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le 6 février 2004
This book is fascinating (pun intended). Reviews of it -- including those on this web page -- are mixed and often passionate for good reason. The ideas are as explosive today as they were when the book was first published.
Like any text, your reaction to this book will depend upon how you read it. It can be a joyful revelation, or a goad that drives you to fury, or a hilarious view into an antiquated perspective on gender relationships. Does this book suggest that a wife should put a bow in her hair and lisp praises for her husband's awesome strength and capability? Yes. Does it claim that doing so will improve her marriage? Yes. Can such techniques work in the long run? The jury still seems to be out on that.
Manipulation in any relationship is deadly. But sincerely doing things that encourage others to be the best they can be is good from both a secular and a Christian perspective. It builds good mental health. Assuming that our gender makes us prefer certain kinds of behavior both in ourselves and in our mates, and that our ability to meet our own ideals of our gender affects our general happiness and self-esteem, it seems that giving and receiving gender-oriented encouragement is not a bad idea.
I have never found a book that so clearly explained how I can cause my husband to feel good about himself as a man. I appreciate that. I look at this book not as a prescription for living -- which is how the author intended it, without question --- but as a sort of cook-book, full of good things to try. Or perhaps as a tool-kit to draw from to smooth over some rough times and make the good times more fun. Taken that way, I think _Fascinating Womanhood_ is a work of genius. It is jam-packed with things to try. At the very least you will learn a great deal about yourself and about your husband as you experiment with behavior and responses.
If a long, interesting and ever-growing marriage is your goal, then read this book. It is bound to give you ideas to work with for many years to come.
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le 17 février 2000
Fascinating Womanhood has proven itself to be the Bible for frustrated and abused women. The author, Helen Andelin, is the patron saint for these women and the domestic goddess for batterers and abusers around the world. Her methods call for women to sacrifice their very souls upon the alters of male privilege and male insecurity, two characteristics which, when mixed together in sufficient quantities, combust to create domestic violence or smoulder into the more subtle, but ultimately soul murdering, unrighteous dominion.
Thirty years ago my mother, when asked her opinion of the book, replied, "It's fine if you're married to a 12 year old brat." One in three women will be assaulted in her lifetime. This statistic and the book's continued popularity demonstrate that a large number of women are indeed married to spoiled 12 year old brats.
Rather than help men be accountable for their abusive behaviors, Helen joins her "girlish voice" with millions of batterers and abusers who blame their abuse on their wives. ("If man does not love with heart and soul, it is entirely the woman's fault.") She encourages her disciples to become domestic goddesses like herself. It is regrettable that Helen gave up her adult life in exchange for perpetual childhood to appease her "manly, superior" husband. And it is a tragedy that the Batterers' Bible, Fascinating Womanhood, continues to destroy women by dumbing them down into domesticated animals.
Fascinating Womanhood earns 5 stars because, as a domestic violence therapist, no single volume so powerfully demonstrates the absurd thinking which perpetuates violence against women and then turns around and blames women for the violence.
The natural man is an enemy to God. But Helen Andelin is the natural man's friend and servant. Recently she suggested that a man punish his wife by withholding privileges such as money or the car. Helen is truly every batterers' fantasy "girl" and every abused woman's worst nightmare.
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le 27 avril 2004
This is one of the best marriage books I have read. I looked at it as a marriage help book even if that was not how it was intended. With the kind of man I married, and the kind of relationship I was having, this book told me directly how I can cause change more clearly than any other marriage book I have read. The problem with the other books is that in order for the plan to work effectively the man has to do something, but in this book all the responsibility for making the marriage better falls on the woman. Some people hate the fact, but honestly it is more realistic. I must have easily read 15 help books, and it was this practical guide for bringing about my husbands strengths and sense of responsibility that has done the most to improve our marriage.
It talks about selfless service, humility, and the power of a womans charm! I recommend this book for anyone who is yearning for a more traditional relationship but isn't quite sure how to make it happen, and even for those who are little rough around the edges and would like to be a little more feminine. It turns out my man really does lke a girly girl, even though he met me in the army! go fig. :)
Some people feel this book requires they be fake. If you interpret it like that then your not reading it right. You can be yourself, just a softer, cuddlier, more lovable version. Don't delete the old version, just upgrade!
