The Conflict by Elisabeth Badinter

55%

17 Critic Reviews

Missing from Badinter’s philosophical schema is any sort of intellectual middle path that, instead of pitting mothers against children, might lead to solutions that could benefit both.
-NY Times

Synopsis

In the pathbreaking tradition of Backlash and The Time Bind, The Conflict, a #1 European bestseller, identifies a surprising setback to women's freedom: progressive modern motherhood

Elisabeth Badinter has for decades been in the vanguard of the European fight for women's equality. Now, in an explosive new book, she points her finger at a most unlikely force undermining the status of women: liberal motherhood, in thrall to all that is "natural." Attachment parenting, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and especially breast-feeding—these hallmarks of contemporary motherhood have succeeded in tethering women to the home and family to an extent not seen since the 1950s. Badinter argues that the taboos now surrounding epidurals, formula, disposable diapers, cribs—and anything that distracts a mother's attention from her offspring—have turned childrearing into a singularly regressive force.

In sharp, engaging prose, Badinter names a reactionary shift that is intensely felt but has not been clearly articulated until now, a shift that America has pioneered. She reserves special ire for the orthodoxy of the La Leche League—an offshoot of conservative Evangelicalism—showing how on-demand breastfeeding, with all its limitations, curtails women's choices. Moreover, the pressure to provide children with 24/7 availability and empathy has produced a generation of overwhelmed and guilt-laden mothers—one cause of the West's alarming decline in birthrate.
A bestseller in Europe, The Conflict is a scathing indictment of a stealthy zealotry that cheats women of their full potential.

 

About Elisabeth Badinter

See more books from this Author
ELISABETH BADINTER is the acclaimed author of three seminal works on feminism—The Myth of Motherhood, Wrong Turn, and Masculine Identity—which have been translated into fifteen languages. Badinter teaches philosophy at the École Polytechnique in Paris, where she lives.
 
Published April 24, 2012 by Metropolitan Books. 222 pages
Genres: Other, Parenting & Relationships, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Conflict
All: 17 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 9

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Judith Warner on May 10 2012

Missing from Badinter’s philosophical schema is any sort of intellectual middle path that, instead of pitting mothers against children, might lead to solutions that could benefit both.

Read Full Review of The Conflict | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Rachel Hewitt on Aug 29 2013

Enthusiasm for natural mothering, or "overzealous motherhood", is at fever pitch in Britain just now, and The Conflict is an important and refreshing challenge to the dominant ideology.

Read Full Review of The Conflict | See more reviews from Guardian

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Jane Haile on Sep 10 2013

For newbies to the arguments it will undoubtedly provide an exciting, provocative, and even dangerous few hours.

Read Full Review of The Conflict | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by Molly Guinness on Apr 20 2012

Ms. Badinter's polemic is sardonic, urgent and gripping.

Read Full Review of The Conflict | See more reviews from WSJ online

Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by Claudia Casper on Apr 27 2012

It is one of those rare books with the power to change the way we look at our world and change the choices we make.

Read Full Review of The Conflict | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

National Post arts

Excellent
Reviewed by Stacey Fowles on May 04 2012

This ugly truth is one so difficult to articulate, yet Badinter has done so convincingly.

Read Full Review of The Conflict | See more reviews from National Post arts

Slate

Excellent
Reviewed by Katie Roiphe on Apr 19 2012

Badinter’s impressive imperative to own one’s own life, to take rigorous and energetic responsibility, to cast off the silly or cowardly or frivolously domestic ways, seems very appealing, and refreshing and brisk.

Read Full Review of The Conflict

PopMatters

Below average
Reviewed by Sarah Watson on May 04 2012

...a spoonful of sugar would’ve been appreciated by this reader, since you get more readers with honey than footnotes, although arguably some gracefulness was simply lost in translation.

Read Full Review of The Conflict

Macleans

Good
Reviewed by Anne Kingston on Apr 20 2012

Conflicted attitudes toward motherhood also reveal unspoken truths, she writes: “Since the advent of contraception, women’s identities have splintered and diversified. The inability to acknowledge this smacks of wilful blindness.” And if any book can smack those scales from the eyes, it’s this one.

Read Full Review of The Conflict

Book Forum

Below average
Reviewed by Heather Havrilesky on Apr 01 2012

But by savoring the shortsighted fervor of such extremists, Badinter erodes our faith in her ability to assess the bigger picture.

Read Full Review of The Conflict

For Books' Sake

Below average
Reviewed by Laura Vickers on May 01 2012

...Badinter gets a little over-excited in the attempt and her ideas come bowling out over each other without as much structure as I would like.

Read Full Review of The Conflict

The Nation

Below average
Reviewed by Jennifer Szalai on May 16 2012

But motherhood is an experience that is full of ambiguity and ambivalence, and pretending otherwise, even for the sake of argument, will make The Conflict dismissible by anyone who feels excluded from Badinter’s arid categories of thought.

Read Full Review of The Conflict

Boston Review

Below average
Reviewed by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow on Jul 01 2012

But too often, she fails to persuasively defend the particulars of her argument...

Read Full Review of The Conflict

The Monthly

Below average
Reviewed by Anne Manne on Mar 01 2012

Badinter decries the rise of “naturalism” in contemporary childrearing... But then she contradicts herself...

Read Full Review of The Conflict

The Melbourne Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Tali Lavi

Not that it constitutes a dull read; Badinter’s tone is one of cold rage.

Read Full Review of The Conflict

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Amy Allen on May 27 2012

...the book could hardly be called a sophisticated philosophical analysis, especially not when compared with the kind of scholarship that is produced by feminist philosophers these days.

Read Full Review of The Conflict | See more reviews from NY Times

National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by Stacey May Fowles on May 04 2012

The book has indeed garnered controversy, but the author is not necessarily stating anything we, the childless and unresolved, didn’t already know...

Read Full Review of The Conflict | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for The Conflict
50%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 41 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×