A review of Domestic Tranquility: A Brief Against Feminism. By F. Carolyn Graglia.

Spence Publishing, 1998.

There have been a number of good books to appear lately offering a critique of feminism. Perhaps one of the best is this volume. Although it has been around for some years now, it still remains one of the most comprehensive, articulate and well-researched books to take on the excesses of feminism.

A major thesis of this volume is that while feminism may appear to be anti-men, it is even more so anti-women, at least women of a certain stripe. Wives and homemakers are the real target of radical feminists, insists Graglia, and she spends a good part of this hefty tome (450 pages) in documenting this claim.

The author, who is a lawyer by profession, but a homemaker by choice, has the intellectual firepower needed to take on the heavyweights of the feminists movement. The thoughts and writings of Friedan, Steinem, Greer, Millet, de Beauvoir, and all the other major movers and shakers in the feminist movement are here carefully evaluated, and their antipathy to wives and families are carefully assessed.

Solid chapters explore the rise of modern feminism, the feminist agenda, the totalitarian impulse in feminism, the push for androgyny, and the attack on the institutions of marriage and the traditional family, among other things.

The author is especially adept at showing how women cannot have it all, at least not at the same time. The push for climbing the corporate ladder invariably takes a toll on child rearing and family, and many women have suffered as a result of buying the feminist line on this issue.

She tackles a number of other myths, such as the idea that gender is simply a social construct, and the idea that motherhood and homemaking are somehow second class lifestyles. She shows how women have been the big losers in the feminist-promoted sexual revolution. She documents how women have suffered under no-fault divorce. And she demonstrates how the push for a purely androgynous society results in all parties losing out.

While acknowledging that women have the right to pursue the feminist script if they so choose, Graglia firmly believes that feminism is really anti-women. Feminism remains a destructive and destabilising social force. In the end, feminism has damaged women, harmed families, and put children at risk. Strong words, but after reading her arguments one has to agree that not everything has been sweetness and light in this major social revolution. Indeed, like most revolutions, the results are often worse than the original problem.

While many will violently disagree with the major propositions of this volume, the author’s arguments deserve a fair hearing. Spence Publishing deserves credit for running with such a volume, at a time when many other publishers wouldn’t dream of offering such a daring title.

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