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,

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