This book is the bible of the Men’s Right’s Movement. Maybe even an encyclopedia. It is the most thorough piece of literature you will find on modern men’s issues. It contains over 1000 sources of data and statistics which means there is plenty to discover.
In sum, he says men are gagged. And they are ready to be un-gagged more than ever. This was in 1993, so the book is 24 years old now. Warren Farrell is hated by a lot of feminists for this book even though he had served as a prominent speaker on behalf of the feminist movement prior to writing this and does not consider himself opposed to it as a whole and believes it has made positive contributions. He served on the board of directors of the National Organization for Women in New York City. “I slowly became good at saying what women wanted to hear.” He states. But he later became a defector, giving up his prestige.
Statistics do not lie, but they do not always tell the truth.
The book is insightful and rote. Interspersed with the thousands sources of information are his own thoughts. While the data speaks for itself, I found that much of Farrell’s opinions and personal thoughts made for an awkward flow and voice for a Ph.D work. His opinions on things were often confusing or conflicting. The title is not appropriate for the work. “The Myth of Male Power” is something you would title a persuasive paper, but this book is not a persuasive paper. It’s more like an encyclopedia. Neither is there a premise to start the book off succinctly explaining what “male power” means and why it is a myth. Male power as a generalization is not entirely a myth. They often do have power. Athletic power, political power, and monetary power. And more than women. At the same time there is another side of manhood where they are totally powerless. Hence, the reason for this website and my own book Strong. It could be right for them to have power and it could be wrong. It needs more discernment and wisdom to “rightly divide the truth” than merely comparing two numbers. Statistics do not lie, but they do not always tell the truth.
Nonetheless you will get to see very vividly the other side of the argument. He brings to light, through data, that men do suffer, die, and get bamboozled by the world too. One thing that stuck out was the discussion about how heroes are those who give themselves as slaves to a society.
Was a hero a servant? Yes. The very word “hero” comes from the Greek ser-ow, from which comes our word “servant,” as well as “slave” and “protector.” A hero was basically a slave whose purpose was to serve and protect. (Farrell, p.68)
He also does a good job pointing out how surveys and data alone are not sufficient for finding out the truth. When feminists point out that relationship loss is more pervasive for women than men, Farrell asks, “If it is, though, why do husbands whose wives die commit suicide ten times more often than wives whose husbands die?” (Farrell, p.169) He continues, “…even a 30-year-old man whose wife dies is eleven times more likely to commit suicide than a 30-year-old man whose wife is living.” For the sex that is often accused of being “unable to love” it is the loss of love that devastates men.
What privilege, what benefit, what glory do you actually get if you’re dead? It is those who make themselves slaves to a community, willing to die, that are called heroes. And it’s those who actually die at the height of their glorious service that are remembered as the greatest heroes. Type in “South America’s hero” in Google and this is what you will get:
Simon Bolivar, known as El Libertador (The Liberator) has a statue and monument in just about every major city in six Latin American countries. Each city designated a central park in his honor. By contrast George Washington liberated one country and has his face imprinted on every $1 bill. Type in “Switzerland’s hero” into Google and you will get “Willhelm Tell” or “Kenya’s hero” and you will get Jomo Kenyatta. The trend continues, country after country.
These men are honored as heroes because they made themselves slaves to their people. Being willing to die not for themselves, but for their people. So if one man chooses to serve and die for all the people of the world since the beginning what do you get? You get Jesus.
[Jesus] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Phil. 2:7 NASB)
This is a core Christian principle. We do not bother ourselves with issues of equality. There is no time or place for it where all are called to be servants. It applies to all of us as we engage the world and our communities. If Jesus did not care about his equality with God, should women care so much about their equality with men? If they want to reach men and see them changed, they won’t.
All the powers that be, the government, the legal system, the workforce, etc. are all burdensome things of the world’s making for everyone. They will weigh you down. They are designed to restrict because of the fact that humans are given to corruption. Freedom comes at a cost in this world. You are born into a war and you have no choice but to choose a side. It’s not possible to be neutral because the war comes after you. The completed work of Jesus and the future promise of universal renewal is the key of Christian freedom. This is what frees up a Christian to count it a privilege to suffer. This is the dynamic that completely destroys all comparison and competition between men and women in the Church. Fighting for freedom or a cause when it is totally safe to do is not couragous, not brave.