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TalkBack: Susan Faludi
Are American Men "Stiffed"?

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Copyright © 1999 by CNN

 
 

MenWeb WebMaster Bert H. Hoff recently appeared on CNN's TalkBack Live with Susan Faludi to discuss her book Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man. Othe guests included Promise Keepers spokesman Steve Chavis and journalist Chris Cuomo.

Book cover
Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man
by Susan Faludi
Reviews and commentaries. Not male-positive.
Order on-line


Newsgroup discussion
The book and the CNN show have been a hot topic of conversation on the MenWeb Men's BBs. Come on over and join in!


First chapter on-line
Newsweek featured the first chapter of Stiffed as its cover story for the Sept. 8, 1999 issue. Here's a link to it.






Comparing Warren Farrell to Susan Faludi
An article comparing Warren Farrell's new book Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say and Stiffed.


Book cover
Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say: Destroying Myths, Creating Love
by Warren Farrell
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TalkBack Live

Where Do Men Fit in Today's Society?

Aired September 23, 1999 - 3:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BOBBIE BATTISTA, HOST: Has a culture of political correctness, feminism and male bashing robbed men of their place in society? Is there, as author Susan Faludi suggests, an unseen war on men, robbing them of their roles and causing them to feel unnecessary as fathers, marginal as husbands and angry as sons? The Million Man March, Promise Keepers rallies, what do they tell us about men in America? Have men been betrayed by society?

Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to TALKBACK LIVE.

Men: have they been stiffed by society? Author Susan Faludi makes a case for it in her new book "Stiffed: The Betrayal of The American Man." Three men with different opinions will be joining us in just a few moments. We will talk to Bert Hoff, editor of "Men's Voices Journal," Promise Keeper Steve Chavis, and journalist Christopher Cuomo, about their manhood in just a few moments. First, though, Susan Faludi joins us from New York. Susan, welcome.

SUSAN FALUDI, AUTHOR, "STIFFED": Thank you.

BATTISTA: We have been trying to get our arms around this 600- page book for the last couple of days. So let me just ask you what the point is? In other words, why do you think men have been betrayed by the society we live in today?

FALUDI: Well, it's not feminism, and it's not affirmative action, and it's not Hillary Clinton. The part of the problem is that men are up against an enemy that doesn't have a personal or visible face. Men are betrayed by a society that made a promise to them and didn't deliver on that, and the promise was that they would have useful roles to play in society. They -- being useful, having public utility is how manhood has historically been grounded.

BATTISTA: So you say that this basically began right after the second World War, that that's when these promises were made. So how and what changed?

FALUDI: Well, you have to look at what was offered to the post- war generation of men. What was held up to them, whether in World War II movies, or by the federal government or, you know, JFK, was a role that came out of World War II, in which a useful, loyal band of brothers fought on a real frontier against an identifiable enemy, and then brought that back to an appreciative nation, in which they were invited to build on a society. Instead, look what happened. Instead of Normandy, they got Vietnam, where the enemy and the mission was tragically unclear. Instead of a real frontier, they got the new frontier of space, which no one can conquer, much less colonize. Instead of a real brotherhood, they were enlisted into service -- to corporations that laid them off by the millions.

BATTISTA: So the gradual result of this, what you are saying, is that men no longer feel like masters of their universe?

FALUDI: No. It's not about being masters. It's being about being useful. You know, this is where Promise Keepers, which had an idea of a servant leader, I think is right on target about what men are looking for, which is a feeling that they're serving their society in a way that's valued and appreciated.

And what's happening is that, more and more, we're passing from a utilitarian society to a culture that's driven by consumerism, celebrity worship, shopping, display, in which manhood is measured by how big your biceps are, you know, how many times you have been on television, you know, appearance and being a winner all by yourself, or at least having a winning image.

BATTISTA: Let me bring in the three men, at this point, to join the discussion, because Steve Chavis is a Promise Keeper, and as you said, Susan, he was part of the research, or his group was part of the research for your book. Steve, are you relating to this?

