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Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men's Violence and Women's Lives

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Have you wondered: Why women are more sympathetic than men toward O. J. Simpson? Why women were no more supportive of the Equal Rights Amendment than men? Why women are no more likely than men to support a female political candidate? Why women are no more likely than men to embrace feminism--a movement by, about, and for women? Why some women stay with men who abuse them? Have you wondered: Why women are more sympathetic than men toward O. J. Simpson? Why women were no more supportive of the Equal Rights Amendment than men? Why women are no more likely than men to support a female political candidate? Why women are no more likely than men to embrace feminism--a movement by, about, and for women? Why some women stay with men who abuse them? "Loving to Survive" addresses just these issues and poses a surprising answer. Likening women's situation to that of hostages, Dee L. R. Graham and her co- authors argue that women bond with men and adopt men's perspective in an effort to escape the threat of men's violence against them. Dee Graham's announcement, in 1991, of her research on male-female bonding was immediately followed by a national firestorm of media interest. Her startling and provocative conclusion was covered in dozens of national newspapers and heatedly debated. In "Loving to Survive," Graham provides us with a complete account of her remarkable insights into relationships between men and women. In 1973, three women and one man were held hostage in one of the largest banks in Stockholm by two ex-convicts. These two men threatened their lives, but also showed them kindness. Over the course of the long ordeal, the hostages came to identify with their captors, developing an emotional bond with them. They began to perceive the police, their prospective liberators, as their enemies, and their captors as their friends, as a source of security. This seemingly bizarre reaction to captivity, in which the hostages and captors mutually bond to one another, has been documented in other cases as well, and has become widely known as Stockholm Syndrome. The authors of this book take this syndrome as their starting point to develop a new way of looking at male-female relationships. "Loving to Survive" considers men's violence against women as crucial to understanding women's current psychology. Men's violence creates ever-present, and therefore often unrecognized, terror in women. This terror is often experienced as a fear for any woman of rape by any man or as a fear of making any man angry. They propose that women's current psychology is actually a psychology of women under conditions of captivitythat is, under conditions of terror caused by male violence against women. Therefore, women's responses to men, and to male violence, resemble hostages' responses to captors. "Loving to Survive" explores women's bonding to men as it relates to men's violence against women. It proposes that, like hostages who work to placate their captors lest they kill them, women work to please men, and from this springs women's femininity. Femininity describes a set of behaviors that please men because they communicate a woman's acceptance of her subordinate status. Thus, feminine behaviors are, in essence, survival strategies. Like hostages who bond to their captors, women bond to men in an effort to survive. This is a book that will forever change the way we look at male-female relationships and women's lives.


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Have you wondered: Why women are more sympathetic than men toward O. J. Simpson? Why women were no more supportive of the Equal Rights Amendment than men? Why women are no more likely than men to support a female political candidate? Why women are no more likely than men to embrace feminism--a movement by, about, and for women? Why some women stay with men who abuse them? Have you wondered: Why women are more sympathetic than men toward O. J. Simpson? Why women were no more supportive of the Equal Rights Amendment than men? Why women are no more likely than men to support a female political candidate? Why women are no more likely than men to embrace feminism--a movement by, about, and for women? Why some women stay with men who abuse them? "Loving to Survive" addresses just these issues and poses a surprising answer. Likening women's situation to that of hostages, Dee L. R. Graham and her co- authors argue that women bond with men and adopt men's perspective in an effort to escape the threat of men's violence against them. Dee Graham's announcement, in 1991, of her research on male-female bonding was immediately followed by a national firestorm of media interest. Her startling and provocative conclusion was covered in dozens of national newspapers and heatedly debated. In "Loving to Survive," Graham provides us with a complete account of her remarkable insights into relationships between men and women. In 1973, three women and one man were held hostage in one of the largest banks in Stockholm by two ex-convicts. These two men threatened their lives, but also showed them kindness. Over the course of the long ordeal, the hostages came to identify with their captors, developing an emotional bond with them. They began to perceive the police, their prospective liberators, as their enemies, and their captors as their friends, as a source of security. This seemingly bizarre reaction to captivity, in which the hostages and captors mutually bond to one another, has been documented in other cases as well, and has become widely known as Stockholm Syndrome. The authors of this book take this syndrome as their starting point to develop a new way of looking at male-female relationships. "Loving to Survive" considers men's violence against women as crucial to understanding women's current psychology. Men's violence creates ever-present, and therefore often unrecognized, terror in women. This terror is often experienced as a fear for any woman of rape by any man or as a fear of making any man angry. They propose that women's current psychology is actually a psychology of women under conditions of captivitythat is, under conditions of terror caused by male violence against women. Therefore, women's responses to men, and to male violence, resemble hostages' responses to captors. "Loving to Survive" explores women's bonding to men as it relates to men's violence against women. It proposes that, like hostages who work to placate their captors lest they kill them, women work to please men, and from this springs women's femininity. Femininity describes a set of behaviors that please men because they communicate a woman's acceptance of her subordinate status. Thus, feminine behaviors are, in essence, survival strategies. Like hostages who bond to their captors, women bond to men in an effort to survive. This is a book that will forever change the way we look at male-female relationships and women's lives.

