BOOKS: by Frank Gashumba (reviewer)News Weekly
What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman
, February 4, 2006
How does it feel, baby?WHAT OUR MOTHERS DIDN'T TELL US:
Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman
by Danielle Crittenden
Simon & Schuster
Paperback RRP: A$26.00The passage of time has revealed the long-term consequences of the feminist juggernaut, which has caused an unprecedented stampede by women from hearth and home towards the water-coolers, power-suits and hectic schedules of the nine-to-five world. The baleful results are increasingly apparent.
One tragic result, now incontestable, is the terrible effect that divorce has had on those whom feminist wisdom had confidently assured would be its greatest beneficiaries, namely the women and children involved.
Feminists these days, although few of them explicitly extol the virtues of divorce, nonetheless remain unyielding in their attachment to the apparently inviolable right to easily opt out of a marriage.Disaster
Danielle Crittenden, in her book What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman
, details the manifold follies of feminism and the disaster it has inflicted on society.
Feminists have often argued that industrialisation has diminished women by relegating them to a second-class, subordinate role in society. On the basis of this argument, they have sought to remake society to overcome the inferiority complex from which most women supposedly suffer.
Crittenden is brilliant in systematically dismantling this tenuous feminist edifice. She herself exemplifies a woman's sensitive, intuitive nature, capable of observing the most subtle aspects of human interaction - often lost on the opposite sex - together with a natural eloquence that a man cannot match in dealing with the same subject.
In her analysis of the plight of today's modern women - their trials and tribulations, doubts and secret concerns - Crittenden is unsurpassable.
Her razor-sharp observations and hard-hitting revelations are enough to make even the most dogmatic of feminists stumped for a good riposte.
Dazed by this encounter, hard-core kamikaze feminists have predictably resorted to ad hominem insults and a furious denial that Crittenden has in fact exposed the flaws at the heart of their movement.
The author tips a cold bucket of water over today's young women, who are spaced-out and living in a psychedelic world of their mothers' creation. She snaps them back to their senses and proceeds to remind them of their past ridiculous antics, embarrassing and humiliating them.
She exposes the feminist chimera of sexual liberation for the absurdity it really is. Are women truly happier and more fulfilled by being made more readily available for men to use and abuse as sex objects? "Gimme a break!" retorts Crittenden.
She mercilessly ridicules the high farce of feminism, observing how modern young women are expected to be "strong", "independent" and "liberated" sexually, yet at the same time to be able to resist male depredations.
Crittenden describes the sad experiences of all too many such young women who have come to grief trying to resolve these conflicting imperatives.
Discrediting the mirage of "sexual liberation", she explains how the feminist rebellion, to which so many young women of the 1960s rushed to join, inadvertently inflicted a terrible cost on their daughters. Having cast away the chains that allegedly held women down, feminists at the same time removed society's traditional restraints against the male sexual exploitation of women.
If a young woman wishes to forego the institution of marriage as old-fashioned and irrelevant, then she unfortunately loses the protection that comes with marriage in the form of commitment.
"Will you still love me tomorrow?" went the lyrics of the famous Shirelles song from the 1960s. It is also the question that women have asked ever since they "liberated" themselves from sexuality within the confines of traditional marriage.Naïvety
"How does it feel?" Crittenden asks. How does it feel when tomorrow comes and he's gone and the now silly question of whether he loved the woman is crushingly and shockingly revealed for its naïvety?
How does it feel when a good man is hard to find because, for many men, such easy sex makes being a bad man too irresistible? How does it feel to be stuck between the hard place of the biological drive to have a baby and the rock of a paid career that is at odds with it?
How does it feel for the modern woman to have realised all the spectacular aims of feminism and yet have happiness elude her?
These are the questions Crittenden asks in her poignant book. She offers a modest solution to the dilemma facing the modern women. But the most appealing aspect of the book lies in the author's penetrating mind and powerful arguments, and her ability to leave the honest reader - even if a radical feminist - with nowhere to hide.