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Standup Guy: Masculinity That Works Hardcover – June 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

The alpha male isn't dead--but he's a dinosaur. With a power base that depends upon his ability to subordinate beta males and women alike and to put his job ahead of his wife and children, the alpha is hopelessly maladapted to our current, more egalitarian world. Michael Segell--who writes about "The Male Mind" for Esquire--takes a look at gender relations in the contentious postfeminist era, when men are caught between the demands of traditional models of male behavior and the ideological minefields they must navigate in order to respond to women's contemporary concerns. Segell's evolutionary model, the book's eponymous Standup Guy, isn't afraid to embrace the aggressive and heroic sides of his masculinity, but fully understands that real intimacy is shared power, a partnership between equals within a male-female relationship.

Some of the paradigms Segell cites may come as a surprise. The Standup Guy isn't spineless, nor is he necessarily liberal. Even the neopatriarchs of the Christian Conservatives' Promise Keepers movement are standup in their heartfelt desire to put their families and their marriages ahead of all else, despite a doctrine that may seem exclusionary and decidedly old-school to some observers. For every disciple of Robert Bly's Iron John beating drums in the backyard, there are plenty of men seeking to redefine themselves simply by listening to the women in their lives. There is, finally, no single right way to become a man. --Patrizia DiLucchio

From Booklist

Segell, who writes the "Male Mind" column in Esquire, explores contemporary expectations and conflicts between men and women. He compares the experiences of his own baby-boom generation with those of generation X. Segell also examines various "new man" movements aimed at dealing with expectations of modern manhood. He particularly cites the Promise Keepers, who Segell believes are undeservedly number one on the feminist enemy list because they seek to return men to the status of family head. Segell contends that there are strong biological, if not evolutionary, forces that make men and women the way they are. And inferentially, despite current enlightened perspectives, the basic natures of men and women remain unchanged. In a chapter on sexual manners, Segell establishes a progressive format of tolerance between the sexes. In the final chapter, he asserts the significance of the father's role in influencing young boys and turns a critical eye to his own troubled relationship with his father. Vernon Ford

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1st edition (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375502270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375502279
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,932,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific book, and Michael Segell is a standup guy for writing it.
Segell goes down several paths to explore what it means to be a man at the end of the twentieth century. He participates in organized men's groups, sifts through his own past, synthesizes the biological research on men's behavior, and listens to women grouse about men behaving badly.
Roaming the men's group circuit, he participates in New Warrior training (and gleans valuable personal insights), attends a Promise Keepers weekend (finding more value than he thought he would), and joins a nude rap session on the male member (emerging bemused at the variety of male sexual preoccupations).
He weaves in his own experiences, from the early death of a beloved older brother to the adreneline surge of mixing it up with an opponent in a pick up hockey game. The story of his relationship with his father is thoughtful and moving, and will resonate with boomers who grew up with the distant, demanding dads of the WWII generation.
Segell has done his homework on the social, psychological and biological findings about how men behave. it's instructive to relate our behaviors as millennial urban males to our genetic wiring as organisms trying to shinny up the evolutionary pole. Anyone who has ever attended a sales meeting, for example, will appreciate the parallels to the grooming and dominance behaviors of male baboons.
He argues that much of what we do as men is designed to make us desirable breeding partners to women, and we adapt in response to what women value. When women are in transition, as they have been during the feminist upheavals of the last thirty years, the result is often confusion and anxiety on the part of males. He is particularly good on the male survival paradox.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If I could I would make this required reading for any single person navigating the choppy waters of dating and mate-searching, as well as for committed couples who want to transcend boundaries and break old habits to reach new levels of connection. Segell has hit all the nails on the head about the dynamics between men and women, and this is unquestionably a must-have handbook for both genders. While it points up astutely what we need, love and wish for in our mates, it also explains why those things often elude us, in fact, may be in direct conflict. But best of all, it offers strategies and bountiful reasons to believe that it's possible for men and women to connect healthily and happily-- physically, pschologically and emotionally. An immensely hopeful, hip, thinking/feeling person's book that points no accusatory fingers, but instead pays homage to the familiar comfort found in old behaviors as it opens our eyes to other functional, fulfilling ways to engage with our partners. Good-natured, intelligent and impressive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bob Honkisz on December 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In the introduction of his book, Segell states that a man's search for his soul mate is well worth the effort. To be successful though, a man has to realize the feminist movement has brought about changes to the rules of the game. These changes in turn have dictated changes in a man's approach to finding his soul mate. A man has to become a "standup guy". He defines a standup guy as: "One who has developed emotional autonomy and independence; his psychological sophistacation not only confers greater personal power, but is an important component of a truly egalitarian relationship; and one with an ability to see the world from the other side especially when it comes to a sexual relationship." While Segell believes these traits are essential to finding a soul mate, there are still characteristics possessed by a man and a woman that are tenets of Nature. His chapter entitled, "What Women Really Want", is pivotal to understanding what's necessary for making a relationship work between a man and a woman in today's world. Being a standup guy is what it's going to take for a man to find fulfillment in a sexual relationship. The payoff in happiness is a tremendous one. A critical component to a successful relationship according to Segell is a man's willingness to assume a greater responsibility in raising a family than a man has in past generations. The chapter entitled, "Daddy's Boys", drives home this message. Not only does assuming this responsibility play a major role in a man's relationship with his wife, but it greatly influences the children's initiation into adulthood especially for boys. Michael Segell is to be congratulated for sharing his voyage of self-discovery with other men. Men in their 20's and 30's should take his advice to heart if they are searching for a soul mate. It isn't easy, but anything worth fighting for never is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If ever you needed evidence of the pernicious influence of feminism on women, this is it. Men are turning off powerful women en masse, and turning them down--in the last minute--in the sack. Nevertheless, the author seems to believe that feminism is with us forever, and he suggests ways in which men can maintain fulfilling relationships with its masculinized victims. Don't miss this book. It's first rate!
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