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Review: Pamela Kettle's The Day of the Women (1969)

Kettle, Pamela. The Day of the Women (1969). Not exactly feminist.

The plot: A feminist movement takes over England, and other women's movements take over other parts of the world. The men are said to be demoralized. The protagonist, Eve, frequently voices doubts as to whether women should really rule. Sometimes this sounds like moderation; let's not kill baby boys and downgrade men's status. Other times it sounds like pure sexism: "'I'm sure that the whole concept of equality between the sexes is wrong. It is a man's purpose in life to master his environment. Woman's function is to people it. The biological roles are utterly dissimilar. Don't you see? Man is required to be strong and sure of himself - woman to be gentle and pliant in the wake of his progress.'" The female leader of the feminist movement, Diana, hates men and is portrayed as a ball-buster; very strong & capable, and attractive, but also prone to megalomania, insanity, and superstition. And, ultimately, fascism. Ties between women are also fraught with suspicion and distrust. And in this new woman-first society, where homosocial lifestyles become the norm, lesbianism is only hinted at; a perverse sickness that causes unhealthy obsession by one of the leaders for Diana; an unhealthy behavior pattern to be discouraged amongst the younger set. But, you know, the women are all remarkably capable, and it was rather pleasant to read a book with virtually no male characters. One final interesting tidbit: mother-daughter relationships never seem particular good in this book, and in fact one mother is betrayed by her daughter -- so Kettle's dedication of the book to her daughter is interesting. "For my daughter, Danae -- one of tomorrow's women." -- lq, 7/20/00.


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updated 06/13/07 .