The Conflict How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women4stars



Three Steps Forward and A Major Fall Back

By Elisabeth Badinter
Metropolitan Books, $25.00, 208 pages

Motherhood has always gotten a free ride. The Conflict seeks to address that wrong by looking at a number of ways that motherhood has changed over the last few decades. Badinter believes that the feminist movement has actually gone too far in favor of breastfeeding and family rights. Through a combination of these, especially breastfeeding, she believes that women have actually lost ground in the workplace as women virtually demanded to be treated differently, and only by reversing that trend a little bit can women be considered true equals.

The idea that women’s rights and a march towards health can actually cause problems is interesting and ironic. Badinter is able to put her ideas forth bluntly yet elegantly and her irritation at the La Leche League makes for some interesting reading.  Her suggestion is that the pendulum needs to balance out a little bit, and that, although she agrees that breastfeeding has some health benefits it has been hyped far too much, something she eloquently backs up. Overall, for those looking for a report card on the equality movement, this makes for some insightful reading.

Reviewed by Jamais Jochim

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