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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, dangerous, opinionated, but a welcome change
If you read this book, never forget that while Esther Vilar is making a serious point, her tongue never leaves her cheek. If you forget that this is satire (at its best) then you may be tempted to take what she says literally and miss the wonderful humour on offer.
Of course, women are not as stupid or as manipulative as the author makes out, and men are not as...
Published on 23 Jan 2003 by Rory Ridley-Duff

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book
This book reminds me of articles I saw once in the British magazine 'Company' in 1988. The public was asked which gender would they rather be and why. The majority of men and women said women, for various reasons. A few women said women in men's bodies. It concluded by saying that we can see which gender really needs equality and liberation. That's at least in this modern...
Published on 6 May 2008 by R. Kramp

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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, dangerous, opinionated, but a welcome change, 23 Jan 2003
This review is from: The Manipulated Man (Paperback)
If you read this book, never forget that while Esther Vilar is making a serious point, her tongue never leaves her cheek. If you forget that this is satire (at its best) then you may be tempted to take what she says literally and miss the wonderful humour on offer.
Of course, women are not as stupid or as manipulative as the author makes out, and men are not as philanthropic and intelligent either. She presents stereotypes to make her point that women are prepared to manipulate men to serve their own selfish needs - and the extent to which they do this is substantially underestimated. I imagine that any man in his middle or later years does not need to be taught this lesson, but in her focus on a section of the female population she does not admire, Esther Vilar forgets the many women who genuinely care for their partners and friends (and the many men who don't).
I see many women I have met in the pages of her book. Sometimes I found myself nodding at her wisdom, sometimes laughing out loud at her humour, and at other times sucking through my teeth at the outrageous and dangerous things she says. Men on the rebound from bad relationships could read this and become bitter. Only women will know the true extent of the author's claims about their behaviour. As for her opinion of men, it is refreshing to find a book with the courage to speak of the many positive male characteristics that are so often ignored.
An excellent read - I picked up the book and could not put it down until I had finished it. Entertained? Totally. Persuaded? Much less so. This is a good starter for the man who wants to open his eyes to what is really going on around him in his personal world. But if you want a serious - properly referenced and researched - book on men's issues then get Warren Farrell's "The Myth of Male Power". Farrel's book is just as readable, but backs up opinion with impeccable academic research. Esther - in contrast - appeals only to common sense. There is no substance to back up her views. Interesting and welcome as these are, this is a polemic - just one person's personal opinion.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Unmitigated Misogyny, 9 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Manipulated Man (Paperback)
HL Mencken defined a misogynist as "a man who hates women almost as much as women hate one another". It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that the only truly 'woman-hating' book ever to be written in modern times (or at least ever to be accepted by a mainstream publisher) was penned by a female hand.

Turning feminism on its head, Esther Vilar views women as "dim-witted parasitic luxury items", living at the expense of productive male breadwinners. Women, in her cynical gaze, are little more than overpriced prostitutes. However, compared to the street prostitutes whom they so despise for undercutting their prices, they even the virtue of honesty about what they are doing.

Thus, Vilar observes, although "the old saying that a woman's fate is her body is true insofar as it has a positive meaning... it is better applied to men" because, whereas "a woman profits from her anatomical peculiarities... a man is an eternal slave to his".

The Wealth of Women and the Fundamental Fallacy of Feminism

With wit and style, Vilar exposes what may be regarded as the Fundamental Fallacy of Feminism - namely the assumption that because men earn more than women, this means men are better off. As Jack Kammer (If Men Have All the Power How Come Women Make the Rules: and other radical thoughts for men who want more fairness from women) writes, "Looking at men in business and government and saying they have all the power is like looking at women in the supermarket and saying they have all the food" - just as women shop for the whole family, men earn money and exercise power for the benefit of the whole family.

