Beyond the Double Bind: Women and Leadership

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Author Oxford University Press, USA $55 (296p) ISBN 978-0-19-508940-0
Opening with the famous scenario in which women accused of witchcraft in the Middle Ages were submerged in water and could prove their innocence only by drowning, Jamieson, dean of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communications, notes that modern women continue to be plagued by such double binds. Centuries of cultural conditioning, she asserts, have constructed for women a gendered identity that effectively silences the majority, erasing their contributions to history, while those who attempt to transgress the prescribed ``norms'' of womanhood are discredited, perceived as threatening or ignored. But Jamieson (Dirty Politics) here argues that women can challenge and overcome such no-win situations, and that the history of women's engagement with sexual politics is largely a history of replacing double binds with more accommodating notions of femininity. Jamieson's account of American women's legal battles to end discrimination points to a pattern of slow positive change, and she proves herself adept at disentangling and questioning the mixed messages women receive about who they are and who they should be. Illustrations. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/17/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-0-19-511572-7
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