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Schwartz, E. (1974-75). The Women's Movement: Social and Psychological Perspectives. Helen Wortis and Clara Robinowitz (Eds.). New York: Halsted Press, 1972. 150 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 61(4):646-647.

(1974-75). Psychoanalytic Review, 61(4):646-647

The Women's Movement: Social and Psychological Perspectives. Helen Wortis and Clara Robinowitz (Eds.). New York: Halsted Press, 1972. 150 pp.

Review by:
Edith Schwartz

This is a small soft-cover collection of brief, well-documented, though disparate, essays produced for the American Orthopsychiatric Association. The thirty-five-page bibliography, including a section under psychological issues and problems, is especially valuable. In her foreword Margaret Mead states that Freud's psychology of women and Bowlby's insistence upon the continuous presence of the biological mother were harmful doctrines, although she suspects that certain cultural factors have watered down their real impact. Throughout there are references that the family is outmoded. Although she is aware of changes in sex-role expectations, she emphatically states that it is impossible to assume that day care, maternity leave, pay, and opportunity will magically improve. She stresses that certain reactions are not necessarily based on personal problems but derive from larger social issues.

The articles included deal with sex roles in the family, sexual inequality, single women, the impact of women's lib on child development books, the evolutionary aspects of human gender, the changing role of women, and other topics. There is an interesting review of Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writing from the Women's Liberation Movement. One review, by Mordeca Pollack, on Changing the Role of Women, discusses changes from Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), through Betty Friedan's attack on women living their lives through men, to Radical Feminism, which advocates that “‘the child-owning’ nuclear family of the capitalist organizations that profit from sexism—must be replaced.” Zelda Klapper enumerates five identifiable women's liberation movement propositions related to child care, e.g., early growth patterns are not critically dependent upon the biological mother, traditional gender-roles are artificially imposed upon children by culture, and concern for mental health suggests that the task of child-rearing should be taken from the mother and placed in the community.

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