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

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  169 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

Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published September 3rd 2002)
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Sep 23, 2008 Ciara rated it liked it  ·  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
Jul 20, 2011 Margaret rated it liked it
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
Dec 29, 2014 Alyssa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 01, 2010 Allison rated it really liked it
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
Jenn Hovis
Apr 13, 2010 Jenn Hovis rated it liked it
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.
Feb 10, 2009 Wynnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 21, 2008 Molly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Apr 01, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it
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.
Monica Garcia
Jan 18, 2014 Monica Garcia rated it liked it
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.
Amanda Dolan
Mar 25, 2008 Amanda Dolan rated it it was ok
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 .
Jun 01, 2010 Aly rated it really liked it
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
Mar 07, 2012 Mikko Peralta rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 23, 2008 Lauren rated it liked it
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.
Jun 04, 2013 Magpie rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 20, 2011 Tiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books
This book lost steam halfway through and the epilogue's "solutions" seemed overly simplistic, but, overall, a solid read.
Sep 07, 2009 Sherrice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
...Tell me something I don't know.
May 10, 2010 Diana rated it did not like it
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.
Morgan Schulman
Morgan Schulman rated it it was amazing
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Aug 30, 2011
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May 14, 2007
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