The Unopposite Sex: The End of the Gender Battle

Elisabeth Badinter, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22.5 (279p) ISBN 978-0-06-039096-9
A bestseller in France, this feminist manifesto may stir controversy and some consternation here. Badinter maintains that, despite the wide popularity of a Mother Goddess cult, there is scant evidence for matriarchy in prehistoric societies; in her reading of that era, democracy and equality between the sexes prevailed, and women and men enjoyed complementary, reciprocal relationships. Declaring that patriarchy is now dead, she argues that the emerging mode of interaction between the sexes is one of ``resemblance'' and that bisexuality (psychological but also, perhaps, physical) is integral to this pattern. She touts cohabitation over marriage, citing debatable statistical evidence, and, with apparent nonchalance, observes, ``The universal taboo against incest may well become a dead letter.'' Her autopsy of fascist regimes as ``so many deliberate attempts to reinforce patriarchy'' is simplistic. Badinter, who teaches in Paris, too often succumbs to glibness. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
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