The feminist fallacy is therefore twofold. It ignores:
1) The greater effort and risks men undertake in return for higher wages; and
2) The fact that much of the money earned by men is spent on and by their wives and girlfriends
As Schopenhauer observed in 'On women', his own much-maligned masterpiece of misogyny, "women believe in their hearts that a man's duty is to earn money and theirs is to spend it".

Vilar, perhaps inevitably given the satirical and polemical style she adopts, does not cite any data in support of her assertions. Thankfully, however the data is available elsewhere. Writers like Warren Farrell (Why Men Earn More) and Kingsley Browne (Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality) have documented how, in return for their greater wages, men work longer hours than women, in more dangerous and unpleasant conditions and for a greater portion of their lives.

Thus, as Vilar observes, "the army of suppressed women eagerly awaiting the moment of liberation simply never materialised", for the simple reason that "it is not much fun to repair water pipes, to lay bricks or to lug furniture" and "unlike men, women can choose whether to do drudgery".

However, despite this additional work and the higher earnings that result, men are not financially better-off as compared to women. On the contrary, Vilar observes "according to statistics, it is the female sector of the population who spends the most money - money men earn for them". Similarly, in the introduction to the 1998 edition of her book, she writes "it is well established that women make the majority of purchasing decisions".

Again, unfortunately, she does not cite sources. Again, however, the data is available for those willing to hunt it down.

For example, Bernice Kanner in Pocketbook Power: How to Reach the Hearts and Minds of Today's Most Coveted Consumer - Women (p5), women make approximately 88% of retail purchases in the US. Similarly, Marti Barletta in Marketing to Women (p6), women are responsible for about 80% of household spending. (A review of the evidence confirming women's disproportionate control over consumer spending, albeit one focussing on the situation in the UK and now somewhat out-of-date, is also provided by David Thomas in Not Guilty: The Case in Defense of Men.)

In this case, the data comes from perhaps a surprising source - researchers in the marketing industry. After all, these researchers cannot afford to manipulate, misinterpret, suppress or sugar coat their findings for purposes of political expediency or ideological imperative in the same way that feminist academics are apt to do. Concerned with the bottom line of maximising sales, their research results must reflect reality or they and the companies they work for will soon go out of business.

As Vilar herself puts it:
"The advertising man does not idealise women from any masochistic tendency. It is purely a question of survival. Only his exploiters, women, have sufficient time and money to buy and consume all of his products. To supply the woman inhabiting his ranch home with purchasing power, he has no choice but to cultivate legions of other women who have as much satisfaction as his own wife in spending. They will then buy his goods and keep his wife in pocket money. This is the beginning of a vicious cycle."

Consumers are conventionally viewed as the victims of advertising, manipulated and deceived into wasting their money on the latest pointless unnecessary fad. Vilar turns this logic on its head. Who, she demands, is really being exploited: "Is it the creature whose innermost wishes are sought out, coddled and fulfilled, or is it he who in his desire to retain the affections of the woman, seeks out coddles and fulfils them?"

How, then, is it that men earn more money than women but women spend more than men? The answer lies in sexual and romantic relations between the sexes which function to redistribute wealth from men to women.

Indeed, the entire process of human courtship seems designed to achieve this end - from the social obligation on the man to pay for dinner on the first date to the legal obligation imposed upon him to financially support his ex-wife and her children for anything up to twenty years after he has belatedly rid himself of her.

As David Thomas concludes "If... one class of person does all the work and another does all the spending, you do not have to be Karl Marx to conclude that the second of these two classes is the more privileged" (Not Guilty: The Case in Defense of Men: linked above).

A popular saying claims that `behind every great man is a great woman'. This is, of course, a dishonest but appealing way for individual women to claim vicarious credit for achievements that are not their own, and for women in general to claim vicarious credit on behalf of womankind as a whole.

However, modified slightly, the saying has an element of truth. Although women do not contribute to the greatness or success of great or successful men, they certainly benefit from it. It would therefore be more accurate to say: Behind every successful man is a woman spending a portion of his earnings in addition to her own.

Housework: Unpaid labour or Overpaid Laziness?

