Dr. Warren FarrellThe Myth of Male Power

The Myth of Male Power

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Selected Quotes from Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power

Chapter 1

”In post offices throughout the United States, Selective Service posters [reading "A Man's Gotta Do What A Man's Gotta Do] remind men that only they must register for the draft. If the Post Office had a poster saying "A Jew's Gotta Do What A Jew's Gotta Do..." or if "A Woman's Gotta Do..." were written across the body of a pregnant woman..." 28

"ITEM: The Mike Tyson trial. The hotel in which the jury is sequestered goes ablaze. Two firefighters die saving its occupants.

The trial of Mike Tyson made us increasingly aware of men-as-rapists. The firefighters' deaths did not make us increasingly aware of men-as-saviors. We were more aware of one man doing harm than of two men saving..." 36

"It would be hard to find a single example in history in which a group that cast more than 50 percent of the vote got away with calling itself the victim... Women are the only "oppressed" group to share the same parents as the "oppressor"; to be born into the middle class and upper class as frequently as the "oppressor"; to own more of the culture's luxury items than the "oppressor"..." 40

"The weakness of men is the facade of strength; the strength of women is the facade of weakness."

"There are many ways in which a woman experiences a greater sense of powerlessness than her male counterpart: the fears of pregnancy, aging, rape, date rape, and being physically overpowered; less socialization to take a career that pays enough to support a husband and children[...] Fortunately, almost all industrialized nations have acknowledged these female experiences. Unfortunately, they have acknowledged only the female experience." p. 28

"If power means having control over one's own life, then perhaps there is no better ranking of the impact of sex roles and racism on power over our own lives than life expectancy." p.30

Chapter 2

"In Stage I, divorces were not allowed, so men's [sexual] affairs did not put women's economic security in jeopardy; in Stage II, affairs could lead to divorce, so men's affairs did place women's economic security in jeopardy. We did not want political leaders who would be role models for behavior that would put women's economic security in jeopardy." 63

"In brief, our genetic heritage is at odds with our genetic future. For the first time in human history, the qualities it takes to survive as a species are compatible with the qualities it takes to love." 65

"For thousands of years, most marriages were in Stage I--survival-focused. After World War II, marriages increasingly flirted with Stage II--a self-fulfillment focus... Love's definition is in a transition." 42

"Women's liberation and the male midlife crisis were the same search--for personal fulfillment, common values, mutual respect, love. But while women's liberation was thought of as promoting identity, the male midlife crisis was thought of as an identity crisis." 44

“During the years I was on the board of directors of the National Organization for Women [chapter] in New York City, the most resistant audiences I ever faced in the process of doing corporate workshops on equality in the workplace were not male executives—they were the wives of male executives. As long as her income came from her husband, she was not feeling generous when affirmative action let another woman have a head start vying for her husband’s (her) income.” 46

Chapter 3

"Women's scars and rituals involved beauty (piercing ears and noses, binding feet, and wearing corsets); men's involved protecting women. In cultures in which physical strength is still the best way to protect women, as among the Dodos in Uganda, each time a man kills a man, he is awarded a ritual scar; the more scars, the more he is considered eligible." 72

"Today, violence against women is rightly abhorred. But we call violence against men entertainment. Think of football, boxing, wrestling... All are games used to sugarcoat violence against men, originally in need of sugarcoating so "our team"--or "our society"--could bribe its best protectors to sacrifice themselves." 75

"Imagine how we would feel if I began this section saying, "Today, violence against women is rightly applauded." We would know I favored the death of women; when we applaud for violence against men, we favor the death of men. We do it because we have learned that the more effectively we prepare men to sacrifice themselves, the more we are protected." 76

“Men often become nonviolent in societies that (1) have adequate amounts of food, (2) have adequate amounts of water, and (3) perceive themselves as isolated from attack. For example, the Tahitian men, the Minoan men on Crete, and the Central Malaysian Semai were nonviolent during the period in their history when all three of these conditions prevailed.” 77

“It is often said that women are a civilizing balance to the innately warlike male. By taking care of the killing for women it could be said that men civilized women. When survival was the issue, men killing to protect what women bore was the male form of nurturance.” 79

“How, then, can patriarchy be defined? Perhaps it can best be defined as the male area of dominance, responsibility, and subservience in a culture, reinforced by both sexes for the purpose of serving both sexes’ survival needs.

