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Wifework [Paperback]

Susan Maushart
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Mar 2003
'Men get one thing from marriage that women never do. They get wives.' Husbands and wives may say they are committed to equality. Yet, whether employed or not, wives still perform an astounding share of the physical, emotional and organisational labour in marriage - everything from housework to 'sex work'. 'Wifework' is shorthand for this relentless routine of husband maintenance. Women today initiate three-quarters of all divorces. Wifework, Maushart argues, lies at the core of their disillusionment. If family life is worth saving, wifework will have to go. And that means rewriting the job description to make marriage more equitable, less exhausting and more fun for women. In this compulsively readable book, Susan Maushart documents the wifework dilemma and explores its consequences for all the stakeholders: men, women and children alike. WIFEWORK is funny, lucid, provocative and inspirational.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; New edition edition (3 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747561729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747561729
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Lucid and witty" -- Marie Claire

"The self-appointed patron saint of home truths has done it again" -- Sunday Times

‘A radical new book.’ -- Zest

‘Funny, fast and angry’ -- Mail on Sunday

‘Susan Maushart offers a lusty cry against self-betrayal with marriage … she is an honest polemicist’ -- TLS

About the Author

Susan Maushart was born in New York and emigrated to Australia in 1985. She is the author of THE MASK OF MOTHERHOOD which was published to international acclaim in 1999. She is a senior research associate at Curtin University, a columnist for the Australian Magazine and lives in Perth with her three children.

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Customer Reviews

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3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is gutsy and painfully honest. It confronts us with the reasons why marriage today is usually a much better deal for men than for women - reasons that all women know, deep down, but won't, or can't admit for fear of shattering the "equality illusion" that many of us live with in our marriages.
The author goes beyond the kinds of unfairness and disillusionment wives and in particular new mothers experience as identified e.g. by Naomi Wolf in "Misconceptions". Susan Maushart points out again and again that it's not just the lion's share of the housework and childcare that women are doing (which we all know anyway), but also what she calls the emotionally taxing "wifework" - being responsible for the husband's emotional needs, the whole family's social calendar, the whole concept of homemaking, etc.
My favourite part of the book - or, I should say, the thing that made me stop and think the most, was the part where she describes the increased amount of free time she had after divorcing her husband and becoming the single parent to three very small children. You would have thought that the opposite would be true, but when she she was no longer responsible for all that "wifework", the burden on her was considerably lessened.
Indeed, even if you're happily married with children, the book makes you think about how expendable your spouse may actually be, and why. And it makes you ask yourself why intelligent women are willing to put up with so much unfairness in our relationships - it makes you take your rose-coloured glasses off and re-evaluate what is "fair".
I wholeheartedly recommend this book, but caution that it will be an eye-opening and not altogether painless read for those of us "in denial".
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits the nail on the head (I hate to say!!) 30 May 2002
By A Customer
I recently went from being a single mum to being a married mum. Foolishly I thought this would be a good deal for me. Someone to help me around the home, to share the childcare with, to make me the odd cuppa whilst I'm breastfeeding!! But ironically I find myself with more work to do than ever. Why? Wifework, is the answer that Susan Maushart gives and she's right on the money. It's painfully honest and takes the thoughts straight out of my head. She argues that whilst feminism has increased our expectations the reality is severely lagging behind. Sad but true. I mean, I love my man I really do but if only he would pick up the sodding hoover!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable read...for some. 17 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I guess this book is aging a bit but I suppose some people would find it relevant to them. It suits more to a middle class situation and wont really give you the width and breath of female 'working' experiences.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wifework 9 Feb 2011
Although I am only half way through the book, it is enlightening. Might be a better read for the Researcher than the average reader. Picking up one or two points that I will "trot" out in female company.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars She's got an ax to grind 26 Nov 2011
By Philip
Although this book is interesting in places, overall I found it rather tedious and a bit of a slog to get through. I don't disagree with some of her points, but I do feel that she has a very negative view of life and this gets in the way of what could be a great book. Her marriages don't have very many similar points to my own; maybe the Modern Man and hands-on dad really has arrived since the publication of this book, but we share childcare and housework in my home.
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