For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts Advice to Women Paperback – 4 Jan 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
I am sure that what we are enjoined to do today will come in for as much derision and suspicion in years to come.
Suit yourselves girls no one knows what is good for us and this book gives you some proof.
But overall a very enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I would hope that young women would read it for perspective on the women's movement and health issues. Those of us in the baby boomer generation experienced discrimination that our daughters don't relate to. We may have "come a long way, baby," yet women still do not have the equality that we should in government, the board room or compensation.
First off, the writing is intelligent and often very wryly humorous. It's clear, concise and well-organized. As I read the first bit, I kept thinking: this should be required reading for med students...as I continued on into the parenting sections...the book simply became frightening, as I lived through most of those eras.
One never stops to ponder the timelines of stuff like 'parenting advice from experts' as it progresses or changes through the years, or the 'science' it is or isn't based upon, until it's laid out in front of you end-to-end, revealing patterns. Fascinating.
The concept that it's OK for some members of society--an identifiable sub-group--to be classed as psychologically fragile or practically incapable to the extent of pathology, and therefore useful basically as addenda to their families (read: slaves), is an interesting revelation, to be sure! That this will make many readers think of this as yet another 'feminist rant' is really too bad.
I wouldn't, in truth, class this as a 'feminist' book in any way. It is, instead, a nicely focused, nicely supported social history, not anything different to what you'd see if it were a social history about how deaf people (I am NOT picking on you) or epileptics (NOT picking on you) or white men (NOT picking on you, either) have been seen, (mis)understood and treated by 'experts' of various sorts in the last few centuries.
It's also an interesting history on the scary beginnings of medical care and psychiatry in this country. Well worth reading for that alone.
I hope she continues to write for a long time, finding equally just-under-our-noses patterns and histories. Sometimes, living in a society, we think everything is as it always has been and always will be. It isn't. Kinda like High Schools, right? Not always there....and we forget that.
I'm thankful that some historians don't forget.