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since June 19, 2001



The wife at his side

by Karin Jäckel

Book Review

The book put to an end a two-year hiatus in Karin Jaeckel's career as an author, the result of a boycott in the publishing industry against her — a hostile reaction and retaliation against her on account of her last-published book The Secondhand Man, in which she merely illustrated society's attitudes toward men, especially toward fathers, and in which she illustrates the impact of fatherlessness on children. (Translated excerpts from The Secondhand Man)

The wife at his side

Book Information
Book Review

At 15:34 1999 10 08 +0000, webmaster@pappa.com wrote:
>"Karin Jäckel ist es gelungen, das Zusammenleben von Mann und Frau
>und von Familien in einer breitgefächerten Sicht darzulegen."
>Ingrid Kalazu, Vorsitzende von W.O.M.A.N.

Translation of that quote:

Karin Jaeckel succeeded in producing a broad, comprehensive view of the cooperative life of husband, wife and family.
        --Ingrid Kalazu, President of W.O.M.A.N. [World Organization of Mothers of all Nations]  --WHS

Translation of the promotional information by dtv [German Pocket Book Publishers]

Karin Jaeckel, The wife at his side.  "Mere" housewives in the Looking-glass of Feminism  [German]
dtv 36053, 320 pages, DM 19,90  öS 145,-  sF 19,- 
First printing October 1999 [1]

"The wife at his side" -- during her whole life as a spouse she is fulfilled by supporting and promoting the career of her husband and to make it her personal concern.  She is his companion, friend, lover and advisor, worries about the children she has in common with him, looks after the work in the domestic domain and protects his back.   In public opinion, the performance of her manifold duties earn her anything but glory and honour.  Generally she is considered nothing but a "mere" housewife and "the little woman at the stove."  In these  times, in which is it considered to be a matter of course that women seek a career in the professions and in employment, she is decried as a "parasite" and is far down on the scale of social appreciation.

Karin Jaeckel examines the historical as well as the current contexts of this devaluation that ranges from being covert to openly-aggressive.  She pursues the motivations and self-realization of the "wife at his side."  It is not at all an attempt by her to evoke compassion for the housewife as a loser in the gender war, but she illustrates with numerous examples the extent of enrichment, satisfaction and enjoyment that can inherently be found in this life style.

Karin Jaeckel studied Germanistics und History of the Arts, and has been a freelance author since she received her Ph.D.  She devotes herself mostly to socially critical themes and earned her fame through the bestseller "Monika B. I'm not your daughter any longer" (1993) [on the consequences of recovered memory therapy [2]] and "Don't tell anyone who your father is -- The fate of the children of priests" (1998) [3].  Her most successful title, "The Secondhand Man — Loved no longer and pillaged — Fathers after separation"  [4] [see translated excerpts ], influentially contributed to the public discussion of orphans of divorce and fathers fighting for access or custody.

Karin Jaeckel is a wife and a mother of three sons.  She lives in the Black Forest.

Another title that is available at dtv: "Who are the perpetrators?  The other side of child abuse."  [5]

Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. Friedrichstr. 1a,  80801
München Presseabteilung - Telefon: ( 089) 38167-117, Telefax: (089)
38167-333, E-Mail: stuermer@dtv.de 


List of German titles of the books mentioned in the summary (there are no English-language editions yet):

1.  Karin Jäckel, Die Frau an seiner Seite. "Nur"-Hausfrauen im Spiegel des Feminismus dtv 36053, 320 Seiten, DM 19,90  öS 145,-  sF 19,-  Originalausgabe Oktober 1999

2.  "Monika B. ich bin nicht mehr eure Tochter" (1993)

3.  "Sag keinem, wer dein Vater ist. Das Schicksal von Priesterkindern" (1998).

4.  "Der gebrauchte Mann. Abgeliebt und abgezockt - Väter nach der Trennung" (1997; dtv 15103)

5.  "Wer sind die Täter? Die andere Seite des Kindesmißbrauchs" (dtv 30528).

Karin Jaeckel's new book The wife at his side appeared on the market and received its first review.

It is a book that relates the experiences of wives throughout history who stood by their husbands' sides through thick and thin, through suffering and success -- wives that any real man would be proud to be married to -- and compares them to modern trends in marriage and careers of women.

In forwarding the review, Karin Jaeckel expressed regret that the reviewer had not managed to read all of her book.

