Catfight: Women and Competition is Leora Tanenbaum's dissection of the gender war waged among women. Tanenbaum meticulously analyzes the roots of destructive competitiveness among women, asserting that "catfights" thrive because, despite women's many gains, American women are conditioned to regard each other as adversaries rather than allies. She investigates the arenas—from diets to dating, from the boardroom to the delivery room—in which American women are apt to compare their lives with the lives of others in a tacit contest over who is the "better" woman, a contest in which no one wins. In a hopeful conclusion, Tanenbaum also finds two instances, one historical and one contemporary, in which women have successfully cooperated to achieve legal and social change: suffrage and sports.
Throughout Catfight, Leora Tanenbaum puts her own life experiences under the lens of scrutiny. As a writer, a friend, a mother, a wife, and a daughter, she analyzes her own insecurities and socialization, and how they influence her relations with other women. With the sociologist's perspective of Barbara Ehrenreich and the feminist's outrage of Gloria Steinem, Tanenbaum demythologizes the age-old "catfight."