Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth about Women and Rivalry
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Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth about Women and Rivalry

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by Susan Shapiro Barash
     
 

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Tripping the Prom Queen is a groundbreaking investigation into the dark secret of female friendship: rivalry.

Susan Shapiro Barash has exploded the myth that women help one another, are supportive of one another, and want each other to succeed. Based on interviews with women across a broad social spectrum, she has discovered that the competition

Overview

Tripping the Prom Queen is a groundbreaking investigation into the dark secret of female friendship: rivalry.

Susan Shapiro Barash has exploded the myth that women help one another, are supportive of one another, and want each other to succeed. Based on interviews with women across a broad social spectrum, she has discovered that the competition between women is more vicious precisely because it is covert. She tells us:
* Why women can't and won't admit to rivalry.
* How women are trained from an early age to compete with one another.
* In which areas women most heatedly compete.
* How rivalry is different among women than among men.
* The differences between competition, envy, and jealousy.
* When competition is healthy and when it isn't.
* Why women find it irresistible to "trip the prom queen."
* Useful strategies to stop the competition and forge a new kind of relationship with other women.
Whether you've tripped the prom queen or been tripped yourself, you will discover an engrossing exploration of this female phenomenon, as well as a beacon of hope for better, more fulfilling relationships.

Editorial Reviews

Gender studies scholar Susan Shapiro Barash interviewed over 500 women while researching this groundbreaking book about female rivalry. Tripping the Prom Queen demolishes what remained of the theory that women are generally supportive of one another. In fact, Barash notes, competition between women is more vicious precisely because it is covert. She describes how women are trained from an early age to compete with one another, and she pinpoints the areas in which they battle most heatedly. The book contains treatment as well as diagnosis: Barash shows how women can develop useful strategies to stop unhealthy competition and forge healthy relationships with other women.
Publishers Weekly
The recent rash of books and movies about mean girls may seem to indicate a new phenomenon, but Longfellow observed about a certain little girl almost 200 years ago, "when she was good, she was very good indeed/but when she was bad, she was horrid." The 500 women gender studies scholar Barash interviewed for this exhaustively researched book on female competition confirms that women can indeed be mean. Barash outlines why women compete with each other differently than men do with other men and why women often want to sabotage powerful female rivals. Male competition is goal-oriented and limited, Barash says, while women compete over appearance, children, the workplace and relationships. Why? According to Barash, for women, competition is about identity and relationships, and they have a harder time setting boundaries to competition. Barash devotes chapters to specific areas of competition, from looks to career, and then presents real-life examples of situations in which resentment and jealousy can be used to improve one's life without destroying anyone else's. Overall, this study provides a helpful starting place for any woman wondering if it's possible to get what she wants without hurting or being hurt. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Barash (critical thinking & gender studies, Marymount Manhattan Coll.; Sisters: Devoted or Divided) bases her book on conversations with 500 women who responded to her request for stories of envy, jealousy, and friendship. She seems insufficiently aware, however, of the possibility that such a self-selected sample may not fairly represent all women. The pettiness and cruelty of many respondents make for unpleasant reading, scarcely mitigated by the author's assertion that societal sexism is a driving force behind the nastiness. While the world no doubt contains women who deliberately set out to seduce their best friends' husbands, stab hard-working coworkers in the back, and commit other such acts of interpersonal evil, the book becomes frustrating for readers who are concerned with rivalry among women but are not themselves prone to lashing out so destructively. Nonetheless, there are a few voices to which the rest of us can relate, and later chapters feature some useful ideas for managing rivalrous feelings. Recommended for large public libraries or as demand warrants.-Susan Pease, Univ. of Massachusetts Lib., Amherst Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lightweight report on how women's relationships are marred by competition, envy and jealousy. Barash (Critical Thinking and Gender Studies/Marymount Manhattan Coll.) posted flyers in YWCAs and health clubs soliciting "tales of female envy, jealousy, and friendship." The resulting interviews with some 500 women of diverse backgrounds brought forth bleak tales of betrayal, throat-cutting and anguish. The author found that while women are reluctant to admit to feelings of rivalry toward others of their sex, when probed, many reveal a dirty little secret: Such feelings are pervasive. Men may compete in the workplace and on the athletic field, but women, she reports, compete with each other over appearance, social approval, children, men, careers-you name it. Their competition is not just with colleagues and friends, but with their mothers and daughters. To make the point, Barash has included a superabundance of excerpts that tell, in the interviewees' own words, of mean-spirited acts done to them and by them. She also turns to the entertainment industry for more illustrations, citing dozens of movies and TV shows that explore both female bonding and the fault lines in female relationships, from Working Girl to Legally Blonde, from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Desperate Housewives. Padded with repetitive anecdotes and media examples, the text falls short on analysis. Barash only briefly considers the destructive nature of competition, rivalry and jealousy in female relationships and offers very few ideas about more positive ways in which women relate to one another. Mediocre fodder for women's-studies classes and book clubs.
From the Publisher
"A helpful starting place for any woman wondering if it's possible to get what she wants without hurting or being hurt." —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312334321
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
03/06/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
781,957
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.65(d)

Meet the Author

Susan Shapiro Barash is the author of eight previous books and a professor of Critical Thinking/Gender Studies at Marymount Manhattan College. As a well-recognized gender expert, she is frequently sought out by newspapers, television shows, and radio programs to comment on women's issues. She lives in New York City.

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Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Susan Shapiro Barash's Tripping The Prom Queen: The Truth About Women And Rivalry receives Shelly Frasier's warm and revealing voice which has lent power and vision to over 30 audio productions as well as film and theatre projects. Here's the first detailed look at women's rivalry based on original research and interviews with over 500 women at all social levels: a seminal and groundbreaking work which explores bad behavior's origins and purposes.