Feminists would no doubt claim that this analysis ignores women's so-called 'unpaid labour' in the home from which husbands purportedly benefit. Actually, it is doubtful that men benefit significantly from the housework undertaken by women.

"Most men" Vilar observes, "prefer the plain and functional" and have "no need of lace curtains or rubber plants in the living room", nor of pink carpets and flowered wallpapers. Frankly, most men have better taste.

The best evidence for this is the fact that single men do less housework than single women. Far from shirking on their fair share of the housework, it simply appears that men do not think the same amount of housework is necessary as do women. This is why single men do less housework than single women.

Data cited by Kingsley Browne in 'Biology at Work' (linked-above) shows that, in America, the average married man does only one hour less housework per week than the average single man. This is hardly sufficient recompense for the level of financial support he provides for his wife.

Women frequently complain that men do not contribution enough to house cleaning. However, as Jack Kammer observes "you never hear a man complaining that his wife doesn't do her fair share of polishing the chrome on the Camero".

Housework therefore seems to be, not unpaid labour, but rather overpaid laziness. A person is no more entitled to remuneration for cleaning their own house than they are for cleaning behind their ears in the bath.

Much the same analysis can be applied to childcare provided by women. After all, unlike men, who are denied any say in the choice whether to abort a foetus yet nevertheless obliged to pay maintenance, women have children out of choice, presumably because they see caring for children (or at least for their own children) as inherently rewarding.

Under Vilar's unrelenting cynicism, children are relegated to "hostages" used to extract more money from men, ostensibly to provide for the children, but in reality for themselves. Thought extreme, there is some merit in this view. It is indeed the case that child maintenance is typically paid to the mother, rather than direct to the child and, whereas there exist extensive draconian mechanisms to ensure its payment, there are essentially no mechanisms to ensure that the money paid is actually used for the benefit of the child.

[Edit: I elaborate on this issue in my blog post, "Unpaid Labour or Overpaid Laziness: Why Housework in Your Own House Isn't Really Work", available at "Men's Rights Review".]


Vilar sees feminism as missing the point entirely. Feminists were interested only in the purported privileges of a small minority of relatively privileged men "and not the prerogatives of, say, soldiers". The early feminists, she argues, were bitter because they had failed to attract a man to support them and had, like men, to support themselves (albeit without the additional obligation to support a wife and children). Vilar sees them as no better than other women ("there is no virtue in ugliness").

Now, however, feminists are no longer ugly. On the contrary, feminism, she perceptively observes, has descended into "a branch of American show business".


It may be protested that Vilar's views are outdated. She describes a situation where the majority of married women are not in paid employment. Obviously things have changed since Vilar first published this book forty years ago. (Fitzgerald's delightfully titled Sex-Ploytation: How Women Use their Bodies to Extort Money From Men purports to provide an update.)

However, things have changed less than one would think. In the UK in the 21st century, whereas 95% of married men work full-time, the majority of married women do not work at all, and, even among married women without children, only 58% work (Liddle 2003 p18). According to Catherine Hakim's Work-Lifestyle Choices in the 21st Century: Preference Theory (p111), wives earn, on average, between one fifth and one third of the total income of the couple and this pattern has remained stable in the latter half of the twentieth century. In the US, even those women who work only earn about a quarter of the total household income.

Although much has changed, the reality of women's manipulation and exploitation of male labour has changed little. This suggests, I would argue, that it is rooted, not in arbitrary cultural conditions, but in innate sex differences.

It is here that I part company from Vilar, who claims that "men have been trained and conditioned by women [mothers, girlfriends, wives], not unlike Pavlov conditioned his dogs, into becoming their slaves". My own view is that the exploitation of men by women is not conditioned, but biologically-based.

