The Deep Divide: Why American Women Resist Equality

Sherrye Henry, Author
Sherrye Henry, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $25 (452p) ISBN 978-0-02-551015-9
Hardcover - 978-0-688-12366-6
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Feminism, for the majority of American women, has become a bad word, and this is one of the most nagging concerns of the contemporary feminist movement, maintains Henry. Particularly perplexing is the fact that many of those who say they reject feminism actually support most of its goals, indicating that the movement's image causes large numbers of women to misperceive its purposes. Henry, a former radio interviewer and congressional candidate in New York who ran unsuccessfully on a feminist platform, here offers a how-to manual for feminist spin doctors who seek to make their platform more attractive to American women. The book is based on a study in which Henry and her colleagues attempted to tap into the ``mainstream'' female psyche through both phone surveys and in-depth interviews with a disparate collection of focus groups made up of self-professed nonfeminists. The study showed that while feminists and nonfeminists may have different notions about ideal gender roles, they tend to share common ground on certain ``women's issues,'' such as child care, equal pay and sexual harassment. Henry asserts that the most productive way to address these issues is to elect more women to office. She urges female politicos to make both their image and their message palatable to nonfeminist women, whose beliefs and interests she charts through a barrage of sometimes overwhelming and often confusing statistics. More informative and engaging are the quotes from the women interviewed for the study. Henry listens attentively, and her advice on how to reach nonfeminist women is smart and timely, while her ``womanpower'' rhetoric is inspiring. (June)
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