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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly researched and presented groundbreaking work., 4 Sep 2008
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This review is from: Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex (Paperback)
The Myth of Male Power has already become the 'bible' of the mens rights movement, and though it has been out of print for many of the 15 years since its first publication, that is simply testamant to the quite heretical idea that the book exposits and to the many obstacles that the still incipient mens movement faces. I would challenge any person, male or female, to read the first chapter alone and not come away with your mind ablaze with thoughts, angry perhaps, but provoked certainly.

The book begins with a set of varying and more tightly focused definitions of power than are generally used (for example 'influence power') and for each one shows that men actually have (and have had) the rougher deal. By the end of the first chapter, only somebody with a very crude definition of power could believe uncritcally that men have always historically had it. In fact, such a belief is tantamount, as Farrell says, to believing that a chauffer is the one with power in a rich man's limousine simply because he is the one who is being paid to drive it.

Chapter two then covers rather more philosophical territory. The author explains how the changes in divorce law, contraception, abortion etc have led to changes in the social perceptions of male and female gender roles, largely to the benefit of women and almost wholly to the cost of men. Farrell stresses that there never was a 'patriarchy' in the sense of men having all the power and using it to serve the interests only, or even primarily, of males and points amongst other things to the 1.2 million American men who have died serving their nation and families over the last two centuries. Instead, society imposed certain roles and obligations upon both men and women, and now these roles have shifted, in particular, women have far greater freedom in choosing their role, yet men are still straightjacketed as 'the protector'.

Chapter 3 appears very optimistic in terms of it being an outline of how humanity is experiencing an 'evolutionary shift' in its historical destiny. The author claims that for the first time in history, humans have overcome the basic and pressing necessities of survival and are throwing away the socially constructed shackles that have formed from those urgencies. Men, up to now have been left out of this revolution, but a successful mens movement is near to inevitible in the same way that a woman's movement emerged and was quickly successful in the 60's.

The rest of the book is really a very well researched and argued further elaboration and justification of all the points made in the first three chapters.

A brilliant and thought provoking book, anybody interested in questioning the received wisdom of our society today should order it today.
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