Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Make up for males...


Make up for men. Read and weep - but make sure your manscara is waterproof!

Make up for men by Dan Newling

Friday, July 25, 2008

Review: Save the Males

Save the males! A new book says society is biased AGAINST men. Ridiculous? Hardly, says Amanda Platell of the Daily Mail.

Every once in a while, a book not so much lands on your desk as lobs itself like a hand grenade, exploding preconceived wisdoms and shattering the bones of the status quo. Save The Males is such a book.

It is the fiercest and most fearless defence of men, fatherhood and ultimately the family I have read in many years.

American author Kathleen Parker's courageous thesis is that initially, through extreme feminism, then via its craven implementation into society, women have demonised men and trivialised their contribution, especially to family life.

I say courageous because, in the eyes of many women and of the liberal establishment, suggesting men have had a rough deal is nothing short of heresy.

Parker should be burnt at the stake, they cry. But isn't it ironic that only a woman could make such a plea for men?

She argues: 'As long as men feel marginalised by the women whose favour and approval they seek, as long as they are alienated from their children and treated as criminals by family courts, as long as they are disrespected by a culture that no longer values masculinity tied to honour, as long as boys are bereft of strong fathers and our young men and women wage sexual war, then we risk cultural suicide.'

It's enough to set a feminist's hair on end. Parker argues that in trying to make the world fairer for women, an adjustment most agree was vital, we have made it unfair for men. In our attempt to honour women, we have dishonoured men.

By bending over backwards to make single mothers feel good about themselves, by diminishing the role of fathers, by elevating women as the superior parents, we have gone a considerable way to destroying one of the basic tenets of a successful society - family life.

Apart from the effects of this seismic social shift on society, it is also grossly unfair. Can you imagine a world where men demanded women be more like them - dress like them, act like them, even look like them. Because that is effectively what our post-feminist society has done, but with the genders switched.

The traditional male values, what Parker almost poetically calls 'masculinity tied to honour', are now seen as nothing more than a direct assault on women.

Unless men are like us, the thinking goes, they insult us and threaten our existence: hence the feminisation of men, or as we so disingenuously describe it, getting in touch with your feminine side.

Thus Hybrid Man was born. An acceptable male model now is more likely to be of the David Beckham variety, wearing more make-up than the missus, hairless, perfumed, varnished, emasculated by his bossy wife and perhaps fond of wearing her undies.

Good dads, loving husbands, supportive male role models, they're few and far between even in the fictional world of TV.

But in the real world it wasn't enough that we demanded they be more like us, we superior human beings. We had to traduce men as well, treating them in almost all forms of popular culture as useless, ineffectual, even comic characters, or as violent, cheating and untrustworthy.
And so Sitcom Man was born. Parker challenges us to try to think of a wholesome, reliable role model in myriad 'dads' created on TV or in movies. Fathers are always portrayed as incompetent or inconsequential, mindless or mean, comic or cruel. If you relentlessly portrayed any ethnic or minority group in such a biased way, you'd be pilloried on air.

Parker cites many reasons for the dereliction of men. First, there has been the institutionalisation of motherhood at the expense of fatherhood.

'We seem to accept that children shouldn't be raised without mothers, but we regard the contributions of fathers as optional,' Parker says.

Just last week, Nicola Brewer, the chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: 'Fathers are being marginalised to the extent of simply "seasoning" in their children's upbringing.'

And the state reinforces the 'Mum best, Dad dodgy' myth. 'The family courts effectively make fathers a slave to the state, his wages become state property, his time with his children is determined by a family court judge, and he faces jail if for whatever reason he fails to pay his child support on time.'

Family courts in America increasingly approve of 'virtual parenting', which means Mum can take the kids and live wherever she likes and Dad can do it long distance, via the phone or internet.
'Thanks to divorce, unwed motherhood, and policies that unfairly penalise and marginalise fathers, 30-40 per cent of all American children sleep in a home where their father doesn't,' she writes.

