Silencing the Self, by Dana Crowley Jack (1991)
Dana Crowley Jack’s book Silencing the Self broke ground by uncovering the insidious link between loss of self and depression for many women. Looking beyond the standard root causes of depression such as biochemistry, stress, loss, poor adaptive skills, etc. Jack reveals how the lack of meaningful connection – with oneself and with others – is perhaps the single most important factor in women’s depression.
Though a two-year longitudinal study looking at twelve women, all of whom were diagnosed with depression, Jack examines how sociological pressures to live up to the ideals of femininity leads women to self-alienation, and ultimately to depression and despair. Her analysis, lucidly composed, has offered a welcome – and much-needed – inroad for clinicians everywhere working with depressed women.
Behind the Mask by Dana Crowley Jack (1999)
Behind the Mask is a bold discourse into the previously-uncharted territory of women’s thoughts and feelings surrounding anger, aggression, repression, creativity, power and powerlessness. She argues that feelings of aggression can arise from a wide range of sources; everything from failed relationships to an aggression rooted in a newfound strength. I recognized myself on practically every page and gained insight into how I’ve internalized my own anger over the years.
With great sensitivity, Jack weaves together common themes in tackling this topic, shedding light upon, while also validating, this dark cave in women’s inner worlds. She explores the positive side of a woman’s aggression and illustrates that these once negatively driven acts, can be transformed into a journey of finding courage and strength within ourselves.
Inventing the Rest of Our Lives: Women in Second Adulthood, by Suzanne Braun Levine (2004)
Suzanne Braun Levine’s book looks specifically at the group of women who have been everything from daughter, to wife, to mother, to part of the work force. “Second Adulthood” gives new insight into how these women are changing themselves, and how the world is changing them. Levine draws on scientific research, personal stories, and stories from women around the country who are facing dramatic and sometimes life altering challenges. Levine addresses the questions that many women have: what matters, what works, and what’s next?