For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts Advice to Women

For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts Advice to Women

Barbara Ehrenreich

Language: English

Pages: 432

ISBN: 1400078008

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A provocative new perspective on female history, the history of American medicine and psychology, and the history of child-rearing unlike any other.

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that instances of “masked” or covert deprivation may have as devastating effects upon emotional development as the more gross maternal deprivations highlighted by Bowlby.37 Psychologists demonstrated the noxious effects of maternal deprivation on baby monkeys, baby rats, and baby ducks, including weight loss, enlarged adrenal glands, heightened susceptibility to infectious diseases and chemical poisons, and stunted growth. In the logic of the experts, it followed that the mother who failed to

did the buying and budgeting, it was largely her decision. After all, private life was supposed to be the “woman’s sphere.” Now men were furious to find women dominating the home, and there was nowhere to tell them to go. Mass culture became obsessed with the diminution of the American male. In cartoons, the average male was shorter than his wife, who habitually entered the frame in curlers, wielding a rolling pin over her cowering husband. TV squeezed the American male’s diminished sense of

of the women of our nation.”24 Once, they argue, the general practitioner had been “the friend, guardian and teacher” of his clientele: With the priest or pastor, he stood as a bulwark against illegitimacy, abortions and divorce … Today, in the medical profession, obstetricians and gynecologists are perhaps best able to fill this position.… Gynecologists should establish themselves as their patients’ counselors as early as possible, for example at the premarital visit, when “a girl … will

29–30. 75. Rosalind Rosenberg, “In Search of Woman’s Nature: 1850–1920,” Feminist Studies 3, Fall 1975, p. 141. 76. Quoted in Woody, op. cit., p. 153. 77. Burr, op. cit., p. 183. 78. Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull-House (New York: Macmillan, 1960), p. 65. 79. Burr, op. cit., p. 290. 80. Quoted in Wood, op. cit., p. 38. 81. Burr, op. cit., p. 184. 82. Quoted in Theodore Roosevelt, “Birth Reform, From the Positive, Not the Negative Side,” in Complete Works of Theodore Roosevelt, Vol. XIX

Helen Campbell, Household Economics (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1907), p. 206. 41. Plunkett, op. cit., p. 10. 42. Stuart Ewen, Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of Consumer Culture (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976), pp. 169–70. 43. Campbell, op. cit., p. 196. 44. “Squeaky Clean? Not Even Close,” Amanda Hesser, The New York Times, January 28, 2004. 45. Quoted in Hunt, op. cit., p. 161. 46. Harry Braverman, Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the

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