Parker believes that perhaps the biggest blow to men's roles in families has come with the explosion and normalisation of single motherhood.

'By elevating single motherhood from an unfortunate consequence of poor planning to a sophisticated act of self-fulfilment, we've helped to fashion a world not just in which fathers are scarce, but in which men are superfluous,' she says.

It's enough to set a feminist's hair on end

Single professional women shopping for donor sperm on the internet has become the equivalent of buying designer shoes online. The number of babies born to unmarried mothers aged between 30 and 44 increased by a staggering 17 per cent from 1999 to 2003.

In short, slowly but surely, men are being made obsolete as society embraces single motherhood as the equivalent of the nuclear family for fear of not offending the sisterhood.

And so, hey presto, the marginalisation of men marches on.

And if the child is born of a normal sexual encounter, the consequences for men can be equally dire, as they have no rights, only duties.

'If a woman gets pregnant she can abort - even without her husband's consent. If she chooses to have the child, she gets a baby and the man gets an invoice.

'Inarguably, a man should support his offspring, but by the same logic, shouldn't he have a say in whether his child is born or aborted?'

The number of children living in fatherless homes has tripled since 1960, from eight million to 24 million in the U.S.. So it comes as no surprise that 21st-century man feels isolated and increasingly obsolete.

'At the same time that men have been ridiculed in the public sphere, the importance of fatherhood has been diminished, along with other traditionally male roles of father, protector and provider, which are incredibly viewed as regressive manifestations of an outmoded patriarchy,' Parker writes.

She also examines the feminisation of education. There is overwhelming evidence now that boys' and girls' brains are wired differently, but over 20 years both in America and in the UK we have made learning harder for boys and more suitable for girls. The result, Parker says, is that the gap between young men's and women's academic achievements is widening.

In 2005, 133 women graduated from college in the U.S. for every 100 men. By the end of this decade that gap is expected to be 142 females for every 100 males.

And as ever the poorest and most deprived are the hardest hit. Among African Americans, the figures are far worse. Twice as many women as men graduate. Parker blames the achievement gap on the absence of fathers.

What is especially refreshing is that Parker's quest to Save The Males is not just about fairness to men. We need to do it, she says, not only 'because we love our sons but because we love our daughters'.

And because she believes, as many of us do, that the best building block for a stable and peaceful society is the traditional nuclear family.

'Part of our nation's strength has always been a function of its families. Restoring the family is critical to our survival in these untidy and dangerous times.' So, too, is 'respecting men and the important contribution they make to children's lives and society'.

Fathers are always portrayed as incompetent

Parker writes almost poetically about the ultimate beauty of men's innate character. When she looks at her own father and fathers around her, she concludes that being a dad is, in fact, the manliest thing a man can do.

It encourages responsibility, sacrifice and the ability to put others before yourself - all essential qualities to a functioning society, let alone a home.

'When we take away a man's central purpose in life and marginalise him from society's most important institution (the family), we strip him of his manhood.'

And it's not all we strip away, as studies have discovered here. We reduce a child's chance of a successful and happy life.

'Growing up without a father is the most reliable indicator of poverty and all the familiar social pathologies affecting children, including drug abuse, truancy, delinquency and sexual promiscuity. Yet some feminists and other progressives still insist that men are non-essential.'
The powerful argument Parker constructs is that unless we wake up, and wake up quickly, to the importance of men in family life, society as we know it is doomed. In the creation of a more femalefriendly world, we have unwittingly created a culture hostile to men, not in the workplace, but the most important place, the home.

How refreshingly honest, how devoid of political correctness or feminist dogma for a woman to argue for and ultimately celebrate the necessity and the goodness of men.

She rightly warns of the dangers to our society of a world without manliness. It's all very well for the armed forces to affect an equality between men and women, she says, but when the chips are down and a child or a society needs rescuing, it will not fall on the shoulders of our womenfolk.