30 review for Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men's Violence and Women's Lives

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    My very conservative boss gave me a gift certificate to,B&N years ago, and since it was "free money" I decided to buy this book - the library did not have it. I'm sure he'd be horrified by the concepts in this book, but I found it to be an incredible read - one of those books where your own notes in the margin take up more room than the original text. It's a radical theory, but I think Psychologist Dee Graham does a great job of defending her thesis. The section on why straight men are so terrif My very conservative boss gave me a gift certificate to,B&N years ago, and since it was "free money" I decided to buy this book - the library did not have it. I'm sure he'd be horrified by the concepts in this book, but I found it to be an incredible read - one of those books where your own notes in the margin take up more room than the original text. It's a radical theory, but I think Psychologist Dee Graham does a great job of defending her thesis. The section on why straight men are so terrified of gay men is worth the whole book, but then, you have to read the whole book to put her reasoninginto context. One of those books I am STILL angry I loaned to someone, since of course I never got it back.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tamsin

    Well this is everything I think now

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    Essential to anyone who wants to understand how women relate to men and themselves

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kitty

    This should be mandatory reading in high school. I desperately urge any woman to read this book at the drop of a hat or with absolutely no provocation at all. It is invaluable. You can find it online at http://radfem.org/stockholm/ or interlibrary loan it. Please read this book. This should be mandatory reading in high school. I desperately urge any woman to read this book at the drop of a hat or with absolutely no provocation at all. It is invaluable. You can find it online at http://radfem.org/stockholm/ or interlibrary loan it. Please read this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

    Essential reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emilia

    AMAZING

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hailey M

    An essential read for all women.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paige Greene

    An absolutely essential read for women and girls who find themselves at the mercy of the patriarchy (all of us). Even the beginning chapters which describe Stockholm Syndrome on an individual level are eye-opening; I recognized nearly all of the behaviors that Graham describes as survival tactics I myself had developed to withstand the abusive relationship I suffered as a young girl. When Graham generalizes these behaviors to women as a class, she is not making grand or sweeping or unrealistic g An absolutely essential read for women and girls who find themselves at the mercy of the patriarchy (all of us). Even the beginning chapters which describe Stockholm Syndrome on an individual level are eye-opening; I recognized nearly all of the behaviors that Graham describes as survival tactics I myself had developed to withstand the abusive relationship I suffered as a young girl. When Graham generalizes these behaviors to women as a class, she is not making grand or sweeping or unrealistic generalizations. Her theory is soundly based on years and years of objective research, and it would reasonably explain many of the psychological and sociological phenomena observable in women as victims of patriarchal oppression. She presents her theory mostly without jargon so that it is not at all inaccessible to the average reader, and I love her woman-centered, woman-specific language choices. So long as she provides herself the necessary mental and emotional space to reflect and think critically about the ideas that Graham proposes, the reader will find that most, if not all, of these ideas resonate for her.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie EVHS

    The book focuses on a law of behavior: Stockholm Syndrome. Basically, it means that the women has developed sympathy for violent men (such as rapists). The book tries to propose many ways women can act natural. He also focuses on the definition, causes and consequences of the syndrome. He also talked about the sterotypes of how people might behave. I think the most helpful part of the book is the solutions he proposed for women and how they can overcome the syndrome themselves.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    It's too good for me to just review this with a few words. It's too good for me to just review this with a few words.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ariel ✨

    This book completely transformed how I think about relationship violence, misogyny, and gender relations. Dr. Graham's words really resonated with me and mirrored my own lived experiences. This book completely transformed how I think about relationship violence, misogyny, and gender relations. Dr. Graham's words really resonated with me and mirrored my own lived experiences.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Saffia

    Life-changing and transformative!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jalyn

    This was an interesting book. Right off the bat I was skeptical of the concept - that because of male violence, all women have Stockholm Syndrome (a phenomenon called "Societal Stockholm Syndrome" in the book) and women's relationships with men are filtered through that lens. (There was also an implication that heterosexual women are only heterosexual because of Stockholm Syndrome, which was just plain weird to me.) But I decided to give it a chance. The book started with a discussion of Stockholm This was an interesting book. Right off the bat I was skeptical of the concept - that because of male violence, all women have Stockholm Syndrome (a phenomenon called "Societal Stockholm Syndrome" in the book) and women's relationships with men are filtered through that lens. (There was also an implication that heterosexual women are only heterosexual because of Stockholm Syndrome, which was just plain weird to me.) But I decided to give it a chance. The book started with a discussion of Stockholm Syndrome. It went over in detail the Swedish bank robbery that the syndrome got its name from, which was actually a fascinating read, and covered the conditions necessary for it to develop. Then it moved into examining the situation of women in (modern American) society and matching that up with the conditions for Stockholm Syndrome to develop. Some of the points made sense - like that women have no way to "escape" from men or be completely positive that they will not be victims of male violence. Others - like the idea that the only perspectives women have access to are male perspectives - seemed like a bit of a stretch. Dee had some good ideas and gave a solid explanation of many aspects of patriarchy, but ultimately, I was unconvinced. It's definitely a theory worth exploring, but in my opinion, there just isn't enough solid evidence to call it a fact. The last chapter, though, was worth the entire read. It covers ways women have and can resist the patriarchy and is full of practical, actionable things you can do to work on de-Stockholm-Syndrome-ing yourself. I'm not a woman, but I definitely plan to use some of those suggestions. And speaking of that - I am not a woman (I'm agender), and I also don't have a lot of experience with male violence, so I didn't find this book all that relatable. Women and those who have experienced a lot of male violence will probably see themselves more in these pages. This book also doesn't even touch on trans or nonbinary issues - it is 100% about cis women and cis men. Overall, though it lacked enough evidence to convince me, Loving to Survive presented some good ideas, made some solid points, and gave an excellent discussion of the violence aspect of the patriarchy. And if nothing else, it's a fascinating read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aimee Georgeson

    Fascinating.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ceridwen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

  18. 5 out of 5

    j

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sealstitchery

  20. 5 out of 5

    Мурка Ленина

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mleig

  23. 5 out of 5

    Callista

  24. 5 out of 5

    Soyeon Lee

  25. 5 out of 5

    David Komaromy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Winnie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Claire Ryan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nevena

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

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