Title: All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership
Author: Darcy Lockman
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Sub Genre(s): Relationships, Parenting, Feminism
Summary: The inequity of domestic life is one of the most profound and perplexing conundrums of our time. In an era of seemingly unprecedented feminist activism, enlightenment, and change, data show that one area of gender inequality stubbornly remains: the unequal amount of parental work that falls on women, no matter their class or professional status. All the Rage investigates the cause of this pervasive inequity to answer why, in households where both parents work full-time, mothers’ contributions—even those women who earn more than their partners—still outweigh fathers’ when it comes to raising children and maintaining a home.
How can this be? How, in a culture that has studied and lauded the benefits of fathers’ being active, present partners in child-rearing—benefits that extend far beyond the well-being of the kids themselves—can a commitment to fairness in marriage melt away upon the arrival of children?
Darcy Lockman drills deep to find answers, exploring how the feminist promise of true domestic partnership almost never, in fact, comes to pass. Starting with her own case-study as Ground Zero, she moves outward, chronicling the experiences of a diverse cross-section of women raising children with men; visiting new mothers’ groups and pioneering co-parenting specialists; and interviewing experts across academic fields, from gender studies professors and anthropologists to neuroscientists and primatologists. Lockman identifies three tenets that have upheld the cultural gender division of labor and peels back the reasons both men and women are culpable. Her findings are startling—and offer a catalyst for true change.
What I Liked: This book is written in an accessible way so it doesn’t read like a non-fiction book. You wouldn’t mistake it for fiction but I never found myself thinking I was reading a text book like some non-fiction books. I liked that Lockman approached this topic from personal experience and shared stories from her own life. It made this the topic more personal and I appreciated her openness. Two sections in particular stuck out to me: the studies done on how babies interact with each other and how quickly they start to pick up on our habits. The other section that was interesting and enraging was how people still view women taking their husband’s last name when they get married. The personal anecdotes in this chapter are worth a read if only to see how dated some people’s views are and how strong the patriarchy is.
What I Didn’t Like: If I had one minor complaint, it’s that the women she interviewed for the book started to blend together after a while because their stories were spread out over the entirety of the book instead of being told all at once. I couldn’t remember who was who by the end. This didn’t ruin anything for me but I found it a bit annoying. I also wish that Lockman had included steps people can take to influence change.
Who Should Read It: I honestly think everyone should read this book, even if you aren’t a parent or aren’t planning on having kids because a lot of the book focuses on communication between people in relationships and that’s something that everyone can relate to. However, if you’re a parent or thinking about having kids, I think this would be a great book to read.
Review Wrap Up: Sometimes the title of a book doesn’t match the contents of the story or the emotions you’ll feel while reading the book….that’s not the case with this book. I felt ALL the rage while reading but it also made me think and want to recommend this book to everyone I know. This is an important book and I highly recommend it.
Favorite Quote:(s) “Sociologist Sharon Hayes writes that maternal behavior is ‘…neither a choice made by women nor a symbol of love and progress in society; rather, it is an indication of the power of men, whites, the upper classes, capitalists and state leaders to impose a particular form of family life on those less power than themselves.’”
“Research in Sweden has found that for female candidates, winning a race for government office doubles the baseline risk of subsequent divorce; campaigning and then losing does not. Whether a male candidate wins or loses an election has no direct bearing on his marital future. The same Swedish study found that married women who become CEOs are twice as likely to divorce within three years of this achievement than men who accomplish the same.”