The War Against Feminism

In popular culture, in politics -- and among ordinary women -- a backlash has hit the women's movement. Two unexpected best sellers explain why and raise the alarm.

This winter's surprise hit movie offers no marquee names and no special effects, only a small cup of poison for maternal peace of mind. In The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Rebecca De Mornay plays the Nanny from Hell, who insinuates herself into the home of a trusting family only to wreak havoc on it. In the weeks after the film climbed to No. 1, earning a stunning $65 million, magazines and newspapers have scurried to find real-life examples of psycho-nannies, which in turn drove home the not-so-subtle message that women who work and leave child rearing to others are courting...