And in an increasingly hostile world, we will need our men and we'll need them to be men, to display unashamedly the sheer physical strength and courage that even after a century of feminist intervention still dwarfs women's.

'In the coming years, we will need men who are not confused about their responsibilities to family and country.

'We need boys who have acquired the virtues of honour, courage, valour and loyalty. We need women willing to let men be men - and boys be boys.'

And we will need women like Kathleen Parker with the courage to fight for men. Saving the males, she argues, will also save women and children as we all 'stand to benefit from a society in which men feel respected and thus responsible'.

By engaging men's nobility and recognising their unique talents, we all benefit. And the process could start with us just being a bit nicer to them.

'It wouldn't hurt to fix a guy a burger now and then without the woman acting as though she's just established democracy in the Sunni Triangle.'

Chastened, I'm off to buy some burgers and a few buns.

• Save The Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care by Kathleen Parker, published by Random House

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Save the Males review:

War between the sexes gets fresh, new look
Sunday, July 20, 2008

SAVE THE MALES: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care,
by Kathleen Parker

Random House. 214 pages. $26.

BY MANDY TWADDELL Special to the Journal

“Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like A Man?” Henry Higgins wanted to know in My Fair Lady. The war between the sexes, once defined by mystery and charm, has turned into a battleground where men are losing — badly.

What changed? Parker begins with the feminist movement of mid-20th-century America. There was the film Stepford Wives, books like The Feminine Mystique and In Another Voice, along with a surge in Women’s Studies as an academic discipline. An ideology took shape. Its goal was to elevate women in all areas of public life and to punish men for centuries of domination. Thus men as demons and women as victims replaced the earlier suffragette movement that aimed for voting rights and equality.

Parker, a syndicated journalist, does not want to turn back the clock. The point of her book is to highlight facts that need further inquiry. Here are a few of them: 1) A child traveling alone by air cannot be seated next to a stranger who is male: “What’s the message?” Parker asks. 2) Men are the fragile sex, more vulnerable to disease and a shorter lifespan. 3) Men are underrepresented in higher education and singled out as having traits that require alteration. Anthropologist Lionel Tiger notes: “ADD and ADHD didn’t exist until Ritalin did.”

Parker seems most alarmed by the suspension of due process, as women invite government to step in and referee family life. An aggrieved father, having lost custody of his children, asserts: “We face opposition from a half-trillion-dollar federal bureaucracy” that primarily serves women. Parker cites the response to the Duke lacrosse players as evidence of today’s knee-jerk attitude toward accusations of male beastliness.
There is an interesting chapter on sci-fi parenthood. While “the pill” gave women control over procreation, advances in fertility science along with stockpiles of sperm allow future generations to arrive without the participation of men. This trend puts men on the path to extinction, and for some women, that is a good thing.

Here’s where a sense of humor and a reality check come in. Despite the battle of the sexes, most men and women are attracted to one another. They like to be together. As the French often observe, “The more things change, the more they are the same.”

Men will survive.

SAVE THE MALES: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A note from Kathleen:

Dear Visitor:

I set up this blog with the idea of adding stories and notes when news items related to my book's thesis emerge. (Sorry, you'll have to read the book, but definitely buy it first). I will start doing this soon as my book tour relaxes and time allows. If you have any ideas to submit - things that might have escaped my notice - please feel free to email me at and please write "Blog Notes" in the subject line.

Once I can focus more on the blog, I'll add other features for input and response. I look forward to your help in advancing the discussion about how men and women can become complementary agents in the interest of family and country, rather than adversaries in the trenches of our artificial gender wars. Thanks for dropping by. More anon.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

National columnist strives to 'Save the Males'

National columnist strives to 'Save the Males'
By Bill Thompson
The Post and Courier
Sunday, June 22, 2008

For the past 35 years, the denigration of men as loathsome beasts responsible for all the world's ills has held publishing, academe and much popular culture in its thrall. It has marked a radical swing of the cultural pendulum — from centuries of patriarchal dominance to a new era of ideological feminism.