STEVE CHAVIS, PROMISE KEEPERS: One-hundred percent. I think what Susan has surfaced are some of the things that we have been observing in our work with Christian Men's Ministry for years, and we're, you know, gratified that servant leadership, modeled by, we think, Jesus Christ, is really what's making men endure some of the foibles and the fads of modern day life.

BATTISTA: Bert, I get the sense from you that you feel like women are more to blame in this crisis?

BERT HOFF, "MEN'S VOICES JOURNAL": I'm not ready to say, necessarily, that we should be playing the blame game. Instead of saying stiffed, I would say men are being shamed; the shame of male for being male. And I disagree with Ms. Faludi about the role of feminism; that it's just society.

There is a societal attitude, when women gain power that move them into the position of what's good for women, rather than what's good for society, including women. So we move from a gender equality to women joining what Robert Blye would call the sibling society: Me, me, me. I am going to get mine, regardless of the consequences. And now they are looking at what is happening to the other men in their lives, their little boys, how their little boys are being shamed and, perhaps, even cheated.

BATTISTA: Let me go to Chris Cuomo, who is an activist with the 2030 Center. That is the next generation, the Gen X generation. Do you feel stiffed, Chris?

CHRISTOPHER CUOMO, 2030 CENTER: I feel stiffed. I feel cheated. No. I think that -- I'm tired. I feel I'm in a box right now, and I don't understand why. I think that Ms. Faludi makes some very good points, and I think that the point she is touching on may even be bigger than the context of her book. When she says an ornamental value system, a celebrity value system -- when I go around the country doing stories, as a journalist, you do see that and you see it as transcending gender. It's not just about how men feel or how women feel, but that collectively we've lost community. We've lost our attachment to families, and I think you'll see the pains in each gender as that kind of reality unfolds.

BATTISTA: So what is the media's role in this, or how much are they to blame?

CUOMO: That is a very difficult question. I don't think it's the media's job to promote any message or say, hey, we need to talk about this in particular, but I think that, as the media develops, what you have to look at is who you have in the media. I think that we are -- have started to populate the media with people that divorce themselves from their own humanity. As you know and I know, you get taught to divorce yourself from stories, to keep yourself and your feelings out of it, and as you do that, it's tough to connect with the human sentiment of any issue, when you, yourself, as a member of the media, don't feel a connection to what you do.

BATTISTA: Susan, I got to tell you that, when you run the book or the concept past a lot of women, some of the first reactions are, oh, please, you know, get over yourselves, guys. I mean, they still have the better jobs, the better pay. They still run all of the corporations. And it's hard for women to quite understand the sympathy here.

FALUDI: Well, just because corporations are, by and large, run by men, doesn't mean most men run the corporations. Most men, in this country, feel a sense of powerlessness. They feel disenfranchised. They don't have a stake in the civic life, and the political, public life of their country, or in the work life, which is increasingly run by these sort of global, faceless, corporate entities.

And I don't, you know -- I don't know which women you're talking to, but I've heard from a lot of women that we need to get past this blaming, you know, men are the enemy, or men saying feminism is the enemy. We have really reached the end of the road of that blame game, and there are a lot of women who are very concerned about men's situation and do want to address it.

BATTISTA: Let me go to a gentleman in the audience.

Joe, Comment, question?

JOE: Yes. Pardon me for not reading the book, but the guy that says we're ashamed, I don't agree with that, and furthermore, I don't really agree with the whole point of men being stiffed. My perception -- I am in my mid-thirties. I just think that we're growing up in a different time now, and I think women are struggling with some of the same things, like trying to balance the career, and whether they should go for the career and a family, at that. BATTISTA: Is it really that surprising that society wasn't able to keep these promises that they -- that it made, Susan?

FALUDI: Well, the problem is that, increasingly, we don't really have much of a real public, a genuine public society, in which real, individual people participate as citizens. That's where the crisis is, that more and more people are invited to participate only as consumers, as TV viewers, as, you know, the only way they feel like players is when they are on the other side of the camera, on television.

