To Believe in Women

/ posted in: Reading

I just finished reading To Believe in Women – What Lesbians Have Done For America – A History by Lillian Faderman.

It was quite an interesting book. The premise is that most of the women who were trailblazers in fighting for women’s rights in various aspects were living lifestyles that would be considered lesbian today. This freed them from having babies and having to take care of husbands so they could do what they needed to do.

Reading books like this that use personal letters as a major aspect always reminds me that if I had one day to live I would have a massive bonfire and burn every personal thing I’ve ever written. Luckily, I’m not famous so I won’t be doing a grave injustice to history. When I helped clean out my grandparents’ house after their deaths we found a few letters. They were nice and sweet and showed an aspect of their lives that we didn’t see normally. Every one of us there had the same reaction – “I’m going home and burning everything!” Maybe I just have a weird family but the thought of other people reading personal stuff just makes me horrified.

The only part I didn’t like about the book was the conclusion chapter. In there it talked about how heterosexual women who have careers and choose to stay home with kids are obviously unable to escape the feminine socialization that their mothers taught them. For a book that was so uplifting about how wonderful women are it seemed a strange way to end with multiple slams on women today. I want to stay home when we get kids but my mother never taught me that I should. She worked outside the house. I don’t think I’m buying into mass brainwashing.

But other than that chapter I highly recommend the book.