From board games to beauty pageants, a smart, witty, pop-culture history of the perilous path to achieving the feminine ideal.
Books titled How to Fascinate Men and How to Help Your Husband Get Ahead. Hope chests. Home economics courses at the college level. Ah, womanhood. Peril, founder of the zine Mystery Date, devoted to her obsession with old etiquette and self-help books, analyzes these and other marvels in her first book. "Pink think" is "a set of ideas and attitudes about what constitutes proper female behavior," she says, and it "assumes there is a standard of behavior to which all women... must aspire." In casual, friendly language, Peril who shares tales of her own childhood pink think rebellion charts the amusing yet sad history of how women have been conditioned with a set of rules that often begins with someone telling them little girls are made of "sugar and spice and everything nice." A pop culture history of achieving the feminine ideal, the book explores everything from childhood and adolescence to marriage and the workplace. Spurred on by the "Patron Saint of Pink Think," Jayne Mansfield, pink think infiltrated frighteningly numerous aspects of women's lives from the 1940s through the '70s and was often driven by advertisements pitching girls' versions of house-cleaning supplies and feminine hygiene products that counseled women to douche regularly in order to ensure a happy marriage. In an afterword, Peril expresses her dismay at the apparent preservation of pink think today (witness the success of 1995's The Rules and 2001's The Surrendered Wife). Although her book may leave some women thinking, "OK, we've ditched the maternity girdles so now what?" it's hilariously entertaining. B&w and color illus. (Oct. 7) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.