Cathy Young has produced a thoroughly documented and well-balanced book on the "gender wars," that goes beyond the usual fare in pointing out the problems with a feminism that goes beyond equality for women, "men's rights" materials that are as polemic and victim-oriented as "more-than-equality" or "women's solidarity" feminism, and conservative efforts to turn back the clock to an era that never was. It certainly belongs on the shelf with Christina Hoff Sommers' Who Stole Feminism, Warren Farrell's The Myth of Male Power, and Daphne Patai and Noretta Koterge's Professing Feminism. But each of these seeks to redress gender imbalance and gender polarization by presenting the "other side of the coin." Ms. Young attempts to transcend these approaches by critiquing both sides, in an attempt to stop, rather than inflame, the gender polarization. I think she succeeds.
She presents interesting and sometimes startling observations, all solidly buttressed by solid evidence.
For myself, I found her chapter "Are Men Victims?" and its discussion of the various "men's movements" particularly intriguing, innovative and well done. I don't necessarily agree with her. For example, I think she minimizes or dismisses too quickly the impact of "Men's Work," men meeting in groups to bring both awareness of the positive aspects of masculinity and work on themselves, as an effort to counteract the misandry of a "women's solidarity" feminism. But I can't argue against her, unless I'm well-prepared myself. She makes you think, and requires you to bring both expertise and balance into your arguments, just as she does in hers.
Her last chapter, "Where Do We Go from Here?" offers simple, practical measures to move towards full equality.
As part of this review, I offer three other resources:
In the meantime, go out and buy it. It's worth it.