The review is a two-page article (no advertising inserts), in the German periodical FOCUS.

The following is a translation of the article in FOCUS that provides the review of The wife at his side.

FOCUS, (40/1999)

Elation and Frustration

Kitchenwork can cause stress.  Nevertheless, the role of a housewife is astoundingly popular amongst younger women.

[A graph was contained here in the article.  It showed that the numbers of people in the work force in all of Germany (in the former East- and West Germany) evolved as shown in the following table

Numbers of employed men and women (millions)

  1978 1998
Men 16.3 16.9
Women 9.9 12.4

The title of the graph is "Statistic — Employment"
The caption is "Into the office instead of to the stove"  The subheading of the caption reads "Since 1978 almost four per cent  more employed men, but 25 per cent more women." —WHS]


Determined housewives fight against being slandered.


Counter Move 

[The original text is a colloquial pun and loses its meaning in the translation]  

The Manifesto of the German Housewives's Movement puts Career Women and radical Liberationists alike through the Wringer

When the trend researcher Peter Wipper-Amann saw a few months ago the results of his new women's survey, he was left speechless: 60 percent of the younger women (between 14 and 40) wanted to be housewives, rather then to move through life as a "modern amazone" or a "smart slut." (FOCUS 25/99)
    Other recent opinion polls too showed that no less than about half of West-German women yearn for the ostensibly dated ideal of the homely all-round provider.  It's hard to believe, considering that according to the opinions promoted by the media, the housewife thoroughly disappeared.
   Women's periodicals tirelessly produce portraits of heroic women who pursue professional careers, and, in TV crime shows, as cool female police officers hunt down every sinister perpetrator (and thereby at the same time the patriarchy).
   The media believes that *a woman needs three things,* a fantastic job, a tolerant man, and at the same time -- for additional strengthening of her self-esteem -- a hot lover (and, if it can be arranged at all, a child or two could be added to that as well).
   That grates on the nerves of Karin Jaeckel from the  Black Forest, an author of Children's and non-fiction books.  At any rate, the mother of three finds it to be quite agreeable when other women are ready to be "the wife at his side' (book title) -- meaning, to be at the side of a nice, sole-income-earning husband.
  Protection of her flanks is provided in the form of safe conducts offered, through comrades-in-arms from the German Housewives' Union and the World Organization of Mothers of all Nations, W.O.M.A.N..
   Karin Jaeckel's first objective is to pillory the revilement by feminists of "family-women."  Examples: The former Hessian women's minister Heide Pfarr accused housewives of wanting to keep a load off the backs of their husbands, so that the latter would be unfairly enabled to resist the competition by battallions of career women,  The housewife ideal, so Pfarr according to a quote by Jaeckel, "[I] won't support, but will fight it wherever I encounter it."  Sociologist Gunhild Gutschmitt even considers housewives and their husbands -- figuratively -- to be parasites of the social system, because caregivers don't have to make contributions to social insurance and pension schemes.

"Marriages break increasingly more often under the pressure exerted by the devourer of time and tolerance, SELF-REALIZATION."

— Karin Jaeckel

Many bitter words are thus loosened by Karin Jaeckel about the mobbing of mopping women.  Nevertheless, can it truly be that enjoyment is to be found in cooking, in raising children and in caring for husbands?  Don't look for any insights from her into the world of life and emotions of today's housewives.  She justifies the existence as caregiver solely on the basis of the advantages it provides for the emotional well-being of children.
   She has ready a single role-model, although not exactly a fresh, dew-sprinkled one: Katharina von Bora, wife of the Church-rebel Martin Luther, is said to have been a self-determined woman, nevertheless a reliable companion, a circumspect administrator, and a good mother.
   As long as the author merely demands the right of the housewife not to be discriminated against, one has to agree with her completely.  In addition, Karin Jaeckel is on the right track when she complains that relations between the sexes are being disturbed through feminists' half- and quarter truths, such as the allegation that men massively abuse children and beat up women, or that they are bad fathers whose assistance in raising children can be foregone easily.  It's all right when she lets go against pedagogical experiments in whom little boys are weaned of their agressivenes but little girls acquire it.