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le 5 décembre 1999
What a thrill to be allowed to comment prettily on this book. In fact what a thrill it is to live in a time when so many domestic conveniences at our disposal give us the extra time that is needed to read great literature like this - of course, after we've completed our chores and accommodated our sweetheart's every whim and appetite. I, for one, am so pleased to be allowed occasional and appropriately limited access to a modern computer after my Husband and his children have gone to bed - it's 4 AM as I write this! - so that I can share my thoughts about this book. [Would it be appropriate for me to suggest that American women take a moment every day to thank Men for permitting us - no, even encouraging us - to learn to read in the first place? Again, how fortunate we are to live in a modern society where (even though we haven't the capacity to make intellectual contribution, and thus must realize that reading and writing by women is frivolous recreational activity with no actual value to society) women are allowed books, and writing instruments!] Ah, but I've strayed from the topic. (Silly little me! how this would amuse my Man, who lies sated in a nearby room!) My purpose here is twofold: One, I wish to recommend this book with 2 girlish thumbs up and suggest that every girl in America read Fascinating Womanhood and respond appropriately to its Teachings. Two, and only because matters of female physical attractiveness and appearance of youth and childishness - manufactured, if necessary - are of such fundamental importance, I humbly request information from a reader, publisher, or perhaps, the author, herself. Can someone correct my imperfect reasoning --- what woman can perform even the simplest math, after all! -- and explain why dates of birth and college entry in an author's bio suggest that Mrs. Andelin is soon to be 80 years old, when her publicity photos (book cover, The Fascinating Girl, and Author's home page, depict a woman of 18 or 19? You are truly a goddess, Ms. Andelin! Thank you so much, everyone, for listening to my insignificant and superficial female thoughts on a subject of such great importance - how we might better prepare ourselves to achieve our highest calling - that of ornament, domestic, and sex slave to the good - or bad! - men who would take us as their wives.
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le 8 février 1999
This book attracts you if you are having marriage difficulties because it promises you all you would wish for-- to be loved, valued and cherished. I read this book during a time in my life when I was desperate to be noticed and loved again by my husband. I followed it exactly, rereading a chapter every night for two years. I believed what it promised. I consider those two years to be the years in my life where I made the worst choices I've ever made. This book ruined many areas of my life and did not help my marriage in the long run. It brought peace at first since my husband was happy not having to grow and to have me become more and more "fascinating" while he stayed just as unfascinating as ever. The problem with this book is that it's foundations are false. People are responsible for their own behavior and if your husband is irresponsible and isn't loving you it is a problem with him, not with you. He needs to be confronted and change. It doesn't matter how "fascinating" you become. This book could only work if you had a really great husband and it was you that had all the problems, but even then if you followed this book he'd lose respect for you. Please, if you have marriage problems, go and see a marriage counselor, a trained psychologist, so you can base your decisions on accurate foundations. Don't give up your career or stop developing yourself. Don't believe the problem is all with you, that you just aren't "fascinating" enough. Don't dress like an old-fashioned weirdo and be overly self-concious about feminizing all your gestures. This book really will make you confused and waste precious time in your life! The only reason I gave it three stars was because the author is very insightful about what women really desire- it's a pity she doesn't know how they can get it. Read "Boundaries" by Cloud and Townsend or if you're single, read "Safe People" by the same authors. Hope I've been able to save someone from "Fascinating Womanhood". Then I'll feel what I've been through is worth it. By the way, the author is not a christian, she's mormon.
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le 28 juin 2003
I read this book several years ago and have practiced many of the principles in it for most of my marriage of 15 years. The advice Andelin gives is very wise. One of the author's main points is that women should be "womanly". Men are very different than women in the ways they think, respond, feel, etc. It is wise to try and understand these differences, and Andelin helps a person to do just that.
I would be curious to know how successful in relationships the women giving a negative review to this book are. my bet is "not very". Their ridicule of this book is a little over the top.
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le 3 octobre 2001
I got this book before I was even married and for more than 20 years consistently, honestly and thoroughly followed it. It was right there next to my Bible, till it became part of who I was. I found that my husband,"ate it up". He continued to take and take and I continued to give and give. Now I have NOTHING left to give. Yes, I'm still married, but I have no hope and no desire that it will ever be more than it is now. I staked my life on this book. "If you follow these principles, he can't help but to love you." It just didn't work for me.
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le 6 juin 2004
I have read this book several times over, for other reasons, and have determined that it's teachings mainly facilitate abuse in male-female relationships (especially marriage) and does not empower anyone to adequately address problem issues with any degree of maturity, responsibility, liberty, rationality, etc. Upon reviewing the book, I am marveled by how wonderfully people, who claim to be of character depth and intellectual maturity, can stuff themselves in short sighted ideologies, as suggested in our very own "Fascinating Womanhood". Although Andelin claims that women ought not reduce themselves to the level of doormat or "Severe" abuse, she does not empower them with the necessary tools to avoid such happenings. Indeed, the broadly educated or uneducated, careerless woman with no "masculine skill" is encouraged to escape the confines of "Severe" mental and physical abuse by removing herself and the children. The suggestions in this well respected reading are, at best, surface and pacifying. They are insulting to men and women. I have read all of the reviews and noted a peculiar pattern of thinking among those in support and those in opposition. Clearly, there is intellectual and character disparity in favor of the cons. Has anyone noticed?
