Breaking Point: Why Women Fall Apart and How They Can Re-Create Their Livesby 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.
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 maleswomen 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.
- Crown Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1 ED
- Product dimensions:
- 6.46(w) x 9.55(h) x 1.33(d)
Meet the Author
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
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.