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Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man Paperback – September 19, 2000
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Susan Faludi, author of the feminist bestseller Backlash, has done it again with an exhaustive report on the betrayals felt by working men throughout the United States. American men are angry and discontented, she argues in Stiffed, because their sense of what it is to be a man has been destroyed by everything from corporate downsizing and the shrinking military of the post cold war era to the increase in local sports teams leaving town. Whether she's interviewing the teenage male members of Southern California's infamous Spur Posse (who collected "points" for every female they had sex with), Cleveland football fans shaken by the departure of the Browns football team, militia movement activists, or Sylvester Stallone, Faludi seems stuck on the idea that American men today are man-boys, unable to completely grow up because they never received the nurturing they needed, and now constantly disappointed by life. Yet while many of the men Faludi interviews have real problems--bad luck and sad, troubled lives--somehow Stiffed still seems a bit whiny. Faludi's "travels through a postwar male realm" are a fascinating slice of male American life "under siege" at the end of the 20th century, even if she does finally leave us like the men she talked to--still wondering just what went wrong. --Linda Killian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
While it offers nothing like the eloquent argument she made in Backlash, Faludi's examination of what she dubs the "masculinity crisis" does present a series of thoughtful interviews and fly-on-the wall journalistic excursions into the company of men. Faludi finds that American men are looking for metaphorical Viagra to cure an impotence beyond the literal kind. And sometimes, she argues, they are looking in the wrong places, becoming the proverbial "angry white males." Laid-off aerospace and naval shipyard workers, magazine editors and football fans, patriots and Promise Keepers are struggling to define manhood. Faludi aims wide in targeting the sources of the masculine malaise, citing everything from "the remote-control methods of a military-industrial economy" to "the feminization of an onrushing celebrity culture." Boomers and postboomers, deprived of the heroic status of their WWII veteran dads and having had their sense of virtue eroded by the chastisements of feminism, are trying to find "a route to manhood through the looking glass." As Faludi exhaustively documents the struggles of incredible shrinking men with the "post-cold-war restructuring of the economy," she suggests that the core of the problem is that men have lost "a useful role in public life, a way of earning a decent and reliable living, appreciation in the home, respectful treatment in the culture." Faludi concludes by exhorting men to stop thinking of masculinity as a quality detached from their humanity: "their task is not, in the end, to figure out how to be masculineArather, their masculinity lies in figuring out how to be human." This admonitionAbe a mensch!Ais a sensible way to close a book that proceeds less by well-shaped argument than by the accumulation of anecdotes and Faludi's intelligent, interpretive forays into the lives of men. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Just as I would wish the men in our lives would read her book "Backlash", it is equally important for us women to read "Stiffed".
Faludi's writing style is thorough and well documented. Her notes at the end of her books are incredibly helpful.
Like _Backlash_, _Stiffed_ says a lot of things that people don't want to hear. Unlike _Backlash_, the more recent book isn't afraid to put the blame on consumer culture. That fact is missed by virtually every negative reviewer -- yet having actually read the book, I find it hard to understand how. Reading _Backlash_ was sometimes maddening for her refusal (and it did smack of refusal) to name a culprit; that weakness is gone in _Stiffed_.
Yet still these negative reviews, most of them dismissive ("the most overrated journalist of the '90s...") in character, without any substantive criticism, proliferate. There's something here that people are afraid to hear. That makes it important for thinking people to read.