Review of the Myth of Male Power by Dr. Warren Farrell

This has been an interesting read. It lays out the beginning of masculism, in my opinion. I hesitate to tether it to the beginning of the men’s rights movement only because I don’t want people to assume that I mean the more radical and misogynist elements of that movement, but I believe that this may have given rise to their movement as well. It provides insight into a necessary balance for actual equality among genders. To hear only one side of the argument would not be an argument at all and the author posits some interesting ideas.

Like The Feminine Mystique, I was surprised by how very antiquated some ideas and attitudes were and how very relevant others were. The statistics and information on the military, for example, has changed greatly since 1993 (the 1994 Combat Exclusion Rule and its subsequent rescission are outside the scope of this book). However, these things were true of the time and have their place in the history of transgressions against men as a gender. There were moments that were a bit uncomfortable to hear, as a woman, but still true, such as the way women can and do shame men who are not “brave” or “protective.” This is a good time to throw out a “not all women” because that has always been true, but it doesn’t diminish that many have and that many still do.

I would recommend this for anyone interested in the gender equality, and men’s perspectives, but I would also urge them to remember that many of the issues that are discussed have been gaining ground in the 21 years since it’s original publication.

The Myth of Male Power makes a great counterpoint to The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. Even though her account of gender inequality is 30 years older, it also marks the genesis of a movement, which makes the bigger difference to me. If you are looking for something with updated views and issues for men, take a look at Gender Oppression: A Bloke’s Perspective on the Struggle for Gender Equality by Allan-Stuart J. McLeod

Notes:
1. Just to dispel a notion in the book:False rape allegations are not the male version of rape. Sex or sexual actions with a man’s body without his consent is male rape. It is possible for someone of any gender to rape a man.
2. I bought the audiobook so I could listen to it in the car on the way to work. This was recorded as an interview instead of simply read aloud, so I don’t know if any of the points got a little lost in the transition of styling. I hope not.


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2 thoughts on “Review of the Myth of Male Power by Dr. Warren Farrell

  1. It is my belief that if you believe in gender equality, you are a feminist. Feminism has grown beyond being a movement purely about women. That might still be a focus, but feminist voices are now coming out in support of the LGBT community and of men condemned by society for daring to act outside the masculine box. It’s why I say patriarchy today is more about being masculine than having a penis. Boy, girl or otherwise, if you have mostly masculine characteristics, you are held up in this world. You are the best of the best. God forbid you show any characteristics considered feminine. Man, woman or otherwise, if you dare to at feminine, you are frowned upon and thought to have less intelligence.

    This relates to feminism 100%. If’s fear of loosing this concept of masculinity that prevents men from reporting domestic violence against them, even though recent studies show the number of men suffering from domestic violence may be closer to equal to the number of women. It’s why they rarely report rape even thought 1 in 7 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.

    Lastly, it’s why I get really pissed when people argue that men being falsely accused of rape or domestic violence is just as big of a deal as women being the victims of such things. All those men who are also victims of rape, domestic violence and other assaults against their person are left without haven.

    (sorry, mini rant)

    • He says in the book that false allegations is the male version of rape and it enraged me pretty bad too. I had to remind myself again that it was written in 1993 and I don’t think they were researching those things for men yet. I almost understand his not knowing that men get raped but it doesn’t excuse that he associated the end of a man’s reputation and possibly career to the complete violation of self that rape is. They aren’t anywhere near the same thing.
      I couldn’t let it go uncorrected. I really felt like he was invalidating the actual victims here, male and female. The rest of the book was pretty interesting, though, especially the 10 glass cellars of equality that men are in. Those really had something to it.

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