Kathleen Parker has had enough.

The nationally syndicated columnist, who also happens to be a wife, mother and daughter, believes we have gone from one calcified extreme to another. Women, as well as men, are suffering the consequences. In "Save the Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care" (Random House), she argues that men and boys are being wedged into a box that may produce just the sort of self-fulfilling prophesies that feminists decry.

"Tell a boy often enough that he's stupid, and he might try to prove you right," says Parker. "Tell men they're lousy long enough and they may not disappoint. You treat people the way you want them to be and help them become that person. If they're presumptively guilty of every bad thing or sin men ever committed, they may feel there's no point in trying. Smart parents tell their kids they're strong and smart and noble. But boys don't always hear that these days."

Parker also addresses the subjects of women in the military and how society has become hyper-sexualized at the expense of genuine human connection.

But it is examining the erosion of men's ancient role in the social contract that commands the principal emphasis.

"Part of man's traditional role is protecting women and children, and most men want to," she says. "But by banishing chivalry from the culture, we've also succeeded in ridding men of their sense of honor."

"Save the Males" is no ham-handed diatribe. There is as much warmth and wit in the book as there is sobriety. Parker, who began her journalism career in 1977 at the Charleston Evening Post, argues that it's not only past time to put to bed the more extreme feminist ideas, but the "commercially rewarding" (if counterproductive) pop-culture images as well.

"Absolutely. And I think some feminists feel the same way," says the Winterhaven, Fla., native, who divides her time between Camden and Washington, D.C.. "I was once a fire-breathing feminist, too. It wasn't until I gave birth to a boy that the scales fell from my eyes. This (male bashing) has had a very profound effect on the world we live in today. These negative sentiments became mainstream and then institutionalized. We can't escape them entirely because we live them.

"We are producing a culture not conducive to raising kids in healthy families. I wanted to show how it is affecting us."

A 1976 graduate of Florida State University with a Ph.D. in Spanish literature, Parker says women and children can benefit from a society only in which men feel respected and motivated to heed the better angels of their nature.

"I do try to make the argument that it isn't only about saving males. We have to train our young men to be good men. Women ultimately determine how men behave toward them. It's the way we're built. And it's a matter of channeling these male energies toward constructive behavior. Women like men, they really do. But I'm concerned about this 20-something generation of women who have been marinating in this sexually hostile, anti-male environment."

Parker's mother died when she was 3. As someone raised by a single father, she will brook no disparagement of single mothers who are doing a remarkable job of parenting. Yet elements of culture continue to venerate the iconic single mom raising children free of masculine "interference" as something preferable, which betrays a breathtaking naivete about the nature of human development.

"I was raised by my father as a single dad, and I have been a single mom. I know how hard the job is. But we do know the reality of this situation. The problem I have with this book is that I'm having to argue the obvious. Men and women bring different skills to parenting. There's not one piece of it that is dispensable. We need all of it.

"How does a boy become a man without a father to guide him? This hyper-masculine, pop-cultural image we see now is a reaction to a lack of a genuine father figure. Why we don't understand that is mind-boggling to me."

Book after book has been produced detailing how our educational system shortchanges or imperils girls. This, in a time when young women are fast becoming the majority on the nation's college campuses. Few, until recently, have explored the other side of that argument, that boys are increasingly at risk.

"We wanted to make the classroom more egalitarian, focusing more on girl triumphs to make girls feel better. But we can't do that to the exclusion of boys. As a young girl, I sought out books on women like Joan of Arc because there wasn't much going on in my history books that I could relate to. So while I applaud bringing in more things that girls can relate to, there needs to be a balance."

The question remains, how do we reclaim the "manly" man without also reclaiming some of his less desirable traits?

