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Babymania

Katha Pollitt, 21 March 1996

Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness 
by Elaine Tyler May.
Basic Books, 318 pp., $24, June 1995, 0 465 00609 4
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Mothers in Law: Feminist Theory and the Legal Regulation of Motherhood 
edited by Martha Albertson Fineman and Isabel Karpin.
Columbia, 398 pp., £12.95, June 1995, 9780231096812
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What about Us? An Open Letter to the Mothers Feminism Forgot 
by Maureen Freely.
Bloomsbury, 224 pp., £15.99, October 1995, 0 7475 2304 5
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Kidding Ourselves: Breadwinning, Babies and Bargaining Power 
by Rhona Mahony.
Basic Books, 277 pp., $23, June 1995, 0 465 08594 6
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... Having a baby is such an impediment to American women I used to wonder why they didn’t go on strike: ‘No equality, no kids!’ It may be that something like that is happening in those countries where family structure and masculine attitudes are in radical conflict with women’s desire for emancipation. Catholic Italy and Spain, of all places, have the lowest fertility rates in the world today; and in Japan, where women typically lose their jobs on marrying and motherhood is a full-time and often rather lonely business, young women are increasingly reluctant to get married at all ...

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