The perpetuation of mothering from mother to daughter has made women more sensitive than men to emotional and personal life experiences but has rendered them vulnerable to symbiotic pulls towards [sic] their mothers with adverse consequences for their heterosexual adjustment. While women have been trained for primary relationships, men have been conditioned to repress their affectional relational needs and to use their masculinity for power and dominance (Lerner 151).
Women's mothering is central to the sexual division of labor. Women's maternal role has profound effects on women's lives, on ideology about women, on the reproduction of masculinity and sexual inequality, and on the reproduction of particular forms of labor power. Women as mothers are pivotal actors in the sphere of social reproduction (Chodorow 11).
Parlee notes that the book has been controversial, though Parlee finds that the book is valuable:
Chodorow considers the evolutionary basis for women taking the role of mothering and finds that there is considerable evidence that this aspect does not explain the behavior:
The politics of gender present an unequal gender structure in the family and in society, and this structure affects how women relate to themselves and to others. Chodorow considers a variety of ways in which children of both sexes relate to their fathers and mothers and considers the dynamics of the family, and always there is an underlying agenda, though one that may be distorted:
Chodorow has carefully grounded her work in psychoanalytic theory and has integrated it with data from sociology and psychology. The result is a well documented and scholarly work which is a major contribution to the field. In arguing both sides of a debate with great clarity and insight, she has emphasized the core issue in mothering, namely, that women want to mother and that they have obtained gratification and success in mothering (Nadelson 157).
s a theory of the reproduction of