And so you -- you know, men who, particularly men who were born after -- in the post-war era, who remember the problems their fathers made, do feel very burned by it, not all men, of course, but millions of men, the kind of men who, you know -- the more than 50 percent of men who said in a recent poll they feel undervalued and mistreated at work, the millions of men who have turned up for events like Promise Keepers or the Million Man March. You know, this is a problem that has been recognized from both the right and the left.

BATTISTA: We -- my next question is going to be, is that a gender thing?

And we've got to take a break first. We'll talk about that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BATTISTA: All but six CEOs in the "Fortune" 1000 are men. Men's annual median income of $33,674 is 35 percent higher than the $24,973 earned by women.

And we are back. Susan, just a few minutes ago, was talking about men feeling underappreciated or undervalued in the workplace, as well as at home, and I wanted to ask Chris if that is necessarily a gender thing? I mean, there is a lot of women who feel that way, too.

CUOMO: I think you're right, Bobbie. I think that, what Miss Faludi has touched on, is that, in her book, the man is a metaphor for the working class. You just had some great statistics up on the screen. Another one is that, in 1998, corporate earnings were over 400 times what employee earnings were. In 1982, they were 40 times. Forty times isn't great, but now, it's 10-times worse. What does that mean? It's that ugly gap between rich and poor that we hear about all of the time.

The working class feels like, do we even count? I don't belong to the stock market club. Who am I? What about the father, and the mother and the kids? What happened to that? These are the types of concerns about a culture that is getting ahead of itself, in terms of what it can consume, instead of what it believes in, and I think that's what the main question comes down to.

So, do men have a problem with it? Absolutely. But so do women and especially families. It's bigger than just men being stiffed. CHAVIS: Yes, I agree. I think, if I can, Chris, what we're saying is really a human problem. That's one of the things I appreciate about Susan Faludi's work, at least the part I read in "Newsweek," if she's extending the value issue to men, then maybe we'll all move up, we'll all catch up together. You know, we can take this thing back to the Industrial Revolution, when fathers were taken away from homes. We had an agrarian lifestyle, and then dad is away for 10, 12 hours, trying to make a living.

And you can't -- isolation is really the issue for us, that's the enemy; it's the ways men have been cutoff, siphoned off, separated from the rest of their families and even from each other, and when men come together and encourage one another, we think -- which hearkens back to a time long ago, or maybe we've never been there -- then they can encourage each other positively and promote a good thing.

HOFF: I think Steve brings up a good point here, when he moves it from a people problem to a men problem. It certainly is a people problem. It affects men and women in different ways and they experience it differently.

CHAVIS: Yes. Absolutely.

HOFF: And women have been able to do something about it through political power and social pour power. Men are faced with two broken promises. What I keep on hearing in men's groups is, I climbed the ladder of success, only to find out it was against the wrong wall. The old myths and the old -- and work your way to the corporate top don't work anymore.

Then there was a second promise. Many of the men that were involved in the poetic men's movement began as feminists. Let's go for equality for men and women, and let's re-examine the Rambo and John Wayne and provider roles and find out what the new roles for men are.

What happened was that men decided that men needed to get together with other men, like they do in the Promise Keepers, small groups. That's where the real men's movement is, is men getting together with other men to talk about things real in their lives, not sports, sex and cars.

BATTISTA: That's kind of new for men, though, isn't it, Bert, though, I mean, the whole idea of men bonding together in these sorts of groups and sharing their feelings about stuff. I mean, they're not always comfortable with that.

HOFF: I shudder when you say "bonding," because the media has done such a job of making a mockery of the men's movement. Well, first of all, there isn't a men's movement. But men have discovered, and are discovering all the time, the value of getting together in small groups, over the past decade, through their church or their faith, communities, or through men's gatherings or just men going out together and doing something.

