Why Women Cry or, Wenches With Wrenches

New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1943. First Edition. Prescient and surprisingly frank appraisal of gender roles in post-Depression American society, with chapters on women laborers in the war effort, on sexuality and sex discrimination, and on the stereotypical roles available to women in a male-dominated culture. Hawes's writing foreshadows, by decades, that of Betty Friedan and Helen Gurley Brown, and though the current work is little-known it surely deserves recognition as a foundation document of second-wave feminism. Of the idea of feminine beauty, Hawes asks, "How can every woman have the body beautiful? Why aren't they ALL beautiful?" And in a paragraph that could have been lifted directly from The Feminine Mystique, she states: "It is fair to say that nobody understands women, since nobody understands how their insides work. And to go through life a mystery, not only to everyone you know but even to yourself, that's enough to make anyone a Problem...[so] women are treated in a very special way. One the one hand we are set up on pedestals and on the other we are put in the position of servants. One day we are protected from the big rough world by men being forbidden to swear before us. The next we are cursed at for not keeping the house clean..."

Not in Krichmar (though two magazine articles by Hawes are listed there). Though fairly well-represented in institutional holdings, the book is uncommon in the trade, and generally unheralded in discussions of feminist literature. In our estimation a notable, even seminal, work. Octavo (21cm). Cloth-backed flexible paper-covered boards; 221pp. Small nick to spine cloth; trivial rubbing to wrapper edges; still a tight, Near Fine copy.

Price: $250.00

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