Educated Family Essay
The family avoided contact with the state, so the many accidents—in cars, on motorcycles, on wild horses, at construction sites, or in the family scrapyard—were treated by Westover’s mother, a midwife, with only herbal tinctures and essential oils.
When the injured person was the mother herself, there was no treatment.
On both counts, Westover is representative of the dominant ethos of women’s equality in the contemporary United States where the real political and material benefits gained through feminist activism, theorizing, and educational work over time are often taken for granted while the category “feminist” is reviled, ridiculed, or drained of all complexity.
In the late 1960s, the Women’s Liberation Movement transformed feminism with the radical claim that “the personal is political.” The phrase explained how the seemingly mundane experiences of women, their daily indignities and private frustrations, were not individual or just “personal problems” but the systemic outcomes of patriarchy.
My body was changing, bloating, swelling, stretching, bulging.
I wished it would stop, but it seemed like my body was no longer mine.” This was when her older brother, then in his mid-twenties, turned his contempt for women toward her; motivated, Westover suggests, by his own sense of slipping ownership.
best seller list in February, Tara Westover has been catapulted to that rare sort of literary celebrity that seems to burst from nowhere and quickly saturates the culture.
People are captivated by her journey from youngest child in a radical Mormon family of home-schooling, anti-government survivalists in southeastern Idaho to Brigham Young University at seventeen and then to Cambridge University, a Harvard fellowship, and Ph D in History by the time she was twenty-seven-years old.
One often wishes to look away from the litany of broken, burned, and concussed bodies.offers an indictment of patriarchy and the damage men do—and how both distort women’s and girls’ senses of themselves and the world.For Westover, the elite academic institutions she attended and her achievements there are not the main events of her memoir but the ambient conditions for her coming to awareness of patriarchy and what it means for her and her family, their faith, and her future.She has insisted, for instance, that her memoir’s central takeaway on matters of schooling and education is that “you can teach yourself anything better than someone else can teach it to you.” Attributing the foundations for this belief to her anti-statist upbringing and parents’ rejection of public education for most of their children, Westover recently elaborated to magazine, “we take people’s ability to self-teach away by creating this idea that someone else has to do this for you, that you have to take a course, you have to do it in some formal way.Any curriculum that you design for yourself is going to be better, even if it’s not the absolute perfect one.” Similarly, the feminism Westover espouses is defined almost entirely as unqualified support for women’s “choices.” This includes her own choice not to identify with—or ever reference its existence in her memoir—the Mormon Feminist movement that began in the 1970s and has gained particular momentum (and censure from the church) in the last twenty years.Like has found popularity that spans divides of politics, identity, and geography.And while Westover’s book shares none of Vance’s candidate-in-the-making policy vision or overt politicking, it has been embraced by the right, left, and center on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as an opportunity for casting new light on even deeper white reaches of Trump Country.“I saw you talking to Charles [a teenager from town],” he said one night driving Westover home.“You don’t want people thinking you’re that kind of girl.” The next day, after noticing her trying out makeup for the first time, he says, “I thought you were better.Bodies were still worrisome, at risk, unruly, and often disgusting.With gorgeous precision and economy, Westover describes teenage girlhood: “I was fifteen and I felt it, felt the race I was running with time.