CHAVIS: Well, through all of our rough and tumble growing up, what men appreciate is the ability to find a safe connection of other men and be able to go deeper than the box scores. That's the isolation, and we've got to find some ways to deal with the stuff that's inside. We process things differently. We meditate on our emotions. Don't expect us to respond right away with how we feel. We won't know for 24 hours how we feel.

Give men some time and some emotional safety, and they'll be able to be stronger, more reliable and be able to set a spiritual temperature in their homes.

BATTISTA: Let me go to some of the men in the audience.

Jeff, go ahead.

JEFF: Yes, I agree with Steve that the Promise Keepers has been able to help men deal with the feelings inside, but I don't know of any men that I deal with that, in any way, feel stepped on or put down or any kind of worthless feelings or as obsolete as this paper says here. We've been given opportunity. My wife and family are important to me. My faith is important to me, and we've all faced societal generations forever about what are we living for? What is it worth? That's nothing new. It's been there since time began.

So I guess this is just not an issue to me. Men aren't being put down at all, and we've had to face these same issues for the existence of mankind.

CUOMO: That's exactly the point, actually. The man in the audience makes the right point. What do we believe in? The man says his faith is very important to him. He is actually in the minority in this country. This is a country that's struggling with a reason to believe in something bigger than itself all of the time. That's why you get groups like the Promise Keepers, where men or women or whomever want to organize, need to get together and say, hey, what really matters here? What are we all about?

That is obviously a cultural question that this society deals with, and it's not about just a church. It's about any type of faith that we have. People say all of the time, some of our best leaders, say we have no heroes left, that's why it hurts when we attack the office of the presidency or when you attack a political leader, because we're running out of heroes. That's a problem that transcends gender. The other problem that we have that we hear from the other two men on the panel, is that they are saturated in the media that keeps you away from things.

The movie network really summed it up best 20 years ago: "We have a media that is indifferent to suffering and insensitive to joy, makes all of life the common rubble of banality." Those are big words, but what they were saying in the movie is, we don't care about anything as a people anymore. It's like step by step. And men, perhaps, will start by organizing themselves and look at the bigger questions, but it's really the bigger questions as a culture that bother us, not the gender differences.

BATTISTA: Susan, you wanted to jump in there? FALUDI: Yes. I don't know that you can separate the two. I mean, men are struggling with this crisis, in particular, because traditionally, manhood has been defined in relationship to a society: You are productive for that society, you make a meaningful contribution to that society. And as we, more and more, are expecting men to live up to some kind of consumer ideal, where it's all about making money, or shopping or what you look like, men face sort of a double whammy, because that not only is demeaning, as it was demeaning to women, but it, also, makes men feel, as so many men told me, feminized, because they feel that they've been emasculated.

The other difference is that women, for all of the demeaning aspects of living in a culture that emphasizes celebrity and adornment and appearance over what you do, women have a movement behind them that is challenging that, and that's the feminist movement.

BATTISTA: We have to take a quick break.

When we come back, Ray is on the phone from Oklahoma, and we'll go to the audience.

We'll be back in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BATTISTA: Thirteen percent of families in the U.S. fit the traditional model of husband as the wage earner and wife as the homemaker.

Let me take ray, first, on the phone, who's been hanging. Ray, go ahead.

Yes. I'd like to say that it's not so much men feel they have been stiffed. Men have simply been eliminated from anything of importance. Our government officials are 100 percent for the so- called minorities or special-interest groups. Our leaders, themselves, have all sold out, and this leaves the white man with no representation on anything that considers a white male. And if you look at the younger generation of white males, they are the only ones, when it comes to going to college, that does not have a college scholarship plan.

BATTISTA: All right, Ray, thanks very much.

Let me go to Peggy, quickly, along that line.

PEGGY: I actually just have a question for Susan, because I'm a little concerned about her talk about men, and I would like for her to explain whether or not these promises that she talks about to men, are they directed solely at white men, because I'm not sure that the same sort of promises are given to African-American males, or Hispanics, or Asians or any of the other ethnicities that come to this country.

