Call to mind these memorable incidents from the American 1980s. Psychologist Tracy Cabot finds an eager publisher for How to Make a Man Fall in Love With You; her press release announces that ‘forty-year-olds are more likely to be killed by a terrorist than find a husband.’ On the soap opera thirtysomething, while the angelic Hope Steadman stays home with her baby, the single Melissa seethes with jealousy and moans, ‘My biological clock is going off.’ On the big screen that despair turns psychotic. ‘It may be my last chance to have a child!’ shrieks Fatal Attraction’s Medusa-haired career woman, Alex.
These are not isolated moments of pop culture misogyny, argues Susan Faludi in her powerful book, Backlash. The ‘female crises’ publicised by the media – the ‘man shortage’, the ‘infertility epidemic’, the ‘biological clock’ – all form part of an ‘undeclared war against American women’, an all-out assault against female