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Slaying the Mermaid: Women and the Culture of Sacrifice by [Golden, Stephanie]
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Slaying the Mermaid: Women and the Culture of Sacrifice Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 324 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product Description

From the Author

How I came to write about women and sacrifice
"Slaying the Mermaid" grew out of personal experience, particularly my volunteer work at a shelter for homeless women. The concept sprang from an episode, described in the book, in which the nuns who ran the shelter were taken over--brainwashed--by a male volunteer who briefly created a mini-cult there.

Eventually I discovered that the weakness he played on to gain influence over them was their training in self-sacrifice. He undermined their self-confidence by accusing them of not being willing to give up absolutely everything for the homeless.

As a volunteer, I too had struggled with the question of how much to give--where I should draw the line. But I realized that, while this question might be particularly compelling and difficult for nuns, it's also one that most women grapple with, because almost all of us have been trained in self-sacrifice.

So I decided to explore the concept of sacrifice in relation to women's experience. Even given my assumption that this was a critical issue for women, I was amazed by what I heard during interviews: that ordinary women had had such astonishing, intense experiences; lived with such wrenching, violent inner images; and held such powerful ideals. I also discovered that the central image of the book, Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid--whose willingness to walk in pain and sacrifice everything for the prince had always haunted me--resonates for many other women as well.

In exploring this issue, I try to demonstrate how feelings and behavior that may seem entirely personal are in reality shaped by external cultural and historical forces. I also hope to show how it's possible to strike a balance between selfhood and sacrifice, so that altruism can be both transformative and empowering.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 558 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GUSHDM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #869,730 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
I came across this book while looking for something else, and couldn't put it down. As a woman and a former Catholic, I got a double dose of the self-sacrificing ideal. Although I later rejected the notion of female subservience, I felt that the "masculine" ideal of individualism was equally unsatisfactory: in order to achieve self-realization, did one have to reject the positive aspects of self-sacrifice, such as compassion and concern for the good of the community (or humanity as a whole)?
Golden's discussion is the first I've seen that looks at this very complex issue in depth, both intellectually and emotionally, and comes to a balanced conclusion. Rather than urging women to reject self-sacrifice outright, she carefully considers the origins of the ideal and its pluses and minuses, and helps readers to judge for themselves whether self-sacrifice in a particular situation will enrich or deplete their lives. She doesn't give easy answers, but coping with a disabled parent, or trying to assist a mentally ill person to get help, aren't easy problems. This is a truly outstanding book, and I recommend it highly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as reference material for my dissertation and it definitely got me thinking and proved me with a great source.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d87beb8) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d74609c) out of 5 stars Thoughtful discussion of a complex problem 9 Jun. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I came across this book while looking for something else, and couldn't put it down. As a woman and a former Catholic, I got a double dose of the self-sacrificing ideal. Although I later rejected the notion of female subservience, I felt that the "masculine" ideal of individualism was equally unsatisfactory: in order to achieve self-realization, did one have to reject the positive aspects of self-sacrifice, such as compassion and concern for the good of the community (or humanity as a whole)?
Golden's discussion is the first I've seen that looks at this very complex issue in depth, both intellectually and emotionally, and comes to a balanced conclusion. Rather than urging women to reject self-sacrifice outright, she carefully considers the origins of the ideal and its pluses and minuses, and helps readers to judge for themselves whether self-sacrifice in a particular situation will enrich or deplete their lives. She doesn't give easy answers, but coping with a disabled parent, or trying to assist a mentally ill person to get help, aren't easy problems. This is a truly outstanding book, and I recommend it highly.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d8dfd38) out of 5 stars How Not To Be One of the "Women Who Love Too Much" 1 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I assigned Slaying the Mermaid to my college seminar on mermaids and feminism. At first the students were not happy -- "Why must Ariel die?" they wondered. But the view that women need mutual rather than self-sacrificing relationships to be healthy, became convincing to them. Reading the original fairy tale and watching the (altered) Disney movie provided an informative context for appreciating Stephanie Golden's interesting and helpful book. We also read the chapter about The Little Mermaid in the edited book "From Mouse to Mermaid" and I recommend that as well. The current "hot" movement in popular psychology -- 'Positive Psychology' -- is not sensitive to issues of gender and culture, so Golden's book is a worthy contribution.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dc5ee4c) out of 5 stars Rethinking the value of self-sacrifice 14 Feb. 2000
By Joan Mazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A review from the author of DREAMING YOUR REAL SELF: A PERSONAL APPROACH TO DREAM INTERPRETATION; WHO'S CRAZY, ANYWAY?; and DREAM BACK YOUR LIFE.
Stephanie Golden examines how women are expected to sacrifice themselves to be feminine and acceptable to others and in the process lose their sense of themselves as they fall into the victim trap. With interesting and moving stories of very different women, she distinguishes between mindless self-sacrifice that diminishes us and a conscious choice to offer our gifts and talents in a way that expands us all. Well-written and intriguing right down to the notes at the end. I recommend it highly.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d842d80) out of 5 stars A close look at how women become victims of sacrifice. 24 Sept. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book evokes a slew of emotions: anger, resentment, and sympathy. Stephanie Golden gives examples of women who have become victims of sacrifice and analyzes their situation. As each woman's story was presented, I , as a female, vowed to not fall into the same predicaments as these women, yet wondered if I was already like them, just blind to my situation. This book makes readers take a good look at the sacrifices they have made in their lives and they price they have paid for them.
HASH(0x9e07b840) out of 5 stars Selflessness and self sacrifice equal self destructive 18 Mar. 2016
By Life Is Good - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book did not leave me speechless because after finding myself running on empty I found out the basis of it was religious brainwashing and conditioning. Religion rose as an institution using cultural and traditional values and twisting and distorting them and adding them as part of its plethora of control and destructive mechanism system of conditioning control and dominion over minds. It is all about minds your mind if they can control minds then they control everything. After 30 years or so under mind control they do not have to be there for you to destroy yourself you will do the job yourself because they finished their product by that time.

