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Woman's Inhumanity to Woman

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  221 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
“Man’s inhumanity to man”--the phrase is all too familiar. But until Phyllis Chesler's now-classic book, a profound silence prevailed about woman’s inhumanity to woman. Women's aggression may not take the same form as men's, but girls and women are indeed aggressive, often indirectly and mainly toward one another. They judge harshly, hold grudges, gossip, exclude, and disc ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Chicago Review Press (first published January 31st 2002)
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Nov 15, 2010 Arlington rated it liked it
"Sexism is complicated." This book is a giant sociological study that took the author 21 years to complete. I spent about two hours with it.
I came to this book with one agenda: to find tools and answers to better my own close relationships with other women. I needed language for my confusing feelings.
We all know (or should know) what is normally considered "drama" among women is serious direct and indirect violence that crosses class, race, and gender lines. We're talking women throwing acid i
May 17, 2008 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to understand themselves
Parts of this book are heart breaking and parts are very lif-affirming. Chesler impartially outlines problems in women's relationships without condemming or sinking into mysoginistic language. She is merely describing what ocurrs everyday in Western society from what she has personally observed.

This book is one of the truest descriptions of the human condition that I have ever read.
Madeleine Goblin
Apr 25, 2007 Madeleine Goblin is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love a good feminist rant
This is a feminist book that deals with tricky subject for most feminists: hostility between women. The more normal/acceptable topic is men's nastiness towards women, but then, it's too easy (I mean anybody can criticise men, they are asking for it, poor things! - only joking). Phyllis Chesler is no slacker and goest straight to the core:

- little girls bullying other girls
- female colleagues at work sticking to men in their attempt undermine other women
- mothers, out of best intentions and care,
Dec 04, 2013 Stella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It really is a no-brainer: members of a social group with limited power will undermine and manipulate other members within that social group in order to achieve power, even if the power achieved is of no substance. This is achieved through preying upon weaknesses and manipulation and passive aggressive behavior.

Having been on the receiving end of predatory and passive aggressive female behavior in various contexts throughout my life I can most certainly identify with this. It's spot on. So are h
Jul 27, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
You have to give the author credit for her bravery in being one of the first to tackle an important but taboo subject. You can read throughout the book that she expects to be mercilessly attacked for writing it. Some parts of the book are stronger than others, but it is worth reading for those parts. I wish she gave more suggestions for dealing with the problems, but perhaps there aren't many solutions.
Vasil Kolev
This book a lot of effort to read, but it was worthy.

It shows a lot of the character of women that's usually hidden, almost taboo to talk about directly. It helps understand women a bit more, show some very bad stuff, some extremely weird, some eye-opening.

It's also a great book on group dynamics and somewhat on character assassination...
Yana Petrova
May 02, 2012 Yana Petrova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-reads
A must-read for every woman.
Mar 20, 2012 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am forever changed by this book. I think this a book that every woman needs to read.
Nov 26, 2016 Царевна rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Много хубава книга за сложните взаимоотношения между жените. Описва точно проблемите в тези взаимоотношения, диференцира ги ясно един от друг и ги обяснява по много убедителен за мен начин.

Всеки човек с поне минимален житейски опит е забелязал, че женските взаимоотношения са белязани от отровна липса на откритост: преструвки, лъжлива солидарност, вражди, назряващи конфликти и скрити съперничества. И всичко това винаги клокочи ПОД повърхността! От време на време избива под формата на обидно глуп
Oct 29, 2014 Sunaina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Her last 10 pages of the book were groundbreaking and if you were expecting a self-help book; those pages would be the closest to it.

Maybe I'm biased being a psychology major - but this book was phenomenal. Yes - a bit slow in the beginning. I completely lost her for a bit with the Electra talk in chapter 4.

But it breaks down an understanding of WHY women are so vicious to one another. It gave me answers as to why women are horrible to those who are honest, clean-hearted and genuine in nature.
Beate Chelette
Mar 06, 2014 Beate Chelette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book changed everything for me. It is the bible for anyone who wants to read the most fundamental and first, groundbreaking work on what women do to each other. It was part of my research for my own book, and nobody raised the issue like Phyllis Chesler did.
Sally Duros
Apr 25, 2013 Sally Duros rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: men, women, mothers, daughters, fathers, sons
Shelves: social-change
Published in Sally's World, August 2003


Leadership. We talk about it all the time. But what is it?

I've worked in places where leadership is measured by office configuration and size of paycheck, by number of phone calls placed and appointments made, by the urgency, authority and volume of voice with which one gives orders, by the minutes one arrives late at a meeting, or by the number of minutes of face time one has with the boss.

