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Catfight: Rivalries Among Women--from Diets to Dating, from the Boardroom to the Delivery Room

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  153 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Women often behave toward one another in sneaky, underhanded, ruthlessly competitive ways. Catfight is a remarkably researched and insightful foray into the American woman's world of aggression, rivalry, and competition. Tanenbaum draws on real-life examples and the most important studies to date in psychology, human aggression, psychoanalytic theory, and social movements ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published September 3rd 2002)
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Dec 27, 2008 Ciara rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ladies with jealousy issues, women's studies majors, armchair psychologists, reformed riot grrrls
i have to admit, i am getting mighty sick of writing these reviews. "this book is about blah & blah & thus & so." this book is about competetion between women. is it not obvious from both the title & the cover? & as such, it is a pretty good book about the topic. i think the issue of girl competition/girl jealousy is really important. naturally, i was exposed to the idea that "jealousy kills girls" through riot grrrl, & i still think it's so incredibly important to stay a ...more
I found Catfight to be a supremely readable book for the first three chapters (The Root of the Problem, Beauty, and Dating). Tanenbaum was humorous, to the point, and sharp for the first half of the book. I would have liked a couple of the segments in the Dating chapter to be longer, even. I kept forcing my husband to listen to me read segments from the book to him. Lengthy segments.

However, once I hit chapter 4 (Work), the book got a lot heavier. Perhaps this is because the issue of women fight
I enjoyed this book. My main criticism is that a disproportionately large number of first person sources were women who work i editing or publication. I would have preferred a more well rounded picture.
Interesting read about the harmful effects of competition between women and how it is fueled by a patriarchal society which continues to sets limits on female power. The author gives compelling arguments with examples from work, dating, beauty, and my current personal favorite, motherhood. (For example, the continual tiring debate between stay at home and working mothers is pointless and harmful, only serving to further cement our status as second class citizens who are forced to make sacrifices ...more
Monica Garcia
I felt like this book was too focused on the problems of interpersonal relationships among women and not focused enough on the solutions. Still it was useful insomuch as it validated a lot of my suspicions.
Jenn Hovis
This book was okay. I agree with pretty much everything she said, but there were no real revelations. As a 33 year old woman I know very well how awful women can be to each other. They can be cruel and catty, and it's a combination of our own insecurities and what we experience as women in our society. How to we stop it? Be the woman you would want to be your true friend. Stop gossiping and talking behind each other's backs. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others.
Biological evolution, social behavior and particularly American standards for women's beauty, love relationships, female friendships and social status. Analyzes the reasons society and women undermine the divine feminine, our evolved selves. Dissects: envy, jealousy, attitudes towards weight, youth, status symbols and romantic relationships. If you like Desmond Morris' "Naked Ape" series, you'll enjoy this. I think D.M. would call this the Jealous Ape book.
Every women needs to read this book! It is so refreshing to read about the "secret truths" of women & competition. There is such a strong and obvious existence of competition among women, however, it is rarely (or never) discussed. I found this book to be very interesting and helped me gain an understanding of myself and my relationship to friends, colleagues, etc. I highly recommmend this one!
Read this in a weekend, a good easy read on how the patriarchy has set women up to compete with eachother, even without our knowing it. Awareness is the first step to remedy. Definitely from a white, middle class perspective, but still has an important message about how oppressed people will often turn the oppression they learn onto eachother.
For summer online class, Sociology of Women

Update 8.31.10: I really enjoyed this book. One of the best "textbooks" I've ever had. I'd recommend it if you have any interest in sociology or women's studies.
Mikko Peralta
I was hoping to get some more insights on why women behave as such against each other... the book failed.

Informative though. Nicely researched. But the whole book veered away from what it promised.
Amanda Dolan
Mar 25, 2008 Amanda Dolan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: feminists
While this book is entertaining, it doesn't really add anything interesting or new to the fact that women are mean to each other, and there are things we can do about it- but the situation will stand .
Hated it. I agreed with some of her observations, but generally not with what she extrapolated from them. I made it about three quarters through, and then could only skim the rest.
meh. i was hoping i could get some insights into jealousy, but it didn't really deliver. it definitely has some interesting things in it though, and was a worthwhile read.
I was really hoping for a more in-depth analysis. She didn't say much more than any of Jessica Valenti's "Feminism Starter Kits" already have.
This book lost steam halfway through and the epilogue's "solutions" seemed overly simplistic, but, overall, a solid read.
Corinn Sagsveen
I really liked this book. I want to read it again.
...Tell me something I don't know.
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