The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women

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Henry Holt and Company, Apr 24, 2012 - Social Science - 224 pages
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In the pathbreaking tradition of Backlash and The Time Bind, The Conflict, a #1 European bestseller, identifies a surprising setback to women's freedom: progressive modern motherhood

Elisabeth Badinter has for decades been in the vanguard of the European fight for women's equality. Now, in an explosive new book, she points her finger at a most unlikely force undermining the status of women: liberal motherhood, in thrall to all that is "natural." Attachment parenting, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and especially breast-feeding—these hallmarks of contemporary motherhood have succeeded in tethering women to the home and family to an extent not seen since the 1950s. Badinter argues that the taboos now surrounding epidurals, formula, disposable diapers, cribs—and anything that distracts a mother's attention from her offspring—have turned childrearing into a singularly regressive force.

In sharp, engaging prose, Badinter names a reactionary shift that is intensely felt but has not been clearly articulated until now, a shift that America has pioneered. She reserves special ire for the orthodoxy of the La Leche League—an offshoot of conservative Evangelicalism—showing how on-demand breastfeeding, with all its limitations, curtails women's choices. Moreover, the pressure to provide children with 24/7 availability and empathy has produced a generation of overwhelmed and guilt-laden mothers—one cause of the West's alarming decline in birthrate.
A bestseller in Europe, The Conflict is a scathing indictment of a stealthy zealotry that cheats women of their full potential.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - booksandscones - LibraryThing

Short, blunt essay warning that women will simply refuse to have children if motherhood becomes too onerous and they don't get enough help & support from partners, employers and government ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mirikayla - LibraryThing

Very interesting topic, makes some really good points, kind of annoyingly written (almost a little sarcastic). Also, quite short and with weirdly large text and margins. Like... There's obviously a ... Read full review

Contents

Foreword The Silent Revolution
1
PART ONE THE STATE OF PLAY
7
PART TWO THE ASSAULT OF NATURALISM
27
PART THREE OVERLOADING THE BOAT
113
Notes
171
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Elisabeth Badinter is the acclaimed author of three seminal works on feminism—The Myth of Motherhood, Wrong Turn, and Masculine Identity—which have been translated into fifteen languages. Badinter teaches philosophy at the école Polytechnique in Paris, where she lives.

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