Sociobiologists have shown that, since females make the greater initial investment in offspring (an egg plus 9 months gestation, followed by nursing) and males have a greater 'potential reproductive rate', it is males who compete for access to females rather than vice versa (Trivers 1972). Moreover, according to David Buss (The Evolution Of Desire), "the evolution of the female preference for males who offer resources may be the most ancient and pervasive basis for female choice in the animal kingdom".

Since it is innate and based in nature, the key female advantage, namely their control over, what might be termed in quasi-Marxian terms, 'the forces of reproduction', is unlikely to be reversed.

Therefore, perhaps the only hope for the salvation of men lies not in social reform or revolution, but in technological progress which may eventually liberate men from the need for women. With the development of virtual reality pornography and 'sexbots' (see Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships), soon men may be achieve sexual satisfaction without the expense and inconvenience of real women. Instead, these 'virtual girlfriends' will be designed according to the precise specifications of their owners, will not nag, cheat, spend your money nor even grow older and uglier with the passing years and can be handily stored in a cupboard when not required.

Given that, like all significant technological advancement, they will surely be invented, designed, built and repaired by males, women will be bypassed and cut out of the equation altogether. Vilar herself anticipates this development, observing, "if men would only stop for a moment in their blind productivity and think... surely it would take them only a couple of days, considering their own intelligence, imagination and determination, to construct a machine, a kind of human female robot to take the place of women".

After all, technological progress has already rendered countless professions obsolete - from cobblers and blacksmiths to thatchers and telegraph operators. Soon perhaps the oldest profession itself will go the same way. If this happens, women may find themselves reduced from their current privileged status to mere historical curiosities or museum exhibits.

For men, the future is bright. The REAL sexual revolution has but barely begun.


Liddle R (2003) `Women who won't' Spectator 29 November

Trivers, R.L. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man, 1871-1971 (pp. 136-179). Chicago, IL: Aldine
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mans guide to life:Read It, 11 Mar 2005
This review is from: The Manipulated Man (Paperback)
Whilst reading this book, experiences through my life came to the front of my mind (and there were many of them...)
The characterisation of the sexes is fairly spot on - whilst some may hail and denounce it's despcriptions as generalisations, the polemic towers as a overview of the entire race of men and women over many, many years; and by doing so hits a big unspoken nail on the head.
Its what most men have sensed and most women deny. Indeed it offers a new way to look at the world we live in, that is if you hadn't already wised up throught your own observation and thought.
In spite of Vilar's wrath and ice... Many women have warm hearts and many men are not so easily led... Ultimatly the book holds up a mirror to feminism and shatters the generalisation within the women's movement of: man bad, woman good; Man oppresor; woman oppressed.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably Unique, 21 Nov 2000
Matthew Campbell "Matt Campbell" (Rochester, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Manipulated Man (Paperback)
This book is probably unique; I have yet to see another of its kind written by either a man or woman, though I am sure only a woman could write about other women with such authority; and what this one writes ain't too flattering! I can see how she got death threats from writing it.
I don't agree with all her observations and generalizations about women. And, I do think that things have changed a little bit since the '70s. Nonetheless, her basic points, that men pay for sex in one way or another from women, and that women use sex as a coin in trade for other things, is consistent with my own experiences and those other men have told me about. I also agree that the only way things will change for the better is if both sexes realize this and move to changed it for real. Otherwise men are left as johns and women as whores for the rest of humanity's tenure on this planet.
BTW, you can't find this book in the US. Apparently it's too hot for American book distributors to touch. So you know it's gotta get into some really juicy stuff. =)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Topsy Turvy, 10 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Manipulated Man (Paperback)
Esther Vilar's remarkable attack on the modern zeitgeist, that of female oppression and patriarchy, throws in the biggest spanner imaginable: it is women who exploit and manipulate men, and get them to do their bidding.

Forget Germaine Greer or Caitlin Moran - their arguments in support of male oppression are pathetic next to the terse, rude and genuinely acerbic analysis presented here. Men and women are both so stupid, that they have not noticed how society is really organised - men are controlled and manipulated by women and the institutions that serve their interests, to protect them, provide for them and die for them and 'their hostages' (children). Unusually, Vilar has noticed, despite her assertion throughout that men are brilliant and women stupid and infantile. She has written a book that changes your perspective as if you are looking through the periscope the wrong way around.

