Sex and Power

Don Meyer, Author, Donald B. Meyer, Author Wesleyan University Press $45 (751p) ISBN 978-0-8195-5153-5
The autonomy of women is more intimately tied to industrialization and cultural definition than even many feminists acknowledge, according to the author. This sweeping 650-page social history by a Wesleyan professor of social sciences claims that only in the affluent U.S. did a ""women's sphere'' of home and self-definition develop. In Italy, women provided cheap labor for fascism, while the postwar Italian woman was valued largely for her service to the family as wife and mother. The Swedish feminist movement merged with unions and political parties, but, despite a strong welfare state, women there never put their own needs uppermost. Stalin outlawed feminism, and, although Soviet women rose in the professions, issues of male chauvinism and sexuality were ignored socially. Meyer writes incisively about Strindberg's misogyny and Russia's lack of a modern literature about women. His analysis of the split between NOW and lesbian feminists, and of the current debate over whether equality for women means ``becoming like men'' in a corporate jungle, adds fuel to the fire. (July 15)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1987
Release date: 06/01/1987
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