Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection

Debora L. Spar. FSG/Sarah Crichton, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-374-29875-3
Barnard College president Spar (The Baby Business) skillfully addresses the state of feminism and suggests that, despite historic gains in education, the workforce, and equal rights, American women suffer under "an excruciating set of mutually exclusive expectations" resulting, paradoxically, from the proliferation of options that feminism made possible. Drawing on her experiences as well as extensive research, Spar lucidly traces how the movement's "expansive and revolutionary" political goals have evolved into a set of "vast and towering expectations" that trouble women at every stage of their lives. Wisely forgoing hostility or blame, Spar finds women struggling, if anything, with the fantasy of "having it all." "We're doing this to ourselves," she writes, addressing, among other topics: the explosion of toddler princesses; eating disorders and hyperachievement among adolescents; the hookup habits of young adults; the "adoration of pregnancy"; competitive mothering; and the lucrative wedding, diet, and plastic surgery industries. Her solutions call for sanity and simplicity: to kill "the myths of female perfection" and recommit to the goals of early feminism, abandoning the "individualized quest" in favor of organizational and collective change. Tactfully navigating heated debates and effectively contextualizing historical trends and contemporary problems, Spar's book will be welcomed by readers who envision a world "driven by women's skills and interests and passions as much as by men's." Photos. Agent: Will Lippincott, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Sept. 17)
Reviewed on: 07/22/2013
Release date: 09/17/2013
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 305 pages - 978-1-250-05606-1
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-4453-3
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.