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Dinnerstein, Dorothy

  • By: Luca Prono
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Dorothy Dinnerstein (1923–92) was an American feminist scholar and activist whose best-known study The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise (1976) argues that, because child rearing is an essentially female occupation, it is responsible for the creation and the maintenance of gender inequalities. Thus, Dinnerstein viewed the unbalanced responsibility between genders in parenting not simply as a symptom of social oppression of women, but as the very cause that continued to perpetrate such oppression. To Dinnerstein, the fact that the responsibility of taking care of children is primarily assigned to the mother eventually causes a rejection of women and of responsibilities falling into the female sphere.

Dorothy Dinnerstein was born in New York City on April 4, 1923, into a Jewish family of ...

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