How can matriarchy be defined? As the female area of dominance, responsibility, and subservience in a culture, reinforced by both sexes for the purpose of serving both sexes’ survival needs.” 98

Chapter 4

“Every day, almost as many men are killed at work as were killed during the average day in Vietnam. For men, there are, in essence, three male-only drafts: the draft of men to all the wars; the draft of Everyman to unpaid bodyguard; the draft of men to all the hazardous jobs—or ‘death professions.’” 105

“No movement calls [migrant workers] oppressed for providing money for women from whom they are receiving neither cooking nor cleaning; for providing their wives with homes while they sleep on the ground.” 111

“When mining… and other death professions are discussed in feminist publications, they are portrayed as examples of the male power system, as “male-only clubs.” However, when Ms. Magazine profiled female miners, the emphasis was on how the woman was ‘forced’ to take a job in the mines because it paid the best, and how taking such a job was the only way she could support her family.” 116

“Letting men die is a money-saving device. Safety costs money… as one safety official put it, ‘When everything is hurry, hurry, hurry, when you start pressuring people and taking shortcuts, things can go wrong. And then people die.’ No. And then men die.” 119

“Women do not enter a profession in significant numbers until it is physically safe. So until we care enough about men’s safety to turn the death professions into safe professions, we in effect discriminate against women. But when we overprotect women—and only women—it also leads to discrimination against women. …If [an employer works] for a large company for which quotas prevent discrimination, they find themselves increasingly hiring free-lancers rather than taking on a woman and therefore a possible sexual harassment lawsuit…” 121

Chapter 5

“The more chauvinist the country, the more it protects women. And therefore the more it limits women. Like the United States, [Italy, Spain, and Denmark] give women options without obligations. These countries are, therefore, still male chauvinist… The degree to which a country is emancipated is the degree to which it frees men from the obligation to protect women and socializes women to equally protect men.” 136

“Who causes war? War is caused by our primal fear of not surviving. This is a two-sex fear. And because the fear is so primal, we are easily seduced into exaggerating the evil intent of anyone [who] might threaten our survival. Why? One mistake of underestimating a threat could leave everyone wiped out; many mistakes of overestimating would just leave men wiped out.” 142

“Parade magazine announces that 40 million Soviet men were killed between 1914 and 1945. The magazine’s headline reads ‘Short End of the Stick’. Because men died? No. The women were seen as getting the short end of the stick because they were stuck with factory and street-cleaner positions the men weren’t around to do.” 145

“Men are likely to be not only the warriors of war but also the warriors of peace. Almost all those who risk their lives, are put in jail, or are killed for peace are men. While some of the peace warriors—Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Dag Hammarskjold—are remembered, most are forgotten. Remember Norm Morrison?

After years of protesting the Vietnam war, Norm doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire on the steps of the Pentagon[…] But Norm Morrison is forgotten.” 153

“By the 1970s, the American woman was being called ‘liberated’ or ‘superwoman’ while the American man was being called ‘baby killer’ if he fought in Vietnam, ‘traitor’ if he protested, or ‘apathetic’ if he did neither. Even men who came home paraplegics were literally spit on.” 155

Chapter 6

“What makes a teenage boy’s anxiety so overwhelming is that a teenage boy’s socialization is the demand to perform without the resources to perform. As a result, not only are his risks many, but his failures many. And so apparent… Second, the biggest winners—the football players—are receiving love via self-abuse. For some boys, receiving love via self-abuse creates anxiety. But losing love creates even more anxiety.” 167

“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. At age 30, when men can bury themselves in their jobs and are physically and financially attractive to women, the loss of the one woman a man loves is so devastating it is often not softened even by the opportunities for many women… in brief, it is the loss of love that devastates men.” 169

“[T]he men who are successful have become the most dependent on success to attract love. When this man loses his success, he often fears he will lose love.” 172

“The reporting of depression is often associated with the dependency of women on men. But it is dependency on men successful enough to allow a woman the time to think about more than survival. Which is why, when we think about women who report depression, we think of middle-class women, not working-class women. The working-class woman is too worried about survival to report depression. Depression is a diagnosis that tends to increase among those with the luxury of worrying about something other than survival. The more a person is in Stage II, the more that person can afford to focus on depression.” 177

