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The Myth of Male Power

Audio Book

by Warren Farrell
Book review Copyright © 1998 by J. Steven Svoboda


Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power (cassette version) (New York: NY: Simon and Schuster, 1993). Order on-line

The Myth of Male Power (cassette version)
by Warren Farrell

Click here for books by Warren Farrell

Around the time he published his most recent and to date most radical book, The Myth of Male Power, Warren Farrell released these audiocassettes of the same title. Farrell's own recommendation of these tapes as the second step in educating the uninitiated about men's rights (the tapes of Why Men Are the Way They Are being the first step) is very well-taken. Information and philosophy are presented engagingly, accessibly, with little fluff or fanfare. Indeed, given Farrell's measured, reasonable voice and carefully presented, step-by-step documentation of his positions, the listener could be forgiven for momentarily failing to notice just how radical a vision of men's position these tapes present. It is only by reference to the current, twisted state of gender politics that one can even understand why Farrell's common- sense, compassionate, incisive approach is seen by some as so "dangerous."

The truth is that these tapes ARE dangerous. They imperil the listener's ability ever again to believe many of the whoppers masquerading as received truths about the "patriarchy," the alleged lower moral fiber of men relative to women, men's supposedly greater power, and many other myths. Farrell reminds us that neither gender wins unless both sexes win.

The tapes take the form of a dialog between the author and a male interviewer who leaves no feminist stone unturned in his scrutiny of Farrell's position. A former three-time New York City National Organization of Women board member, Farrell has no difficulty acknowledging the areas where women truly have been oppressed. But he also is not afraid to demolish some of the favored shibboleths about women's suffering. For example, when experience, job requirements, and attractiveness of jobs are taken into account, women do NOT earn less than men. With the exception of rape, the more violent a crime, the more likely a MAN is to be the victim. Female heads of households have on average 141% the level of assets owned by male heads of households. Women also control most spending. Men are not inherently violent and will curb their natural protective instincts where three basic needs--adequate food, adequate water, and safety from attack---are met. Male violence, Farrell shows, is a response to powerLESSNESS, not power.

Farrell is not afraid of even the most potentially controversial issues. A detailed comparison between the position of men and blacks supports his provocative position that in many ways men are treated as slaves today. (We work longer hours, die sooner, and lose our children.) Nor is he afraid to say the emperor of feminist hypocrisy has no clothes. He notes that many women (and men) complain about men's killing while living in the countries and on the property obtained as a result of this killing.

Farrell addresses some topics that are rarely discussed. He notes the invisibility of men in less valued professions such as the highly hazardous and socially invaluable garbage collector job. He notes that a glass cellar keeps an overwhelming percentage of men in 24 of the 25 worst overall jobs. If we had the same percentage of safety inspections per capital each year as Japan, we would save the lives of 6,000 men and 400 women each year.

Perhaps most infuriating are the situations where, as Farrell reveals, feminists don't lie outright but "merely" omit critical information. They tell us only 10% of the health budget is spent on female-specific research, but neglect to tell us only 5% is spent on male-specific research. They say that a woman is beaten by a man every twenty seconds, but fail to tell us a man is beaten by a woman every eighteen seconds.

Farrell speaks carefully and is quick to crack a joke or poke gentle fun at himself, men, or women. But he is deadly serious about the importance of transforming the current highly polarized gender-based identity politics into a thankfulness for men's unique contributions and a compassion for their struggles to complement our concern for and appreciation of women.

Why the interviewer wonders, are we so slow to learn these facts? Because, Farrell answers, our instincts do not lead us to learn about male vulnerability, even where it exceeds women's. Female victims attract men, but male victims repel everyone. So we protest disproportionate capital punishment of blacks relative to whites but not the stunningly more disproportionate capital punishment of men relative to women. We protest corporal punishment of black boys but not of boys. Astoundingly, we learn that the greatest single predictor of the level of punishment for the same crime is the perpetrator's sex.

Farrell decires the seven legal defenses available only to women such as the "battered women's syndrome" and bemoans the unconstitutional special treatment of rape in criminal law. He notes the ten glass cellars of male existence, including suicide, prison, homelessness, the death professions, earlier death from all fifteen leading causes of death, greater vulnerability to death from accidents, circumcision, corporal punishment, capital punishment, and the draft.

Surpisingly, Farrell manages to retain some optimism about the future of relationships between men and women. For the first time in history, he says, what it takes for men and women to survive parallels what it takes for us to love effectively. Farrell closes these remarkable tapes with a moving plea that we some day reach a place where we can abandon men's rights and feminism and can all work together on a gender transition movement to expand the potential for all of us regardless of gender. Don't miss these superb cassettes. And be sure your mother, partner, and/or daughter don't miss them either. Our future may depend on it.

Click here for books by Warren Farrell

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