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Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men?: A Debate (Point/Counterpoint) 1st Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195312836
ISBN-10: 019531283X
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Editorial Reviews


"Lucid in argument and presentation, beautifully organized, highly readable, very engaging, and well-documented. Both contributions to the volume are rich with examples, which are bound to speak to a very large spectrum of readers. The two pieces balance each other beautifully. I cannot think of anyone better qualified than these two writers to take on the tasks of presenting and examining critically these arguments. This is a book that I would seriously consider using in a course on contemporary moral issues."--Claudia Card, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"The relationship between men and feminism has never been addressed in such an exciting and accessible way, or with such extensive and engaging evidence and anecdotes."--Tom Digby, Springfield College

"Farrell contributes countless concrete examples, so that it is easy for the reader to understand his points. Sterba contributes a model of philosophical argumentation in action in the real world."--Alison Jaggar, University of Colorado at Boulder

About the Author

James P. Sterba is a Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame

Product Details

  • Series: Point/Counterpoint
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019531283X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195312836
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 1 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Farrell's The Myth of Male Power stands as the seminal Men's Rights text. However, the book's statistics are now outdated. An updated edition is overdue. Unfortunately, 'Does feminism discriminate against men?', written jointly by Warren Farrell and an opponent of his views, James Sterba, is probably the closest we will get. Although Farrell's section of the book is characteristically insightful, both Sterba's section and the book's overall format are flawed.

Although styled 'a debate' in the book's subtitle, the format of this 'debate' is so imbalanced as scarcely to warrant the description. Each author is nominally allotted a roughly equal number of pages to make his case. However, whereas Sterba's portion was written after having read Farrell's contribution in advance, Farrell is denied any opportunity to respond to Sterba.

A rejoinder to Sterba's portion of the book is sorely required. I will attempt to provide this in what remains of this review.

Perceptions of Power

Sterba begins his discussion by pointing out, "exemplars of religious power, physical power, economic power and political power are all normally men" and both sexes view men as more powerful (p135).

However, Farrell never denied the existence of a perception that men are more powerful. What he questions is the accuracy of the perception.

Accordingly, he quotes the aphorism, "women's strength is their façade of weakness and men's weakness is their façade of strength" (p4) and even titled his most famous work 'The Myth of Male Power'. Sterba's misreading of his opponent's thesis thus begins with the title of the latter's best-known work.
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Format: Paperback
This is absolutely the best book I've read for helping men and women better understand each other. To even suggest that feminism discriminates against men is heresy in some circles. If you're willing to leave your prejudged ideas at the door and step into a room of enlightening new thinking, you will find the experience opens your perceptions beyond anything you may have imagined.

In a world where debate is often a nice word for one side trashing the oppposition, you'll find Warren Farrell and James P. Sterba engaging in an unusual dialogue. They offer opposing ideas and they offer them with a great deal of respect for each other as well as the men and women on whose behalf they speak.

Truly the world needs more people who can discuss male/female differences with passion, spirit, integrity, and respect. Farrell and Sterba do a magnificent job. Farrell, in particular offers his ideas in such a unique and persuasive manner that even die-hard femininists can't help but expand their understanding of why men are the way they are.

The title is somewhat misleading and book cover didn't draw me in. There's a lot more to this book than a simple debate about feminism and men. This book is fun to read and offers more surprises per page than most million-seller mysteries.

Jed Diamond, author, Male Menopause & The Irritable Male Syndrome.
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Format: Paperback
As a university lecturer who has taught and written on Equal Opportunities issues, this book is a welcome and overdue addition to the literature on gender relations and sex discrimination.

In this book, one of the foremost liberal thinkers in the men's movement for equality - Warren Farrell - pits his arguments against staunch defenders of feminism. Counter arguments are presented by James Sterba, with input from over a dozen established feminist academics.

The organisation of the book is excellent: both Farrell and Sterba use the same chapter titles to construct their arguments on key topics. This is a useful approach that enables both lecturer and student to study arguments and counter-arguments on a series of contentious issues. The writing style is accessible, and also supported with appropriate academic references.

The value of this book is that for three decades, a men's movement for sexual equality has been gathering and organising arguments for progressive change. In many cases, their arguments are an evolution of, rather than a challenge to, feminist ideas on equality that developed in the 1960s. Despite this, a power shift in the late 1960s radicalised the women's movement and debate shifted (unconsciously?) away from advancing "equal rights" to advancing "women's rights". Those who radicalised the feminist movement have blocked the dissemination of Farrell's work in the mass media (although he has been able to publish six books and develop a strong following for his work).

When I started presenting academic papers using Farrell's perspectives at conferences, it quickly beecame apparent that antipathy to Farrell's work was mostly based on prejudice and not careful reading of his work.
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Format: Paperback
The book is described as a debate. This is not a debate. James Sterba has an overwhelming advantage because he scrutinizes Warren Farrell's claims without allowing Farrell a rebuttal. Nevertheless, Farrell writes in lucid, to-the-point style, while Sterba cherry picks Farrell's arguments for criticism. Sterba is one of those feminists who cannot fathom that there is any legitimate argument against feminist ideals. He is a follower of these ideals, but he seems to ignore reality. He brings to mind the mentality of a cult member: He will go to exhaustive and tedious lengths to disprove anything that contradicts his beliefs, and he seems to believe that society should take any precautions necessary to prevent any one female from any injustice no matter the expense of others and no matter how many males may suffer injustices because of it. Sterba couldn't possibly have a son nor could he possibly know any divorced fathers with vindictive ex-wives.
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