So I'm trying to figure out where this male population is coming from. Could you talk to that a little bit? FALUDI: This was a societal promise that was made in general. You know, clearly, at the beginning of the post-war era, you know, black men, Hispanic men, minority men, in general, and lower-income men were cheated, as they've always been cheated out of this promise. But this was a promise that was held up and that minority men, like white men, wanted to make good on.

For example, I -- at the beginning of my book, I go to the Long Beach naval shipyard which is 60 percent minority, and I met so many men there who joined the shipyard in the '40s and were so hopeful about finally breaking into a, you know, a public role that -- of a skilled craft where they were honored and recognized.

One of the men I followed, Ernie McBride Sr. (ph) who was first integrated the shipyard, and he fought historic battles throughout the '50s, '60s and '70s to improve work life for black men in his community; not just in the shipyard, but in grocery stores and schools and all kinds of places.

And when I met up with him, he was in a state of anguish because, he said, you know, I look around in my community and young black men can't really make use of these tools that I've devoted my whole life to, and they're caught up, as so many young men are caught up, in the idea of attracting the camera, of fulfilling this sort of ornamental ideal, and it's heartbreaking to him. So, this story plays out, you know, wherever you are ethnically, economically.

BATTISTA: And generationally, and that's what we're seeing in the audience, here, and I don't -- do I have time to go to Brad, or do we have to go to break?

Let me go to Brad quickly.

BRAD: Well, you know, speaking from a generation of mid-20s, which I am -- I'm a brand new father -- you know, what I find my validation in is not necessarily how far up the corporate ladder I'm going to make it, but how good of a father I am, how good of a family man, how, you know -- how good of a husband, a friend, I am. That's truly where the validation comes from. I don't expect to have to climb up the ladder in order to feel good about myself.

BATTISTA: We'll continue here in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BATTISTA: Between 1970 and 1995, the percentage of women ages 25 to 54 who worked outside the home rose from 50 percent to 76 percent. Women make up nearly half of all entry- and mid-level managers in American corporations, up from 17 percent in 1972.

We're back.

Brad is on the phone from Nevada.

Go ahead, Brad. BRAD: Hi. Listen, I want to say that the, you know, the heart of this trouble is the feminist movement. The feminist movement was based on lies; it's full of lies. They -- I mean, men and women aren't equal. Let's just be honest. I mean, it might make everybody feel good to say that they are, but they're not. There's too much scientific evidence in the opposite direction. And as for the...

BATTISTA: Scientific evidence? You mean...

BRAD: Well, sure.

BATTISTA: You mean, what you're saying is you don't think they're biologically equal. What about...

BRAD: No, not at all. I mean, you'd be naive to think that they were, right? And, plus, I mean, they've even proved that the brains...

BATTISTA: Well, I don't know about that.

BRAD: Well, ma'am, they've even proved that the brains work differently when you're doing mathematics. The corpus colosum (ph) has more, like, neurons for the female than the male. There's a lot of evidence, but nobody wants to say that because it's not politically correct to say that.

BATTISTA: Well, I know my sister was a whole lot better than my brother in math, so I don't think you can rely on that -- those figures.

BRAD: But that could be -- you don't rely on science, in other words, right? But let me ask...

BATTISTA: But you're -- but science -- you can't say that as a generality.

BRAD: Have you researched it? No?

BATTISTA: My sister was better than my brother in math. There you go.

BRAD: That could be true, but that doesn't mean they don't use different parts of the brain, right?

BATTISTA: Well, thanks for your comment, Brad, but...

Go ahead, Bert. You wanted to pick up on that, or Chris. Who's there.

