In this explosive new book, acclaimed French author Elisabeth Badinter attacks a most unlikely force undermining women’s equality: liberal motherhood, in thrall to all that is “natural.” Attachment parenting, co-sleeping and on-demand breastfeeding—these hallmarks of contemporary motherhood have succeeded in tethering women to the home and family to an extent not seen since the 1950s. The taboos surrounding epidurals, formula and disposable diapers—anything that distracts a mother’s attention from her offspring—have turned child rearing into a singularly regressive force. In sharp, engaging prose, Badinter names a reactionary shift that has been intensely felt but never clearly articulated until now. A bestseller in Europe, The Conflict is a scathing indictment of a stealthy zealotry that cheats women of their full potential.
“[A] scathing, controversial and brilliant piece of writing. . . . An essential read, whether or not you plan to have a child.” — EDMONTON JOURNAL
“Ms. Badinter’s polemic is sardonic, urgent and gripping. Sometimes it may sound as if she is advising mothers not even to consider breastfeeding, or encouraging pregnant women to smoke and drink. But she is only trying to re-dress the balance: this is a cry for freedom.” —THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
“A sharp, engaging and iconoclastic writer, Badinter nimbly traces the forces that have combined to glorify maternal sacrifice.” — MACLEAN’S
“One of those rare books with the power to change the way we look at our world and change the choices we make.” — THE GLOBE AND MAIL
“Provocative and rigorous. . . . 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.” — SLATE
ELISABETH BADINTER is the acclaimed author of four seminal works on feminism: Dead End Feminism; XY: On Masculine Identity; The Unopposite Sex: The End of the Gender Battle and Mother Love: Myth and Reality. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages. She teaches philosophy at the prestigious École Polytechnique in Paris, where she lives.