Breaking Point: Why Women Fall Apart and How They Can Re-Create Their Lives

Breaking Point: Why Women Fall Apart and How They Can Re-Create Their Lives

5.0 1
by Martha Nibley Beck
     
 
Much as Gail Sheehy did in Passages, Dr. Beck articulates a common signpost in women's lives, explaining the five stages which characterize how women arrive at their breaking point, how their age defines their experience, and how they can transcend crisis and move on to redefine their lives.

Overview

Much as Gail Sheehy did in Passages, Dr. Beck articulates a common signpost in women's lives, explaining the five stages which characterize how women arrive at their breaking point, how their age defines their experience, and how they can transcend crisis and move on to redefine their lives.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This provocative sociological inquiry by Beck, visiting professor at the American Graduate School for International Management in Phoenix, argues that American women are being torn apart by the paradoxical values by which society judges them. In a historical overview, she describes how the Enlightenment and the industrial revolution led to husbands relying on their wives' unpaid domestic labor. The 19th- and 20th-century feminist movements propounded the idea of female equality, and there has been an influx of women into the workplace. The clash between modern and traditional values, according to Beck, has produced guilt-ridden and overworked women who try to have successful careers while being devoted wives and mothers. Relying on anecdotal interviews, the author theorizes that this conflict leads to a "breaking point" for some women that allows them to re-create a "true self" no longer based on pleasing others. Beck contends that if enough women can transform themselves, a society will emerge wherein both sexes will be free from gender constraints. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
A sociologist's astute insights into the stresses that drive American women to crisis, with a more ingenuous analysis of how those dilemmas are resolved.

Beck and her husband (with their three children) bailed out of tenure-track academic positions to write and study independently. Hundreds of interviews with women in the US and Asia, as well as her own personal "breaking point," gave her the material to write this book. It is the sociologist part of her that successfully defines and describes the paradoxical pressures that place contemporary women in a double bind, a paradox left over from the 18th century: Women are encouraged to achieve today, but are still considered "unfeminine" when they do; women who adhere to traditional roles are condemned for not being achievers. The "traditional" thought of the "Dark Ages," where social stratification was rigid and women were subordinate to men, clashes with the philosophy of the Enlightenment in which "rational humans" celebrated equal opportunity. Except that opportunity existed only for white males—women and people of color were (sotto voce) considered "sub-human." Beck portrays five phases that progress from early socialization through the breaking point to a more nebulous description of re-creating the "true self," that includes edgy concepts like "satori" and paridigm shifts. She sorts out portraits of several cohorts, from the children of the Depression to Generation X, in terms of the influence of female role mdels. Unfortunately underrated are other monumental cohort experiences, such as WW II, Woodstock, Watergate, and television.

A cogent view of the forces that drive many women to radical turning points in their lives. Where to go from there is not so clear.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812963755
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/05/1997
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
403
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.55(h) x 1.33(d)

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Breaking Point 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Martha Beck has succinctly described the confusing paradox affecting so many American women. This book helped to change my life by putting me in charge of my choices. Knowing that generations of women have struggled to find personal fulfillment despite contradictory signals has liberated me. I wish the book were still in print so I could send it to all my dearest women friends.