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An Unconventional Family

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  87 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
In 1965, when psychologists Sandra and Daryl Bem met and married, they were determined to function as truly egalitarian partners and also to raise their children in accordance with gender-liberated, anti-homophobic, and sex-positive feminist ideals. During the next ten years, they exuberantly shared the details of their daily lives in both public lectures and the mass medi ...more
Hardcover, 209 pages
Published October 11th 1998 by Yale University Press
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Lindsey
Aug 07, 2010 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot really describe the impact this book had on my ideas of gender and parenthood. I read it for class when I was pregnant with my first baby and it kind of blew my world apart in the best way.
Susan Merrell
May 31, 2015 Susan Merrell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Found this brief memoir incredibly interesting, not simply in light of Bem's suicide, but in terms of her entire life. I studied with her at Cornell when I was an undergrad, and had no idea how young she was, nor how new were the ideas and theories she was wrestling with.
Yes, there are problems with it from a writer's point of view--structural problems and problems that I can only term issues of emotional honesty, although Bem is quite clear that she is aware of the latter. But overall, so worth
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Josie
Jul 06, 2012 Josie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this a 3.5

Clearly takes place in the context of the '70s, but I really appreciated the author's approach to an egalitarian marriage and how to raise her children in a home free of gender stereotypes. I'm not sure I would go so far as to want to encourage my kid to be androgynous, but this book does give me a lot to think about as a wife and mother.
Mariah Burton Nelson
Amazing candid story of a radical feminist experiment by my favorite Stanford professor.
Joseph
Dec 30, 2016 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[3.5 stars]

A fascinating, if dated and pre-theoretical, attempt at describing egalitarian relationships and child-rearing. Mostly autobiographical, with a bit of theory that seemed to focus mostly on the idea that gender abolitionism meant a kind of androgyny even while retaining a naïve biological essentialism. In short, the Drs. Bem sought to have an egalitarian relationship which saw minimal-to-nonexistent division of labor, and to raise children as free as possible from obligate gender roles
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Speeda
Jan 03, 2010 Speeda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sandra Bem attempts to detail her egalitarian relationship with her husband, and their subsequent feminist, anti-homophobic rearing of their children, slightly ahead of the last feminist wave.

For me, the book falls short in two places: one, it doesn't go into very much detail about how the couple's relationship was "egalitarian", except to say that they both agreed they wouldn't do the chores they couldn't hire someone else to do unless they really needed to be done, and then they would split t
...more
Jessica Nowinski
Jul 13, 2009 Jessica Nowinski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The first half goes through a personal history and discusses mostly their "egalitarian marriage," which was surely revolutionary at the time but is close to what many of us live now. You don't need to read it to get the second, really interesting half of the book which discusses their "gender neutral" child rearing philosophy and practices. It's really interesting to see how they were successful and unanticipated issues. The interviews at the end with the were very interesting.
Cary
Jul 29, 2015 Cary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps this book isn't for everyone, but to get a window in to the life of one of my most memorable college professors was a huge treat. I was transfixed then by her very public "experiment" in living a gender-non conforming life. My only disappointment, and it's a big one, is that the book didn't give details of the life she created for herself after her marriage dissolved.
Jamie
Jun 05, 2010 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was really interesting to go along with this author and her former husband on their journey to raise a family together as gender pioneers. I'd like to read The Lenses of Gender as well.
Kelly
Apr 14, 2013 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as part of a research project in Psychology 101. I enjoyed the insight of gender neutral child rearing.
Tz348
a prominent thinker has a life too
it's not too unconventional at all at the end of the day
Joanna
Sep 08, 2010 Joanna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
didn't finish the book. she thinks she is really important. i don't deny the fact that she is and has something to say, but good grief.
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Sandra Ruth Lipsitz Bem was an American psychologist known for her works in androgyny and gender studies. Her pioneering work on gender roles, gender polarization and gender stereotypes led directly to more equal employment opportunities for women in the United States.

Bem and her husband Daryl Bem took the public by storm with their revolutionary concept of egalitarian marriage. The husband-wife t
...more
More about Sandra Lipsitz Bem...

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