"Fathers are responsible for teaching those lessons to their boys. Women can only do so much. Boy behavior is not easily tolerated these days. But men know about that stuff. Women, for all our amazing talents, are not as good at it. We wouldn't need to tell anyone that women understand girls better than men do, so why do we need to say the same of men and boys?"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Save The Males" No Country For Old (er, any) Men By Christine B. Whelan

Are men necessary? In 2005, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who authored a book by that title, said no. Women are soaring to new heights in education and the workplace -- and men are intimidated by this success, she argued. And who needs them anyway when modern technology created the sperm bank? In Dowd's world, men might be headed toward practical extinction.

"Save the Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care" is Kathleen Parker's sharp and witty criticism of the American male-bashing culture, where boys are thought of as bad and girls are lauded as good. Parker rails against women like Dowd who perpetuate this misandry that has seeped into media, schools and family life.

Never heard of misandry? It's the idea that men are inferior to women, but it's not commonly used. While many of us know the word misogyny -- the hatred of women -- few dare to argue that men might not get a fair shake.

Parker asks readers to take a second look: Teenaged girls wear T-shirts that read "Stupid Factory: Where Boys Are Made" and sitcoms like "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "The Simpsons" are driven by plots of husbandly stupidity and wives saving the day. When we embrace the stereotype that men are mamma's boys, invalids and bumblers, we're falling into a dangerous trap: We're emasculating the men we profess to love.

What happened? When did we stop thinking of men as strong providers and decide they were stupid and unnecessary? Parker describes this "trivialization of the father" as "feminism's collateral damage," arguing that father knows best went out of fashion with poodle skirts. In an era of blurred gender roles, "as we devalue the strong masculine type, we reward the feminized male." Parker quips that we've taken "the apron-men and the power-women and turned them into cultural icons of virtue and courage."

The "Sex and the City" generation of women expects little from men, Parker argues, and men have acted accordingly: "Random hookups," and no-commitment relationships create a culture where "men have been delivered from the expectation that they behave honorably" and in turn, "females hurt by men's lack of attention react in ways that ensure further alienation," pushing men out of family life and diminishing their contributions to society.

Even more pressing, Parker asks "Where did daddy go?" Today, a third of all American children sleep in a home where their father doesn't: A generation of fathers has been marginalized from family life by divorce laws that favor mothers and a culture that celebrates single motherhood, Parker claims.

Men aren't blameless in Parker's social critique. Men age 18 to 35, she says, are "perpetual adolescents who see no point in growing up," spending hours each day playing video games and watching mindless TV. But a society that demands little and expects less of men risks "cultural suicide."

Gender equality is the goal, yet Parker worries that we've tipped the balance past the point of equanimity. "There's no such thing as a 'woman's issue' or a 'man's issue,' " she concludes. "Popular wisdom teaches that nature abhors a vacuum. So do children, so do families. In fatherless, male-bashing America, we might figure something needs tweaking." We need men who aren't confused about their responsibilities to family and country, she argues.

Saving the males it turns out means saving the females -- and our children.

Christine B. Whelan is a visiting assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Iowa and the author of "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women."

Save the Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care
Kathleen Parker
Random House

Interview with Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a columnist and author of Save the Males: Why Men Matter Why Women Should Care. While I am not crazy about the title (it implies that men are victims in need of saving and only because women are involved), the content in this book is worth a read by anyone who thinks that men are still in charge of society and by those who already know differently. Far from focusing on men being victims, Parker brings to light the need to fight unfair laws and societal trends that lead to a loss of freedom and autonomy for men and harms families and children.

Parker discusses the lower rates of men in college, domestic violence, what the Presidential candidates need to know about fatherhood, and whether the Democrats have become the party of girly-men.

You can listen directly -- no downloads needed -- by going here and selecting the gray Flash player. You can download the file and listen at your leisure by clicking right here. And you can always get a free subscription via iTunes -- and why not, really?