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New York author uncovers a world offemale
cattiness, and local women concur.
Special to the Jewish News
et's be real.
ly not supportive of others' success.
More accurately, they tend to be com-
petitive rather than cooperative, and
the results have severely diminished
the gains of the past decades.
Jennifer Granholm's suc-
cessful campaign for
Michigan governor brought
The Stresses Of Competition
relentless scrutiny about her beauty,
marriage and motherhood, and it will
Women are still hampered by their gen-
der, writes Tanenbaum. "Successful men
Is she too glamorous? Too aggres-
don't have to worry about when and if to
sive? Can a good governor be a proper
become parents. Successful women do."
wife and mother? Will other women
While that's old news, what's new in
become rivals? Will she
Tanenbaum's view is
neglect her children?
that because women
Who will ask these
still have to struggle
to attain status, they
Mostly women, accord-
are often forced to
ing to author Leora
compete with each
other, and the tactics
women — despite their
alleged equalized status
In short, members
with men — are compet-
of the "gentle sex"
itive or, stated more
may perform aggres-
sively to attain success
A 33-year-old femi-
but are equally apt to
nist, wife and mother,
rely on feminine pas-
Tanenbaum has penned
sivity if that seems
a provocative compan-
ion volume to the now
Women will be
classic primer on femi-
tough or tearful —
In "Ca ght," the author
nism Sisterhood Is
identifies four areas where
Powerful. Her new book women inevitably and
Tanenbaum also has
could readily be titled
strong views about
Sisterhood Is Competitive, beauty, dating, work
but Tanenbaum prefers a and motherhood.
Drawing on personal
more Jerry Springer-ish
title: CaOght• Women and Competition
expresses misgivings about some of the
(Seven Stories Press; $24.95).
practices routinely thrust upon new
In the book, she identifies four areas mothers.
where women inevitably and tradi-
"Competition among mothers leads
tionally compete: beauty, dating, work
to destructive silence about the reali-
ties of childhood and parenthood,"
Acknowledging her own tendency to
Tanenbaum insists. She argues that
be competitive, which began in junior
childbirth is painful, and breastfeeding
high school, Tanenbaum discovered
can be "teeth-rattling and inconvenient."
competition became more blatant as
She further resents the way mothers
she interacted with colleagues in the
are generally held responsible for their
writing profession, and even more so
children's behavior. The "good mom,"
with peers who convened in New York
she complains, is often the sacrificial
City's Central Park with baby carriages. mom, smiling through pregnancy, sto-
Extensive research followed.
ically enduring natural childbirth and
Tanenbaum identified competition
unselfishly feeding an infant around
among women starting in Genesis,
with Sarah and Hagar, and continuing
Tanenbaum also is dismayed at the
throughout history up to the present
competition between working moms
day, with figures like television lawyer
and stay-at-home moms — but avoids
Women, she concluded, are general-
Instead, she suggests they work