War Against Women

Marilyn French, Author
Marilyn French, Author Simon & Schuster $20 (224p) ISBN 978-0-671-66157-1
Reviewed on: 03/30/1992
Release date: 04/01/1992
Men's tendency to subjugate and abuse women operates on personal, institutional and cultural levels, notes novelist and feminist French ( Beyond Power ). Boys' desire to dominate girls is instilled in childhood, while grown men see women as mothers owing them caretaking services, she observes. In her sharp analysis a major goal of male-conceived religious movements like Christian fundamentalism and militant Islam is to keep women subservient. Other examples of institutional suppression of women explored by French are discrimination in the workplace, biased divorce judgments and widespread rape, wife beating and male incest, a systemic pattern tolerated by society. On the cultural front she examines male sadomasochism against women in the arts and advertising. A landmark in feminist analysis, this powerful indictment reveals the global extent of men's assault on women, drawing implicit connections between the drive to criminalize abortion, starvation wages paid to women by transnational corporations, genital mutilation in Africa, Third World brothel tours and sociobiology's characterization of male aggression as normal, female aggression as nonadaptive. Author tour. (Apr.)