ISBN-10:
0674005376
ISBN-13:
9780674005372
Pub. Date:
03/02/2001
Publisher:
Harvard
Behind the Mask: Destruction and Creativity in Women's Aggression / Edition 1

Behind the Mask: Destruction and Creativity in Women's Aggression / Edition 1

by Dana Crowley Jack
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Overview

This boldly original book explores the origins, meanings, and forms of women's aggression. Drawing from in-depth interviews with sixty women of different ages and ethnic and class backgrounds—police officers, attorneys, substance abusers, homemakers, artists—Dana Jack provides a rich account of how women explain (or explain away) their own hidden or actual acts of hurt to others. With sensitivity but without sentimentality, Jack gives readers a range of compelling stories of how women channel, either positively or destructively, their own powerful force and of how they resist and retaliate in the face of others' aggression in a society that expects women to be yielding, empathetic, and supportive.

Arguing that aggression arises from failures in relationships, Jack portrays the many forms that women's aggression can take, from veiled approaches used to resist, control, and take vengeance on others, to aggression that reflects despair, to aggression that may be a hopeful sign of new strength. Throughout the book, Jack shows the positive sides of aggression as women struggle with internal and external demons, reconnect with others, and create the courage to stand their ground. This work broadens our understanding of aggression as an interpersonal phenomenon rooted in societal expectations, and offers exciting new approaches for exploring the variations of this vexing human experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674005372
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/02/2001
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 0.75(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)

About the Author

Dana Crowley Jack, a psychologist, teaches at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Western Washington University.

Table of Contents

Hearkening to Women's Voices

1. The Puzzle of Aggression

2. Ways of Occupying Space

3. Why Not Hurt Others?

4. The Rage of Disconnection

5. Masking Aggression

6. Creating New Ground

Notes

References

Acknowledgments

Index

What People are Saying About This

Most discussions of aggression up to now have focused on male behavior, and most discussions of women have avoided examining female aggression. Dana Jack's new book, Behind the Mask, breaks free from both of those limitations, and thereby advances our understanding both of women and of aggression. By challenging the assumption that women are either too strong (morally) to engage in domineering, competitive or harmful behavior, or too weak (physically or psychologically) to succeed at it, she shows how and why they do so, and illustrates how women's aggression typically differs from men's. She also makes an important and useful distinction between aggression and violence, and indicates why the net effect of aggressive behavior can often be constructive rather than destructive. This is an important and original book.

Nancy Rule Goldberger

This is a fabulous book--rich, passionate, informed, illuminating. I know of no other work that provides such a comprehensive and detailed account of the many facets and disguises of women's aggression. It is beautifully written and filled with fascinating stories that extend our understanding of how women develop and express themselves in the face of poverty, racism, and violence against women.
Nancy Rule Goldberger, coauthor of Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind

Toni Bernay

In this new book, a remarkably perceptive writer takes on a difficult subject: the roots of women's aggression, its manifestations in rage or shame or determination, and the possibilities of transforming aggression into creative energy. Dana Jack argues that if we hearken to women's own voices--and many are beautifully recorded here--we will hear the ways in which aggression can be experienced as part of a whole self, rather than a shameful impulse. Behind the Mask is a hopeful book as well as a compelling one: it shows us a way to start healing the divided feminine self.
Toni Bernay, author of Women in Power: The Secrets of Leadership

James Gilligan

Most discussions of aggression up to now have focused on male behavior, and most discussions of women have avoided examining female aggression. Dana Jack's new book, Behind the Mask, breaks free from both of those limitations, and thereby advances our understanding both of women and of aggression. By challenging the assumption that women are either too strong (morally) to engage in domineering, competitive or harmful behavior, or too weak (physically or psychologically) to succeed at it, she shows how and why they do so, and illustrates how women's aggression typically differs from men's. She also makes an important and useful distinction between aggression and violence, and indicates why the net effect of aggressive behavior can often be constructive rather than destructive. This is an important and original book.
James Gilligan, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

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