Tracey's Reviews > The Home: Its Work and Influence

The Home by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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's review
Dec 19, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: libraryread, pop-history, pop-sociology
Read in October, 2005

Old SDMB recommendation - got it via ILL from IU Indianapolis.

Written in 1903 - Gilman considers the domestic situation of most women to be the the single worst thing to have happened to human society since Cain & Abel. Women's skills - child care & to a lesser extent, food prep - are not exposed to the same developmental process as other industries, where specialization and competition lead to progress. Therefore the average woman performs them poorly. Women who are not challenged to grow and expand their skills are a drag on society. The stereotype of women changing their mind comes from their daily exposure to multitasking.
And so on and so forth.

Gilman comes off very sanctimonious (in a secular way) and very dismissive of "primitive societies" (i.e. non-European). Her black and white views of society and class made for frustrating reading at times. However, she has some very interesting turns of phrase, and some of what she has predicted has come to pass.

Overall, this book is a fascinating look at women's place in society and some radical approaches towards solving what Gilman considers as problems.

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