A new wave of anti-feminism is taking hold of Germany. Former career women-turned-housewives are spreading the word about a "new femininity" which encourages women to stay at home and embrace motherhood.
The anonymous letter makes for heartbreaking reading. "Dragging myself from job to job, I used to feel so useless. I wanted to be special but didn't know how -- I was neither fish nor flesh." For this angst-ridden career woman, salvation finally came in the full-bellied shape of motherhood. "With my husband and daughter at my side, I'm so happy and free now," she proclaims.
What sounds like a scene out of a 1950s TV sitcom is in fact a letter written to Eva Herman, the German author of the controversial bestseller "The Eva Principle" ("Das Eva Prinzip"), sub-titled "Towards a New Femininity." The principle in question rests on a series of tenets so old-fashioned they seem almost revolutionary again: Motherhood instead of emancipation, child-rearing instead of career-climbing, devoted marriage instead of egoistic self-fulfillment.
The 262 pages behind the pink cover of "The Eva Principle" are full of anti-feminist anger. Herman feels that nothing less than the survival of the country is at stake – Germans will "die out" if women don't change their behavior, she says. She sees herself as courageously breaking a "taboo" by criticizing women's liberation.
"Let's just say it loud," Herman writes. "We women have overburdened ourselves - we allowed ourselves to be too easily seduced by career opportunities." She recommends women exchange the cold sphere of work for the "colorful world of children" and discover their "destiny of nurturing the home environment."