A Chat With Dr. Peggy Drexler
By Jill Sieracki
When Dr. Peggy Drexler’s first book, Raising Boys Without Men, was published, the idea of “maverick moms” reshaping the family dynamic by raising emotionally strong, empathetic, successful sons without a father caused a national stir. Her follow-up, Our Fathers, Ourselves: Daughters, Fathers, and the Changing American Family is sure to spark more debate as she investigates the relationships women have with their dads. So what, during the four years of research, was she most surprised to learn? “One was how little research has been done on fathers and daughters,” says Drexler, an assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. “The other is how badly women want to have a good relationship with their fathers, even when some fathers don’t deserve it.”
What's the one career moment you're most proud of?
It was the realization that, in writing this book to help other women answer questions, I was also answering my own. The personal and the professional came together in ways that I had hoped, but really didn't expect.
If you could interview any famous father and daughter (living or dead), whom would it be?
No doubt: Sigmund and Anna Freud. Can you imagine asking them: "How did that make you feel?"
What is your greatest indulgence?
Oatmeal raisin cookies.
What is one of your most memorable DC moments?
There are many: sitting in Congress and watching Leader Nancy Pelosi being sworn in as the first female speaker of the House of Representatives; attending President Obama's first address to Congress in a box with Captain Sully Sullenberger following his courageous landing on the Hudson River; dinner at the White House and a tour of the Oval Office by President Clinton. I also loved visiting the homes of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson just outside of Washington in Virginia.
What is one of your favorite places to visit when you're in DC?
Georgetown. I love the old federal style houses and the beautiful treelined streets.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SARI GOODFRIEND
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.