of the global difficulites faced by women, and those who would not take on the feminist designation may simply dismiss her arguments. Although much shorter than Susan Faludi's extraordinary Backlash ( LJ 9/15/91; an LJ "Best Book of 1991"), which took aim primarily at media manipulation, French's book is less accessible and more demanding of readers. For academic collections, and public libraries where interest warrants. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/91.
- GraceAnne A. DeCandido, "School Library Journal"
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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French, Marilyn
Published by Simon & Schuster 1992-01-01 (1992)
ISBN 10: 0140171312 ISBN 13: 9780140171310
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