I have never been so disgusted by a word such as sacrifice having lived the epitome of it. I hate religion with a passion and everything that has been devised to trick and deceive people to forfeit themselves for another or for some spiritual or high pursuit whatsoever. What sort of "god" would ask you for yourself in order for you to appease or be pleasing or reach to him?

With the rise of patriarchy male became the dominant figures of society and religious piety purity and behaving "perfectly" was the woman's role while her being was being eroded at every turn. So men projected their ideals and virtues on women while they get away doing whatever it is they pleased double standards and hypocrisy abound. The truth is the people who were the leaders and created the institutions were not healthier than the average individual if not they were the unhealthiest individuals passing on their distorted and confused mental sickness to the rest of the people and their means were violent devious and cunning. Many ideas were embraced without any sort of critical thinking assessments pain as the way to transcend the sinful flesh/body and purge impure thoughts if you look beyond surface you can see the anti nature and anti sex ideas of religion pervading suppression and repression of self and others. The sadistic nature of the teachings and the egoic sense of things that the woman is always the one who has to sacrifice while the male continues to satisfy himself at her expense and that of her children is utterly sickening and to this day it is occuring. People have not become any way illuminated for 2000 years they have entered the age of psychological slavery from the physical slavery which still occur today in some parts of the world.

I have personally and single handedly experienced every form of self sacrifice and selflessness act possible and they all led me straight to hell and self destruction putting other people first and self effacing all the virtues of religion are the way to hell. They are nothing but evil cunning device to eat and drain you of your life energy. I have been there many times it is all inside the mind tortured confused tormented psychological mental emotional spiritual you name it. I do not need anyone to believe me but you have been warned. It is all psychological warfare now so I feel sorry for poor sheeps being led to the slaughter. It is not going to stop until we awaken and hope people wake up sooner than when it's too late after years of brainwashing you will have nothing left and the lessons always come after you have paid dearly for them with your life.

All these things pervade everywhere. Family life is a micro of the macro of what you see in society at large so it's where it manifests the most personal relationships friends family and those closest to you. So pay attention be aware remain alert and trust no one.

I always say it's always too late when we become wise because it is after we have been destroyed so perhaps in the future we will not have to learn the lessons after we pay the price with our very self. Perhaps it's over for me but hopefully it's not over for girls growing up today hpefully they completely reject anything that tells them to forfeit themselves for the sake of anyone ever.

I think I could go on with this and its pitfalls being an expert failure at this in every details and not sure if I can stand again but I can only try.

One thing to remember is trauma the mind is traumatized at least for most up to a certain age and all these institutions have contributed to the occurences in families and homes and relationships and traumas tend to run a cycle of repetition unless you are able to break out of it which is easier said and written than done.

Good luck because there are men who do self sacrifice also but usually for false spiritual pursuits not merely for the sake of women....Women tend to be the ones to sacrifice for every reason....

Once again good luck hopefully we all come out of the darkness of the human unconscious collective it is one dream that hopefully will be realized one day....
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