Mothers train their sons to perform tasks for them, aided by teachers, that to be a man, you have to compete, have honour and strive to provide for your wife and family - while she also teaches girls how to train men (with sex and praise)to do her bidding so she can be protected, to have choices in life, and to be weak/strong. Women's lives are guided by her desire to have a personal slave who sees it as his duty and indeed, his passion to provide, protect and perform for her. She is free to be stupid, do little except shop for shoes and handbags, have children to re-bind the man into her service (now he really can't leave) and rule the roost.

Written in 1971, you'd think this is all outdated or mad. Not according to Vilar's recently written introduction - it is all still true and is even more true since Feminism.

I enjoyed this a lot- is it perverse, funny and there is perhaps, a bit of steely irony in some of the arguments. Did I swallow it all? There is truth in here, that's certain, and it is radical in an altogether different way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A blunt but very worthwhile read - especially for men considering marriage, 26 May 2012
M Hudson (UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Manipulated Man (Paperback)
Esther holds nothing back in her findings on how men are manipulated and her blunt delivery may be shocking also makes it an addictive and valuable read. She makes an interesting case for men being baited into marriage - as a trapped but self-validating life course. She further extensively explains how society and even religion directs men into marriage and servitude to women as the only worthwhile life choice. Whether you agree or not this is a powerful read and a great antidote to the border line misandrous feminist nonsense pumped out in mainstream media.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that was/is way ahead of its time!, 10 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Manipulated Man (Paperback)
Originally published in the 1970's this book exposes the motivations of feminism before anyone was ready to hear it. This book is as relevant today as it was then. Highly recommended reading by the National Coalition of Free Men in the United States. Too bad it is only available through European sources.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for every young man growing up., 13 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Manipulated Man (Paperback)
But approach this book with an open mind, it will challenge everything you have come to know about dynamics between the sexes. At times it was difficult (even as a man) to read this because it diametrically opposed all my pre-conceptions - but Vilar's methodical breakdown totally gives gender relations a new perspective. The book is a great eye-opener and allows you to view the world through the "majority" woman-focused lens (of course there are exceptions to the rule, but the anomalies only prove the rule is true). Women will undoubtedly be outraged by this, but its because it actually exposes a truth - and true clarity is very threatening to the unreasonable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Satire alert - not to be taken 100% seriously!, 4 May 2014
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Anyone buying this book must remember that it contains a large measure of satire. I am no feminist but even I was muttering "steady on" and "that's going a bit far!"

There are some marvellously quotable and enjoyable passages here, and this book may have some men punching the air in delight as Vilar speaks the truths that nobody is allowed to say anymore. (It is no wonder that over 30 years later she still gets death threats)

The book is less about what individual women do to manipulate individual men, and more about how men are manipulated in general by women as a group, and how we are conditioned by women from the earliest age to do what they want. Be warned, Vilar pulls absolutely no punches whatsoever. Her view of women is, erm, a little bit cynical, shall we say?

Not a book you want any of your female friends, relations or colleagues to catch you reading. Otherwise, you will have some 'splaining to do!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read, 6 July 2013
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This review is from: The Manipulated Man (Paperback)
Yes this book is extreme, yes it is a caricature and yes things have changed since it was written in 1971. But still, it is an essential read for everyone I believe.
Incidentally, the mere fact that the book is (apparently) unavailable in the US and that the author received so many death threats from feminists goes a long way of showing Esther Vilar is making a valid point.
I bought it and read it in one go. I really wish someone had put this book in my hand when I was 20! So if you are a young guy reading this and wondering whether you should get the book, trust me on this: Yes, get the book and read it now!

PS: People interested in this may also want to read Dead End Feminism. A lot more subtle and also more recent.
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