Between Women – Luise Eichenbaum and Susie Orbach

A friend lent me Between Women: Love, Envy and Competition in Women’s Friendships in exchange for Female Chauvinist Pigs, and I have to say I finished Pigs a lot quicker than this book. However, bearing in mind that it was published in 1987, a lot of it was still relevant today. Susie Orbach is, of course, the author of Fat is a Feminist issue, which I have still yet to read. I couldn’t relate to the issues about struggling to cope with a family and balance it with having a life, or indeed relate to even wanting a family and many womens’ anxieties about getting too old to have children, but I could relate to the chapter on female friendships seeming to threaten or compete with a relationship, and the exploration of female friendship in general.

Just because I liked it, here’s a bit I found interesting and wanted to keep:

“But what has really changed if one accepts that vision? Is it that we are now allowed the honour of being more like men? Do we want that too?

“We think not. Men, too, have suffered as a result of this competitive, alienated form of social relations. Men have been severely emotionally constrained and disabled by the mandates by which they have had to live. Far from needing women to be more like men, we need men to be more like women. That is, not only do women need to have more freedom to develop their creative potential outside of the domestic sphere, but men need to develop themselves within the domestic sphere. […] More and more women and men seem aware that following the traditional path for men is not the road to personal satisfaction. Stress, high blood pressure, heart attacks at an early age, drinking problems, alienation from one’s children and partner need not be reproduced. Striving for autonomy, for psychological well-being and separateness, while maintaining a balance of connectedness in our relationships with partners, friends, and children seems more appropriately to promise to met the needs of women, men, and children.” (201-202)


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