Thursday, March 11, 2010

The War Against Women ~ by Marilyn French, 1992

Although I took 16 pages of notes while reading this book, I will refrain from sharing all of that with you and quote only three small parts.  I hope you take the time to think about each of them.
"To understand the discrimination in state policies regarding reproduction, imagine a government forcibly sterilizing men or allowing their mothers or wives or sisters to lock them up, beat them, or castrate them for sexual behavior" (pp. 117-118).

"Military work is counted as a valuable contribution to society; raising children is not. ... And while states glorify soldiers who fight the wars, most of those killed in them are women and children" (p. 37).

"As long as some men use physical force to subjugate females, all men need not.  The knowledge that some men do suffices to threaten all women.  Beyond that, it is not necessary to beat up a woman to beat her down.  A man can simply refuse to hire women in well-paid jobs, extract as much or more work from women than men but pay them less, or treat women disrespectfully at work or at home.  He can fail to support a child he has engendered, demand the woman he lives with wait on him like a servant.  He can beat or kill the woman he claims to love, he can rape women, whether mate, acquaintance, or stranger; he can rape or sexually molest his daughters, nieces, stepchildren, or the children of a woman he claims to love.  The vast majority of men in the world do one or more of the above" (p. 182).
I checked this book out of my library at the same time I got Susan Faludi's book Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (1991), but read French's book first simply because it had fewer pages.  Backlash, at 552 pages, is a thick book.
Reading this book made me angry.   It riled me.  It made me dream of a society where women were in charge, rather than men.  And I found that someone else had already "dreamed up" such a society and had written it into a well-known book.   I got that book from my library and read it immediately after The War Against Women.  It was sort of an antidote for my frustrations and will be the next book I review.  Oh, you want to know which book that is?  The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper.  I'll come back here and provide a link as soon as I review that book.  (Done!  The link is live.)
Marilyn French's The War Against Women is a very important book, and I give it a rating of 8 out of 10.


June said...

Hello there...I'm quiet these days, but just had to post a comment to this. One of my first favorite books was Marilyn French's "The Women's Room". Fiction, but oh such truth! Hope all is well...

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Me, too, June! That's part of the reason I chose to read THIS book instead of BACKLASH. Marilyn French is (sorry, WAS) a very good writer.