Rating: 3/5 Stars
As an avid student of gender theory (both traditionally academic and self-guided) for the better part of a decade, it really takes something completely new or out-of-the-box, so to speak, to really dazzle me at this point. (I just re-read that and laughed at how snobby I sound, but seriously I’ve just read A LOT of feminist theory in every arena imaginable – what used to really challenge my thinking about anything and everything is now mostly just regular thought process. Come at me with something mind blowing. Please. I need it.) Babbling aside, I think this is why I just felt so-so about this dive into potential contributions to female depression.
Like some of the other reviews I have read, I do agree that the sample population lacked in size and diversity. The theme of “silencing the self” sort of seemed like a no-brainer to me as a contributing factor to depression, but perhaps I do need to take the publication date into consideration and realize this may not have been as commonly discussed in the early 90s (hell I was 3, how would I really know.) Even so, the cases cited seemed to have very similar relationship patterns (which I suppose was the point, huh?) that pointed to somewhat obvious conclusions with my very limited formal psychological training (albeit many hours spent on psychology on a purely recreational basis). Again, I just didn’t find anything that truly challenged my thinking but that doesn’t really surprise me. For someone new to gender theory it might very well be an eye opening analysis – can’t quite say.
With all my negative bull aside, I did find myself making little notes on almost every page, making connections to personal or outwardly observed relationships. I’ll admit, at first I made a snap judgement thinking – I can’t personally relate my own romantic relationship to the specific type of partner/self/societal induced concession of female relational “power” (if I am silencing anyone, it isn’t myself, which is a problem for a whole different day) so this is clearly outdated. But of course, its not. At all. Extremely evident when I think of comments I’ve gotten on how “women should talk to their husbands” (or not talk at all) on occasions when outside parties have heard me speaking my peace on a regular basis (some younger than you’d think.) So perhaps this book is a necessary reminder – just because you, your partner, the people you choose to associate yourself with share similar views – the whole world is not out having some progressive little tea party.
One important point made by the author that I do think really, really, really, needs to be broadcast to today’s world: having a need for strong, meaningful emotional connections IS NOT A WEAKNESS. To the countless girls I see on twitter everyday: YOU ARE NOT NEEDY. Needing emotional connection is completely healthy for everyone, male/female, EVERYONE. This normal human desire is traditionally deemed as “female” (honestly, because we condition our young boys to be ‘strong, independent men’) and consequently seen as a weakness but that is, of course, complete bull. Don’t propagate this view. Stop putting that damn #needy on the end of your tweets … ELIZABETH (insert smirking emoji.)