Down from the Pedestal: Moving beyond Idealized Images of Womanhood

Down from the Pedestal: Moving beyond Idealized Images of Womanhood

by Maxine Harris
     
 

A study of the conflicting messages & expectations that fill womens lives, such as the Faithful Wife, Good Daughter, & Wise Old Women. Explains how women who hide behind the safety & predictability of idealized roles find their individuality obscured by the images that dictate what they should want & how they should live their lives, define their relationships, &…  See more details below

Overview

A study of the conflicting messages & expectations that fill womens lives, such as the Faithful Wife, Good Daughter, & Wise Old Women. Explains how women who hide behind the safety & predictability of idealized roles find their individuality obscured by the images that dictate what they should want & how they should live their lives, define their relationships, & raise their children. Offers women a way to descend from the pedestal of idealized images & enjoy the freedom of seeking a personal & authentic existence. Offers advice & inspiration for every woman who wishes to voice the unique values & meaning of her womanhood.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Psychologist Harris ( Sisters of the Shadow ) writes about ``the images which trap women and the life themes which can liberate and give meaning to their lives.'' Identifying stereotypes like Eternal Girl, Selfless Mother and Sweet Old Lady, the author shows how women suffer from the expectations of themselves and others that they fit into these roles. Harris proposes alternative ways that a woman can think about her life based on broader, more flexible themes: in the early years, exploring and preparing; in midlife, creating; in the later years, contemplating and measuring. Seventy women of varying backgrounds relate their experiences and a repeated wish that life for subsequent generations will be better than it has been for them. This innovative approach to understanding female psychology offers appealing insight for both sexes. (Jan.)
Library Journal
According to psychologist Harris ( Sisters of the Shadow, Univ. of Oklahoma Pr., 1991), archetypes such as the Eternal Girl, the Dutiful Daughter, the Super Mom, and the Sweet Old Lady are inconsistent with the modern female experience, yet they continue to entrap women because women still hold out the promise of affection and approval from significant others and the culture at large. Harris describes 15 of these insidious ideals, each specific to a particular period in a woman's life; her accounts of interviews with 70 people illustrate how adherence to an archetype can create crises during times of transition. The second half of the book explores themes of living, which Harris finds more useful for providing cohesion and integrity in women's lives. Unfortunately, some of the material is repetitive, and some of her examples seem contrived, but the book is readable and will doubtless prove enlightening for some people. Recommended for larger public and academic collections.-- Beverly Miller, Boise State Univ. Lib., Id.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780788162152
Publisher:
DIANE Publishing Company
Publication date:
04/28/1999
Pages:
275

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