You know an
Jana Rađa
Dec 06, 2016 Jana Rađa rated it really liked it
"[A] person of spiritual quality sees to it that the evil stops when it comes to her; she will not pass it on, but neutralizes and dissolves it back into the nothingness from which it came.“ ~ Simone Weil (not verbatim)

Woman's Inhumanity to Woman ended up in my cart as soon as I spotted it on Amazon and read its description. The title says it all. It deals with the myth of sisterhood. "Women's aggression may not take the same form as men's, but girls and women are indeed aggressive, often indire
Петър Стойков
Phyllis Chesler е радикална феминистка от старата школа - активно участвала във втората вълна на движението през 60-те ин 70-те. След това обаче е отхвърлена от ръководните кръгове на феминистките организации заради изразяваните от нея мнения относно посоката, която поема феминизма, участието на мъжете в движението и резултатите от нейните изследвания на психологическата природа на жените.

"Женската безчовечност към жените" е втората й много противоречива във феминистките кръгове книга, след "Жен
Jun 18, 2014 Alissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the theme and her overall message, but I thought the style of writing was not that great. Also, I do not like how many personal anecdotes were shared; to me a scientific work should stay a bit more removed than that (although I know others may disagree). I was surprised that she also failed to acknowledge any similar 'feminine' failures on her part; instead Chesler seemed to 'apologize' for her bad reactions towards other women. In other words, she framed herself as a constant victim, wh ...more
Jun 22, 2009 Bernadette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book for a while and never really finished it. Recently, due to not understanding some of the 'women' in my life, I picked it up again hoping that it would give me some new insights about my female relationships. Boy did it ever. I think this is a must read for any woman and I would go as far as to say that it should be required reading for all females ESPECIALLY those who do not like other women, are cunt haters or do not have close female friends. If you are over women's hostilit ...more
May 22, 2009 Hinna rated it it was ok
women are gossiping bitches. :D
Dominga D
Nov 20, 2016 Dominga D rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read, to understand women relationships (from mother to daughter, sisters, female friends...). It was for me really enlightening.
Eneya Vorodecky
Oct 01, 2013 Eneya Vorodecky rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have yet to see such a book aimed at men.
Double standard that women are expected to be better human beings or what?
This lady has already spoken about "women should stay at home and take care of their hubbies and children"... while on the road, leaving her own children (albeit all grown up) and husband on their own devices. Do-as-i-tell-you-not-as-i-do in its purest form.

Women can be assholes, jerks, sexist and misogynistic... well, duuh. Also, women are sexist against other women because the w
Brian Palmer
Dec 22, 2013 Brian Palmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, feminism
The first part of the book was fantastic. It surveyed female relationships in non-human primates, introduced a number of intriguing studies on humans, and covered a lot of female-female relationships in cultures around the world. It felt very broad and anthropological. Unfortunately, it was let down by the second half, which brought the topic home to the author's own life... suddenly it became almost exclusively driven by anecdote (amusingly when it wasn't an anecdote, it was using literature li ...more
Sep 23, 2010 Stacy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stopped-reading
Started reading it then shut it...then started reading it again. I'm still reading it, very open mindedly. I have been recommending it based on what I've read so far. It is very interesting and educational, very relatable learning a lot from it. I got it from the library but will purchase my own copy. Too bad it's not an Ebook!
Aug 01, 2010 kvon rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-sf
I read only some of this book hoping to learn how to deal with other women more effectively at work and at club. But it seems more just stories of women being mean to each other, I didn't see much on how to change attitudes. Sure, being aware is the first step, I'm ready for the next one.
Oct 24, 2007 Fareha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Woman, I highly recommend this book to all women, you become more self-aware of how you treat other women.
Cami Savage
Jan 02, 2013 Cami Savage rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very insightful look at how pervasive violence between women has been ingrained into our DNA as well as encouraged societally.
May 18, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The points made in this book definitely need to be made, but I wish some of it was backed up with more scientific data and less "I know a woman who" anecdotal evidence. Still, well worth reading.
Siouxsan rated it it was ok
Oct 14, 2014
Cynthia Ogren
Cynthia Ogren rated it really liked it
Sep 10, 2014
AndreaZ rated it it was amazing
Oct 04, 2010
Mary rated it liked it
Nov 13, 2008
Kimberly Warner-cohen
Kimberly Warner-cohen rated it it was amazing
Jun 01, 2008
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Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. She is a best- selling author, a legendary feminist leader, a psychotherapist and an expert courtroom witness. Dr. Chesler has published thousands of articles and, most recently, studies, about honor-related violence including honor killings. She has published many classic works such as Women ...more
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“Before I began research for this book I was not consciously aware that women were aggressive in indirect ways, that they gossiped and ostracized each other incessantly, and did not acknowledge their own envious and competitive feelings. I now understand that, in order to survive as a woman, among women, one must speak carefully, cautiously, neutrally, indirectly; one must pay careful attention to what more socially powerful women have to say before one speaks; one must learn how to flatter, manipulate, aree with, and appease them. And, if one is hurt or offended by another woman, one does not say so outright; one expresses it indirectly, by turning others against her.
Of course, I refuse to learn these "girlish" lessons.”
“For most women, being seen, having others pay attention to you, is imagined and experienced as more desirable and more powerful than commanding an army or seizing control of the means of production and reproduction.” 11 likes
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