Cover image for Prisoners of men's dreams : striking out for a new feminine future
Prisoners of men's dreams : striking out for a new feminine future
Gordon, Suzanne, 1945-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [1991]

Physical Description:
324 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ1426 .G657 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Basing her studies on more than one hundred interviews, the author puts forward her opinion on how, 30 years after women joined together to demand equality, feminism has lost its way. The book discusses the pressures that have blurred women's vision and complicated their lives.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

A funny thing happened to the feminist revolution on the way to the marketplace: it got waylaid. Gordon contends that today's suit-wearing woman, who works late hours while paying others to raise her children, was not the goal two decades ago. Even less did mid-century reformers aim at a world where one-third of the workers go without health insurance, millions work at more than two jobs just to squeeze by, and women nightly go home to the "second shift" of housework, which leaves them feeling like they're "walking a tightrope." In documenting this bleak view of a social movement's co-optation, Gordon does not, thankfully, blame feminists for the disappearance of values traditionally nurtured by women, although who is to blame is a bit unclear. Gordon isn't strong on solutions, either, although she acknowledges the obvious fact that women retreating en masse from the workplace to garden and suckle simply isn't possible. Yet by documenting the problem in excruciating detail, and with the help of testimony by hundreds of women, Gordon enters into public debate the frustration of balancing freedom and economic independence with friendship and nurturance. An important and certain-to-be-much-discussed book. To be indexed. ~--Pat Monaghan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Some 100 women contribute their stories in this exploration of the effects of contemporary feminism. The women we hear from are confused; some are disillusioned, but all, no matter their socal status, have problems reconciling professional responsibilities with personal obligations. Gordon ( Lonely in America ) emphasizes that women have discovered the tyranny of the marketplace, as well as the belief that ``women do not change the world by becoming more like men.'' The challenge, she maintains, is no longer finding role models but defining a new feminist future. This appraisal of women's uncertainty offers realistic guidelines and positive suggestions for true liberation: ``We must change our world if we want to make our lives easier.'' (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Journalist Gordon ( Economic Conver sion; Lonely in America, LJ 11/15/75 ; A Talent for Tomorrow: Life Stories of South African Servants) here questions what has become of the transformative goals of the women's movement of the 1970s, when feminists vowed to fight for a more equitable, humane, caring society. Her answer: women's energies have been coopted by equal-opportunity feminism, now an integral part of American corporate culture, with its ever-intensifying emphasis on individual achievement, longer working hours, fewer corporate responsibilities, and commoditization of human needs. Gordon does an excellent job of documenting the evils this 1980s market culture has wrought and contrasting American responses to social problems with those of other Western countries. However, her suggestions for countering these trends remain somewhat ill-defined: e.g., those in the helping professions should form coalitions rather than competing for scarce tax dollars, forcing reform from within. Recommended for large public libraries and women's studies collections.-- Beverly Miller, Boise State Univ. Lib., Id. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Gordon's book treats a particular aspect of change in women's lives, namely the increased emphasis on workplace achievement and on defining achievement by the number of hours dedicated to the job. Like Sylvia Hewlett (A Lesser Life, CH, Jul'86) Gordon is highly critical of equating women's emancipation with adoption of a male-defined, work-obsessed life-style, but unlike Hewlett, she is too realistic to blame feminists for the failure of American culture and politics to support alternatives. Gordon reviews a smattering of the research literature on work and family, reports interviews with an unsystematic sample of employed women (and a few men), and offers her own opinions passionately and often gracefully. The results are variable. There is a dreadful chapter on childcare that implies that the problem facing children are primarily of the yuppie, competitive kindergarten sort. But there is also an excellent chapter on successful self-described feminists who are reluctant to rock the boat for their less-advantaged sisters. Because she focuses only on women and the issue is individual achievement versus collective struggle, Gordon misses the opportunity to consider whether men also are overburdened by the US pattern of increasing work hours per week. This book popularizes a number of issues concerning the significance of paid work in women's lives, but does so with a noticeably upper-middle-class slant. General readers. -M. M. Ferree, University of Connecticut