HOFF: Yes. There are two aspects of feminists. What we're hearing is questioning whether women should be on the platform with men, and that's one point of view. I guess the concern that I'm hearing from other men are men being shoved off the platform all together when feminism moved from gender equality to me, me, me, what's good for women regardless of consequences for other people. So, for example, in the area of domestic violence, the National Survey of Violence Against Women shows that 35 percent or more of the violence is by women against men. What do we see politically? The federal Violence Against Women Act: all the federal money goes to help the female victims of domestic violence. It's the only area where we have federally sanctioned segregation, as it were. Any other law that discriminates by race or nationality would be declared illegal.

CHAVIS: The statistics that we just showed going into this segment pointed out advances by women in the work world. The issue that we run into is that people are looking at male-female or husband and wife as a zero-sum game. If women gain power, men must lose some power.

But the benefit of working together, the benefit of men knowing who they are apart from the media images is that I have value and I can work alongside anybody, that I have gifts, I have talents, and I'm not going to look to the media or look to anybody else, necessarily, outside of my world or security zone to find value in myself.

God gives me my value, and I see that when I can pour my life into other people. That kind of servant leadership, that kind of involvement in other people's lives is really what the community of faith, what Christianity is trying to do. When men see that, it doesn't matter so much about those external opinions of my value.

BATTISTA: Let me go to Sadonie in the audience.

Oh, go ahead, Susan.

FALUDI: You know, I want to speak to this scientific question because if, in fact, men's and women's brains were so ironcladly different, then we wouldn't have had dramatic improvements in young women -- in girl's scores in grade schools on up in the last, you know, 20, 30 years. I mean, brains don't evolve that quickly.

But I think there's an enormous desire to sort of explain things away by genetic differences, by these, you know, biologically-bred differences. And the truth is that what's so great about us as human beings is that we're social beings, that we are not just determined by, you know, our neurons and our hormones, and that is something we should embrace and be glad about.

CHAVIS: Yes, the differences are cool.

CUOMO: But isn't that some of the risk that's inherent in talking about these types of developmental, cultural problems, in terms of gender, is that you're inviting the men to say, well, who's doing this to us? Must be the women. And if you limit it by gender, you're almost going to force an opposite, where as if you just talk about it in terms of how we're developing as a culture, you can avoid it, I suspect.

BATTISTA: Let me go to the audience, quickly, get them in on this -- Sedonie. SEDONIE: Yes, I'm just saying that -- I'd like to say that the shoe is on the other foot now, that, you know, where women were being held back, men are finding these women are coming through the glass ceiling and are starting to panic. There were promises made to women, years ago, that they would be taken care of. That their husband would remain there. Men are deserting their wives and deserting their families. They're not giving any support to them. So, you know, I don't feel sorry for the men. You know, just...

HOFF: Well, here is an example of what I was talking about with male shaming. I mean, this woman says men are deserting their wives. That's not what is going down now. We keep on hearing about deadbeat dads rather than good fathers, where the vast majority of fathers who are separated or divorced meet their obligations. And it is the woman, not the man, who is more often leaving the relationship, but the image that we hear projected is deadbeat dads.

BATTISTA: I have to take a break. John, I'll come to you when we come back, OK.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BATTISTA: OK. To John in the audience.

JOHN: One aspect of this discussion that bothers me more than a little is framing it in terms of us and them, blame and shame, shoe's on the other foot. I don't see how we're going to walk together, unless we all have shoes on both our feet, walking hand-in-hand, and as long as we are trying to blame the other guy or the other gal, the feminists or the WASPs or whomever, we are looking in the wrong place. We have got to look and say, what can I do to love my neighbor? What can I do to reach out to another person, regardless of their sex, regardless of where they fit, and be of value?

CHAVIS: Men are responding to the responsibility of our movement and others around the country, because they know in their heart what's right. They know if they make a child, then it is up to them to help provide for it. So there are many positive things going on, and it is representing a momentum, and, maybe, men are responding to the things that Susan Faludi pointed out. Maybe we are fighting back in our own way.

BATTISTA: Susan, you wanted to jump in?

