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The Future of Men: Men on Trial Hardcover – March 1, 2016
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY: In The Future of Men, Myers examines culture, sex, politics, business, and gender in this provocative, well-researched book. He believes "we are in the midst of the greatest societal transformation in the history of humanity: the transformation from male to female dominance." The book traces much current cultural strife to the efforts of men to maintain power in the face of women's advancement. One solution to this impasse? Men need to accept roles that have previously been considered feminine. It will take another generation or two for this shift to be realized, but when it does, Myers writes, both men and women will be the better for it. He predicts that "men won't be the dominant sex in the future, but they won't be subservient either." Myers also reinterprets some familiar statistics, such as the small percentage of female top executives and politicians, in a newly positive light, as showing a trend towards the inevitable female assumption of power. His views will stimulate controversy and conversation. (publishersweekly.com/978-1941758656)
From the Inside Flap
After being told all their lives to "be a man" and "man up," men are now rejecting the macho stereotype and instead developing empathy, getting in touch with their emotions, and becoming more sensitive in their relationships. Women are gaining ground in business, culture, education, relationships and politics as traditional male and female roles disappear.
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I suppose I agree with Myers, in theory. Yes, I can see that women are educating themselves and working their way up in their careers. More women are in positions of power. Women may still not make as much money as men, but they have a presence in the work force like never before. And that changes things.
Unfortunately, though, Myers makes some pretty crazy arguments about who men currently are. In his opinion, "most men today, no matter how enlightened they may believe they are, continue to exhibit and foster the same behavior as men have throughout the ages." What types of behaviors are those, you ask? Oh, well, you know, just the usual, says Myers. Most men today enjoy sexist jokes, and they flirt with young, attractive women. They don't listen or respond to their female bosses. They cheat...like, all the time. Oh, and they have a destructive and "EMBEDDED instinct to lie, contradict, and obfuscate the truth." (Emphasis mine.) How can he possibly make a claim like that? ALL men are liars and cheaters? It's ludicrous. It's reductionistic and insulting, honestly, to the men who have actually made the effort to be caring, empathetic, and family-centered.
Ironically, I think my favorite part of this book was the part NOT written by Myers. At the very end, there is a section called "Stories from a Woman's Heart." It's basically a small collection of essays written by various women sharing their perspectives on "the evolving man." This section is short, but heartfelt. (Yowza, Mary M., you put it all out there, girl. Your essay is powerful.) I especially appreciate Chapter 30, written by Carol, because that chapter FINALLY mentions a topic that I wish had been addressed in the rest of the book: supporting men's families in the workplace. I firmly believe that nothing is going to change if men aren't allowed to, say, take paid paternity leave or take paid time off to care for a sick family member. Shoot, women are barely granted that "luxury." I see family support in the workplace as THE major hurdle to jump if we really want healthy men and healthy families.
At any rate, this book was a pretty major disappointment. I think Myers is on to something: men's place in American society IS changing. But, unfortunately, his explanation as to why and how really misses the mark.