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
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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