By Gillian Dalley

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Additional info for Ideologies of Caring: Rethinking Community and Collectivism

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Caring for and caring about are deemed to form a unitary, integral part of a woman's nature (which cannot be offioaded in the 'normal' state of affairs). So if a mother decides to give up her child, even though she cares about it, to her divorced husband or for adoption, she is considered unnatural. Even if she chooses to maintain both the 'caring for' and 'caring about' roles but seeks to separate them (by handing over the 'caring for' to another person or agency on a temporary but regular basis), she is still regarded as deviant.

However, in psychologists' terms, the 'caring about' nature of woman justifies the 'caring for' tasks that she performs. They are an expression of her essentially passive nature. In addition, it becomes the rationalization for women choosing work in the public sphere that is to do with 'caring for' people. ' This somehow justifies their entry into the otherwise 'forbidden' public sphere; it legitimates their break-out from the private sphere. For boys, on the other hand, it is perfectly legitimate to name 'career', 'money', 'success' as their concrete life goals.

However, Greer turns his argument on its head. Rather than its being the nuclear family that has persisted throughout the centuries, despite attacks on it from every direction, as Mount argues, it is the extended family, or the Family, as Greer refers to it, that has survived down the ages. Although increasingly under pressure from those who preach the 'doctrine of instant gratification', which she sees as being part of the destructive forces that the Western world is bringing to bear on 'traditional communities' allover the world, it continues its struggle to survive.

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