I'm wondering if I might be missing something with this book since I'm only 28, not quite into the target demographic. Or maybe it's because I don't quite fit into traditional gender roles as neatly as some female-bodied folks. But I gave this book a try anyway, and I found both good and not so good points about it.

First, the good. Many kudos to the author for presenting a text that rethinks the three titles archetypes in a way that empowers women "of a certain age"! Too often, once we get past our youth, we're consider to just be "dried up old women". It's even newsworthy when an older woman manages to, say, defend herself against a mugger. I'm all for the reclamation of terms and ideas and making them into positive, constructive things. This book does an excellent job with that, and I applaud Schachterle's contribution to this effort.

The text is well-written, though I sometimes felt like she could have been more concise. I also think the practical material that gave ideas for embracing these archetypes might have been better at the end of each chapter, rather than all the way at the end. I got kind of tired of reading theory/anecdote/theory/anecdote/theory/anecdote, etc.

I think my only other complaint (and this is more personal) is that she falls into the female = nurturing, male = aggressive dichotomy.

Her idea of taming the ball-busting bitch into a more constructive bitch involves accepting one's nurturing nature, and inserts the opinion that women shouldn't try to be like men. While I understand the need for woman-only space, and to set women apart to explore themselves as women, instead of as extensions of men, I still find the feminine/nurturing/etc. thing to be a little limited.

Still, for some women this may be exactly what they need to gain some confidence and self-acceptance.

~ review by Lupa

Author: Susan Schachterle

Elite Books, 2006

220 pages, $15.95


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