The anti-feminist poison-sprayer is unfortunately being used a little too intensively.  While feminists love to adhere to a conspiracy theory, according to which an ominous "patriarchy" keeps women away from the arm chairs of power by any and all means,  Karin Jaeckel -- on the same level -- imputes that "hard-line feminists" promote a secret program for "the destruction of the family structure" and "the elimination of men."  Female striving for domination is supposed to be the cause of  marital dischord, youth criminality, and emotional disturbances in children, she suggests, and thereby she makes things far too easy for herself.

It's not worth her while to mention the circumstance that for women too, in the face of a divorce rate of 40 percent in the mean-time, it is fairly risky to interrupt a career.  Or that mothers simply go to work because their husbands don't earn enough.
   When Karin Jaeckel eventually claims that feminism "estranged" women, through "brain-washing," from their original role of living as housewives, then she erects a dogma that is as foolish as that of her opponents.  She counters the feminist postulation of the carreer-enabled mother -- indirectly -- with the norm that a mother with children must be, naturally, a housewife.
   The author doesn't strictly adhere to her own advice.  She's been writing books for many years -- mostly several each year.

              --Frank Gerbert

Karin Jaeckel's book is being published by Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich (317 pages, DM 19.50) [No ISBN was provided --WHS]

About the author, by the author

Well, as Karin Jaeckel mentioned, it's too bad that the reviewer, Frank Gerbert, didn't read the whole book.  Nevertheless, although Frank Gerbert seems to be generally uneducated or at best somewhat indoctrinated with respect to sex and family issues, one of the aspects he overlooked is that Karin Jaeckel writes her books in the confines of her home.

A little bit of history won't hurt either.  In the 1820's, family values experienced a revival that eventually brought about a decline in the social destruction and corruption that peaked in the middle of 19th century, it became a social revolution that culminated in what came to be known as the Victorian Age.  That revival was brought about largely by women who were housewives free having to labour under the constraints of professional careers, while their husbands worked 60 to 70 hours each week to give them that freedom and freeing them as well from the drudgery of having to do housework.

Most of these women, some of which later became the early feminist pioneers, were also largely free of the obligations of having to raise their children themselves, having to scrub floors, or having to cook for their husbands.  They were freed from those obligations by the circumstance that their husbands' wealth provided them with abundant domestic help, with everything from kitchen maids, through drivers of their carriages, to gardeners and governesses, because virtually without exception, these women came from the upper-middle class of society in which women lived in such luxury.

Although Betty Friedan complained much about the discrimination against American women in the form of enforced idleness and, like Mao, said that their productivity in the economy was under-used, she also complained a bit about women having it hard (See 1966 N.O.W. Agenda).  Her complaints, expressed at the founding of N.O.W., was mainly along the lines that women were bored and not involved to their full potential in the economy. However, as to her own experiences, nothing much had changed in her life from that of the privileged women of the Victorian Age.
    As professor David Horowitz stated in Salon Magazine Jan. 1999 (quoting Betty Friedan's husband Carl), Betty Friedan "was in the world during the whole marriage," had a full-time maid and "seldom was a wife and a mother").  Other than that required of a functionary of the Communist Party of America and that of a feminist, she had no professional career, and, living quite well of her husband's income.  Even she still had help coming in to look after the children and to do her housework.

One has to admire a woman like Karin Jaeckel, who can be as active as she is, in spite of being a full-time mother and wife (perhaps, more likely, because of it), apparently well-loved by her family too.  That is something that few feminists will ever experience.  So, how much of the feminists' wrath is caused by envy due to their inability to love and be loved?

Additional recommended reading:

"If Men Have All the Power How Come Women Make the Rules," a new book by Jack Kammer, author of "Good Will Toward Men."
   It's a book that couldn't find a publisher, because it's too hot to touch.  Fortunately, Jack Kammer made the book available for free on the Net at http://www.RulyMob.com.  (Translation into French)
   It is delightful, easy reading that will either outrage you or cause you to nod your head in agreement.  If you need quotes for discussions with your favorite feminists, the book is full of them — very poignant ones at that, the kind that will leave the opposition speechless, which is of course the reason why the feminist-dominated publishing industry prefers to squash the book.

Censorship is always far more convenient than having to face the truth, except for the target of the censorship, persecution and vilification.

Posted 1999 10 12
2001 01 26 (format changes)
2001 02 11 (format changes)
2002 11 08 (added link to transcript of speech by Chris Erickson honouring Erin Pizzey)
2008 06 23 (reformated)