If we are to simulate, as many believe, the role of the man in the home to the love that Christ has for the church, then his role, as head, is a service oriented and sacrificial one. He is there to take a leadership and initiating role of service and sacrifice. A role such as this requires utmost care, detail, emotional intelligence, spiritual vigor, maturity, sensitivity, etc, all of which most men are not properly reared to exhibit. If men were being reared with these qualities engrained, they would not be overly dependent on women to train them as adults. The woman is the man's helpmeet, his equal, not is "fascinating" trainer or parent. It is time people are rightly measured against the bible teachings we claim to support.
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le 11 janvier 2004
Since most of the Christians I know (various denominations) endorse honesty and responsibility as key to a healthy marriage, I was shocked to see this infamous title was still in print and enjoying favorable reviews. I previously heard about it from friends who are members of the reformed Mormon church, believing they and their female family members were entitled to human dignity. In otherwords, this title no longer speaks authoritatively even for the original core audience it was supposed to connect with.
Apparently this very title was THE in-thing in the 1950's and 1960's for training women to become 'good' members of the general church. If nothing else, it makes an excellent case study how litterature can effectively program and control people's minds. Andelin instructs women to become docile big children and let the husband have the self-esteem and encouragement instead of dispersing it equally throughout the whole family unit.
Blissfuly unaware of the realities of marriage (then and now) Andelin promotes a profoundly backwards approach to relationships. According to this mindset, people will not like you unless you can successfuly transform yourself into a fairy tale and expend your valuable energy keeping that same act up. Frankly, books like these make me very ashamed to be a member of the human race because they go well beyond other right-wing sociopolitical works (including Schafly)in subordinating women.
Sure the cover says the work is updated for the most current printing, but seriously who wants a life partner (if possible) who talks baby talk and is unable to think for themselves. It seems to me that this same enviroment invites the potential for extramarital affairs, the 'good' men become bored with the 'helpmate' and search for a woman who they can have a conversation with.
If nothing else, economic reality of the current basic cost-of-living requires women to participate in the public sector. People embracing this book as 'proper' will have a very hard time when they are required to excersize survival skills in this intentionally not sugar-coated world.
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le 12 novembre 2003
If you're an average wife, see if you can get away with saying that to your husband without his either bursting out laughing, throwing up, or entertaining grave doubts about your general fitness to be the mother of his children, or maybe even to be running around loose. And yet it's just that sort of gushing manipulation that is the stock in trade for Helen B. Andelin's book.
Since this book came out in 1965, Helen B. Andelin is no spring chicken. She's close to eighty if she's a minute. Not that that matters, but it should shed some light on why she would advocate the kind of super-submissive "domestic goddess" approach that she does. Not only was she a wife and mother during the infamously domestic 1950s, she is a member of the Mormon Church, which means it's a pretty good bet she'd take the same approach today. I grew up in the RLDS Church, which is an offshoot of Mormonism, and I can tell you that the odds of changing the mind of someone who thinks like Helen Andelin are about the same as the odds of making five straight passes in Las Vegas. Some of that conservativity is just part of Mormon culture, and that's all there is to it.
There's not much I could say here that hasn't already been said by most reviewers. I *did* give this book one star, and that's because I agree with its general principle, which is, in my book, to make a husband feel appreciated and to treat him with politeness, consideration, and respect. However, I would expect that this advice goes equally for husbands, and the idea that a wife should blame herself for every bad thing that happens in her relationship with her husband is ridiculous. If you visit Helen Andelin's website at [...] you will see that she is still urging wives to take on the blame when a husband is thoughtless, hurtful, uncommunicative, etc.
I've read Helen Andelin's other book, "The Fascinating Girl," which is meant to be a single woman's version of "Fascinating Womanhood," and was written with the goal of "landing a husband" in mind. I am a 38-year-old woman who has never married, and while the reasons for this are somewhat more complex than that I wouldn't pretend to be some dependent, childlike, clinging little girl, the fact is that if that's what is required, thanks, I'll pass. I did, I have, and there are NO regrets.
More important than books like this one should be books that remind young women that marriage is not the be-all and end-all of life. It is possible to be happy and successful without wearing a wedding ring or being a mother.
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