Why do contemporary women often have such a hard time getting along with each other, at work, and within the family? Why is female friendship so important to women, despite the prevalence of female betrayals? How does the mother-daughter relationship impede womens growth? This bookdestined to be a controversial classicdraws on recent biological, psychological, and anthropological research, as well as hundreds of original interviews, to redress the complicated silence that has prevailed about womans inhumanity to woman. While women may not be aggressive in the same way that men are, cross-cultural studies confirm that girls and women are equally aggressive in indirect ways, and mainly toward each other. Women envy and compete against other women, not against menand tend to deny this, even to themselves. Like men, many women also hold sexist beliefs; often, they are unaware of it. Women depend upon each other for emotional intimacy and bonding, but their power to form cliques, gossip about, and shun one another enforces conformity and discourages self-confidence and psychological clarity from girlhood on. Are women oppressed? Yes. Do oppressed people internalize the oppressors attitudes? Without a doubt. Women, therefore, must acknowledge their own sexism and gender double-standards before they can practice sisterhood, resist sexism, treat other women ethically, and forge realistic and compassionate personal and political coalitions. Cheslers work is our public conscience.Letty Cottoin Pogrebin
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