Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Guest review: Susan Maushart's book "Wifework"

author: Stilltorik

Today, it won't be your usual writer. As a special blog consultant (and also as the one who has the chance to share his life with our enthusiastic blogger), I've been asked to write something about a book I've recently read, Wifework, by Susan Maushart.

I've always been a feminist at heart, and started to read a few books on the subject. But more often than not, books are either too academic and cryptic, or too engaged, which unfortunately usually means biased. As a scientist, I just don't understand the crypticness (some might call it theory) of academic books, and I really don't like biased arguments, regardless of the energy the author might have.

Wifework, well... lies somewhere in between. It tries to have an academic rigour without being too cryptic, even though it has a clear position on the subject. The book starts with a very cynical and controversial stance: men in marriage are useless, and women have no reason whatsoever to marry, as they have everything to lose and nothing to gain. But I think what she's really trying to say here is that marriage nowadays is completely unfair to women, and things HAVE to change.

Initially, I must admit I was very sceptical: "Come on, she's overdoing it". And to a certain extent, she is. But then, she illustrates her point throughout the book with very valid arguments and gives examples where women (and men) will recognize themselves, and realise how deep-rooted the wife's and husband's traditional roles are, and how we still reproduce the roles our parents and grandparents had, even when we think of ourselves as a modern couple.

Overall, this has been a very interesting and enlightening book. When my partner first read it, she was very disillusioned with marriage and the concept of the couple in general. It took a few weeks before she would have faith in them again. But I think it changed us both, and certainly made us realise how much of an effort we still need to make to be able to call ourselves "a fair couple".

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