Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review of "Men On Strike"

Dr. Helen of PJ Media fame is in a very small, but elite league.  She is one of the few professionals (PhD in psychology) to address and bring to light the sexual-sociological backlash men and women are having to feminism.  The only other person I've known to do this is Dr. Roy Baumeister with his book "Is There Anything Good About Men."  However, while Dr. Baumeister's book focuses on society's current view or opinion of men, Dr. Helen's new book "Men on Strike" addresses the consequences of having a myopic and solipsistic societal view of the sexes.  And the consequences aren't good.

As the title would suggest, men are going on strike.  They are striking from their traditional roles as breadwinners, innovators, hard workers, protectors, etc.  But worse they are abandoning their roles as husbands and fathers.  Not out of a lack of desire, but worse - they are being forced out of these roles as society has made both roles too risky to forfeit their precious and finite lives for.

Naturally there is a backlash.

Women want men to "man up" and marry them.  Women want men give them children.  But, particularly ironic, while women SAY they want men to be effeminate, sensitive, caring, listeners, their behaviors show their preferences for strong, thuggish bad boys have never changed.  This confusion (and risk) to men has sent them fleeing, and blinded by feminism, modern day women can't figure out why.  They are stumped as to why they're 42, single, with some other man's child, a masters degree in creative writing and NOT getting approached every day.  They simply cannot connect the dots.

Dr. Helen explores this reaction of men and tries to connect the dots for women.  Her language is polite, diplomatic and correct. but this is a herculean task to ask of her because she is trying to undo the brainwashing women (and men) have received for 40 years.  It is a harsh pill to swallow, too harsh for the progressively deteriorating and childish men and women who populate America today, and her blog receives more criticism than inquiry and acceptance.  Regardless she tries and has a professional psychological background to back it up lending the book authority.

Unfortunately, however, what she writes will be nothing new to those who have been on the frontlines since the war began.  The book will bring no new observations, epiphanies, or theories to veterans or those well-read about the plight of men in western civilization.  It is simply a refining, repackaging and delivery of an argument that has been going on for a decade.  However, the intended audience is not members of The Manosphere, but rather society at large and is where the value of her book lies.  It is made to be digestible to the general public and, again, has the backing of Dr. Helen's professional background.

The only real complaints I have about the book are two fold.  One, the heavy reliance on anecdotal evidence rubs my economist soul the wrong way.  While good, anecdotes can simply be dismissed as anecdotes by more cynical people or (worse) ideologues who have no intention of pursuing truth and only wish to maintain a political agenda.  There is some empirical data, and enough anecdotal evidence would give cause to investigate a claim further, but given the entrenched and politicized forces of feminism and socialism, stories are not going to debunk them, let alone convince them.  Two, it lacked organization and succinctness.  This could of course be due to my general impatience and ADHDDDHHD, but I would have liked to see less heart and more of a clinical "legal case" made in this book.  Again, though, that is a preference.

In general "Men on Strike" is one of the first real "official" books written by a professional that should make the jump from "fringe, right wing manosphere" to MSM and should be welcomed, or at least, heard out by the main stream.  It may not make a great book for those of us already familiar with the battle, but would make a great gift or argument for introducing somebody to the backlash that is occurring against feminism today.

So far it only looks like it is available in paperback format, but I am sure it will be available in Kindle soon as well.


Anthony said...

Your two complaints tell me that this book will do better with women than with men. Which is ok. Women need to know this stuff, too.

More statistical data, more head and less heart - that might appeal to men who are still men, but haven't even heard of the red pill. But if you want to get women's attention, more anecdotes and more emotion is the way to go. Those women who do prefer "the facts, ma'am" will see what's there, and may start digging on their own.

Glen Filthie said...

I would be really interested in the sales of both your books with regard to Anthony's statement above. Who are the people buying your books. Are you both 'preaching to the choir' or are inroads being made?

My experience with the progressive socialist animal would suggest that neither of you would get through to them. They are willfully and deliberately ignorant and stupid and now amount of factual evidence or anecdotal evidence will dissuade them. Being stupid and ignorant is easy; being informed, competitive and prepared is hard - so the lemmings will do what they will do regardless.

A statistical study of such books would be most intriguing in my scholarly opinion.

Unknown said...

P.J. O'Rourke: "Without men, civilization would last until the next oil change."

Anonymous said...


You and Aurini should check out the following independently produced film:

Diary of a Tired Black Man

I think you will both find it rings true. Apparently the producer is making a part 2 and 3.

the dude said...

I was going to say something about the anecdotes, but Anthony beat me to it. I find women respond FAR more to personal stories than empirical data.

I remember having a conversation with my own mother where she was ragging on me to get married. I responded something along the likes of "Well, I like girls younger than me," and her hamster started throwing a fit. I looked her dead in the eye and said "How old were you when you married dad, and how old was he." She instantly dropped the subject.

So, yeah. Anecdotes for idiots.

Anonymous said...

I sense that, as an enlightened member of the manosphere, the book wasn't intended for your consumption.

The question I have is whether it is shocking enough that it can cut through that 40 years of brainwashing.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link you may like:

"Hypergamy a problem? We've got a drug for that!"

I wonder if they'll prescribe it for post-carousel riders once they turn 30 to 'help' them find men...

Anonymous said...

Women want men to "man up" and marry them.

What ever happened to "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle"?

Connect the dots indeed...

Anonymous said...

Without women, men go bad.

When the economy crashes and life becomes a generation long struggle for survival, women will discover
that a good man is hard to find.

I am curious as to what the society
which survives will be like, but
do not expect to survive to see it.

quoting Heinlein, again:
'Old age was not a usual cause
of death in that generation.'

AlanKH said...

P.J. O'Rourke should chair a Gender Studies department.

kurt9 said...

The problem is deeper than mere feminism. In much of the developed world, the cost of having kids (education, health care, housing in good school districts) has increased enormously in the past 30 years. By comparison, the cost of nearly everything else has decreased relative to mean income over the past 30 years.

Another issue is that economic upward mobility ceases for many people over the age of 40, 50, or whatever. Loose your job at age 60 and it is nearly impossible to get a new job unless you are in some highly specialized field. It is therefor understandable that many men may see this writing on the wall and decide that making enough money to live cheaply on the beaches of S.E. Asia or Latin America by age 40 or 50 is a more attractive alternative, one that is more attainable if one skips getting married and having kids (or marrying a working wife and not having the kids).

Additionally, the regulatory burden of having kids has exploded in both the U.S. and Europe. Everything from government approved car seats to making sure the kids "play nice" on the play ground have made parenting much more of a burden than it was, say, 1985.

Lastly, someone made the point over on NRO a few months ago that it is simply impossible to have a stress-free marriage. Yet this same person was incapable of grasping the possibility that guys who value peace of mind and stress-free living may choose to skip marriage and family completely. The liberal-left are not the only people clueless about this issues.