Lisa's Reviews > The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?

The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts
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's review
May 06, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction-feminist
Read in May, 2008

To put it mildly, this is a divisive book - though I believe it should not be. Bennetts' thesis is that many women make the choice to stay home with children without adequately protecting their own, or their children's, financial future.

Stay-at-home moms are up in arms attacking it, and without reason (says I). Bennetts does not condemn the choice to stay home; she questions the wisdom of doing so without protecting oneself financially - e.g., keeping up with industry trends and maintaining relationships so that one can reenter the workforce if need be. She recounts having heard the same story again and again - "and one day he up and left me" - and notes these women's capacity to be shocked, just shocked, when the same old story happens to them.

That is not to say there are no good reasons to critique the book. There are. Like many feminist books, this focuses heavily on upper class women and gives short shrift to middle and lower classes. And some of her advice seems too pat. By playing off the feminist classic, "The Feminine Mystique," Bennetts sets up high expectations, and probably has bitten off more than she can chew. That being said, for me, this was a motivating read. I doubt it will change many minds, but it should.
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