FALUDI: Yes. You know, I agree that we have come to the end of this blame game. You know, we're not getting anywhere by women saying men are the enemy, or men saying feminists are the enemy. The whole point of my book is that this is a rare opportunity for men and women to unite against the same cultural force that is telling them they're of no value, unless they turn themselves into some kind of appealing, you know, display item, whether that is as a celebrity or as a muscle man or as some sort of media genic mogul.

This is a moment in which actually feminism can be of some use to men, because feminism is women's response, women's attempt to confront the same commercial forces that now have men by the throat. And you know, I think that, that whole strategy of finding an enemy and defeating it, which, ironically, the feminist movement used quite usefully for a long time in struggling against very clear barriers to women's advancement, has neared the end of its usefulness.

There are all these cultural restraints against us that don't lend themselves to just finding a personal enemy. So if men can do that, if they can learn to wage a struggle of liberation without a personal enemy, they will not only be liberating themselves, but they will be liberating all social movements that really need to get beyond this blame strategy.

BATTISTA: Ann in the audience.

ANN: Yes. I don't think there is any enemies, per se, but in general, women do not get paid the same as men do for the same job.

BATTISTA: So, you know, we were wondering about this, in reaching a solution to this whole situation, if there is a way to do it that doesn't victimize someone else? Because, you know, there is always going to and person who has a better job there, there is always going to a person who is prettier than you. There's -- I mean, how do we do that? How do we get on that equal footing?

CUOMO: Well, I mean, if we knew that, we would be a very different society right now, but I think that you're at least identifying the right problem, which is that, you know, women may not make as much as men and hopefully that will improve. There is no question that America's greatest gift is its diversity, and the country has done so well already. Imagine if we were able to have African-Americans and people of color and women work up to their full potential, how much we could achieve. That would be great.

But what you see, more than anything else in this country, is a pulling apart of the haves and the have nots, like you've never seen before, and it has cultural implications. And although Ms. Faludi's book does a good thing in identifying this problem, by putting lots of labels on it -- and men and then let's look at women and then let's look at the history and the past -- by putting those labels on it, you invite a type of criticism that is on the wrong level. The criticism that we need is on the level of how do we change what the problem is, and not how we label the problem.

FALUDI: You know, there have been so many books about women's history and how the idea of femininity has changed over time, and they have been very important books, because they have allowed women to step back from the culture and see how those cultural forces affect them.

And I think it is very important that there be similar books for men that don't just talk about sort of pop psych solutions or feel better about yourself or all of the sort of therapeutic stuff we hear about self-esteem, but that look at, really, what the history was for men and the kinds of real pressures that are on them, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I think it's perfectly healthy, and if we have, you know, 100 books over here dealing with what women have been through, I think we can allow a few books in that deal with what men went through.

CUOMO: Yes, but even there you're making it sound like there is a competition between women's books and men's books. Who cares?

FALUDI: No, no, no. What I'm saying there is an enormous resistance to looking at how men are influenced by their society, by their culture, because there is such pressure on men to present themselves as free of all that, as dominant, as always, you know, in control of their environment. So when one brings it up...

CUOMO: You don't think that affects their aspect of masculinity? You think that men are really around there trying to figure out how to be the king of the roost all the time, that they're not more advanced or more new-age than that?

FALUDI: I'm not talking about...

HOFF: I think that's very outdated. The idea that Susan was presenting before, that men are now trying to emulate this consumer society and have this particular image, men have always played up to that kind of image, and until the last decade or so, when men are taking a more honest look at what's important, like family and love and relationships, and who you are as a person, and what your spiritual values are, rather than materialism...

BATTISTA: I'm sorry, Bert, I've got to cut in. We've got on go to break. We'll be back in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BATTISTA: We are completely out of time. Susan Faludi, thank you so much for joining us. The book, again, is called "Stiffed." And, also, our thanks, today, to Steve Chavis and Bert Hoff and Chris Cuomo, thank you for joining us. And by the way, Chris can be seen on the Fox News Network on the show "Fox Files." Thanks very much, all of you, for joining us. We'll be back again tomorrow.

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