Motherguilt:: How Our Culture Blames Mothers for What's Wrong with Society

Diane Eyer, Author Crown Publishers $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8129-2416-9
Eyer is so angry at society and at men telling women how to live their lives that the pages of her book almost hiss. She is particularly enraged at three ""gurus"" of child raising who she feels have terrorized and demonized mothers: Benjamin Spock, T. Berry Brazelton and Penelope Leach. British baby expert Leach cautions mothers, ""If you continue to work... you give up raising your child""; Brazelton weighs in with the thought that ""a woman's most important role is being at home to mother her small children""; and Dr. Spock admonishes that it's better for one parent [guess who] to stay home for the first two or three years of a child's life. Since it has become economically difficult for many women to follow any of this advice, Eyer, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, points out that they are stuck with two full-time jobs and major guilt about both. She energetically debunks much of the conventional wisdom about ""bonding"" and blames most of mothers' problems on the abysmal state of American child care: ""American child care is characterized by hostility to women and contempt for children."" She's arguably got the right message, but the wrong tone. Her impassioned diatribe will certainly make many mothers feel supported, but it may fail to win over those with the power to improve matters. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Hardcover - 978-0-517-17984-0
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