“This book is about the one subject that’s even more taboo than sex. . . .” Gloria Steinem
The Hite Report on the Family
Growing Up Under Patriarchy
978-0-8021-3451-6 • $14.00 • Paperback • May 1996
The Hite Report on the Family will cause you to rethink your childhood, your relationships, and quite possibly your life. It is a powerful and original analysis of the changing shape of private life, a profoundly optimistic and forward-looking answer to the dangerous nuclear-family-only nostalgia for the fifties that pervades the ongoing national debate on family values. Shere Hite has listened carefully to the real stories of real people and has developed a fascinating new framework for understanding growing up, based on first-person data rather than on a preconceived model or status quo. In this book, Hite becomes the first person to give theoretical legitimacy to all of the infinite ways that we live as “families,” whether as single parents, as same-sex parents, in traditional family groups, or alone.
This major study by a groundbreaking researcher has already been received with tremendous enthusiasm abroad, and Hite’s books have sold over 20 million copies in 36 countries, including the United States. But with the 1987 publication of Women and Love, she became the victim of aggressive media hostility. In February 1994, Susan Faludi was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “The media practically fell all over themselves in their race to discredit Hite’s . . . contrary and subversive political finding, and . . . succeeded in depoliticizing and silencing it by sweeping aside Hite’s chorus of angry women and painting the bearer of the evidence herself as a long, angry woman instead.”
In The Hite Report on the Family Hite challenges established views, arguing that the family is not collapsing but being democratized. Hite introduces a new theory of male eroticism by investigating why so many men and boys confuse sex and violence; she presents a lively new portrait of girls questioning their own sexual identity; and she confounds assumptions of a female “puberty” necessarily parallel to the male. Her questions are provocative and intimate: Do you know how your parents felt about having you? Did your father and mother look at pornography? At what age were your children closest to you? Do men raised by single mothers enjoy better relationships with women? Has children’s respect for their mothers increased with the rise in single and employed mothers?
With The Hite Report of the Family Shere Hite lights the way to understanding change in the family as the constructive result of choice—not as a moral crisis, but as a successful evolution toward private democracy.