“When a man is forced into early retirement, he is often being ‘given up for a younger man.’ Being forced into early retirement can be to a man what being ‘given up for a younger woman’ is for a woman… Why do many men get more upset by retirement than women do from the “empty nest”—when their children leave home? When females retire from children, they can try a career; when a man retires from a career, his children are gone.” 174

Chapter 7

“When women and men have approximately equal life expectancies, it seems to be because women die not only in childbirth (fewer than thought) but about equal from… diseases; poor sanitation and water; inadequate healthcare; and diseases of malnutrition. In industrialized societies, early deaths are caused more by diseases triggered by stress, which breaks down the immune system. It is since stress has become the key factor that men have died so much sooner than women.” 182

“The New England Journal of Medicine has recently reported that speaking about one’s faults creates abnormalities in the pulsations of our heart. Tiny abnormalities? No. Abnormalities as great as those produced by riding a stationary bicycle to the point of either exhaustion or chest pain. Perhaps [the criticisms men exchange beginning with adolescence], then, contribute to men being four times more likely than women to suffer heart disease before age fifty. In essence, our sons might be practicing heart-disease training.” 186

“In brief, we do more research on men in prison, men in the military, and men in general than we do on women for the same reason we do more research on rats than we do on humans.” 189

“Although a government study found that men’s health was much worse than women’s health or the health of any minority group, headlines around the country read: ‘Minorities Face Large Health Care Gap.’ They did not say: ‘Men Face Large Health Care Gap.’ Why? Because we associate the sacrifice of men’s lives with the saving of the rest of us, and this association leads us to carry in our unconscious an incentive not to care about men living longer.” 196

“When birth control pills were available in Europe but not in the United States, American women created an uproar about how the unwillingness to make the pill available showed a contempt for the lives of women… When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released birth control pills with high dosages of hormones that were later found to be unnecessarily high, they were attacked for not caring about women enough to do the necessary tests.” 195

Chapter 8.

“Unfortunately, the process of gaining money in [a man’s] life usually meant alienating the wife in his life. Sometimes this leads to a legal divorce, but more often to a psychological divorce. Which is why a survey of doctors’ wives reported in Medical/Mrs. Found the doctors’ wives harboring hostility that was ‘stunning to behold.’ Yet the wives remained married to the doctors. Why? More than anything else, the wives said, they wanted security from marriage… the men, then, were often prostitutes to an illusion of emotional security. At least their wives had the reality of economic security.” 203

“Gay sex meant two hours of sexual pleasure in exchange for two hours of sexual pleasure. Heterosexual sex meant two hours of sexual pleasure in exchange for a lifetime of responsibility. Heterosexuality was a bad deal! The fear behind homophobia was that no one would be providing for the next generation. Everybody would be having fun. Thus “fun” became a sign of immaturity; “hedonism” in many forms became illegal.” 208

“Why do we resist giving help to homeless men? In part because we don’t understand how our pressure on men to support families often forces men to take transient jobs that are but a step away from homelessness (the death-of-a-salesman jobs, the migrant worker jobs…) and in part because we respond differently to men who fail [than women who fail].” 209

“Men’s immediate path from the Insanity Track to the Sanity Track is in demanding that both sexes have the freedom to strike a balance between homeplace and workplace. Men must expect their wives to financially support them to be fathers as much as they now financially support their wives to be mothers. Women must have our approval to marry the warrior of love rather than the warrior of money.” 212

“As females enter the workplace, will our tendency to protect women create rules that will also protect men? Yes and no. Yes, when, for example, the new concern for doctors working fewer than eighty hours per week also affects men. No, when working-class jobs get divided into the males taking the hazardous jobs… and women taking safer jobs. And in professional careers, if males take irregular hours and specialties such as surgery, while females take regular hours and specialties like psychiatry, then we will only reinforce the female-protected class and the male-disposable class.” 213

Chapter 9.

“When we hear men are the greater victims of crime, we tend to say, ‘Well, it’s men hurting other men.’ When we hear that blacks are the greater victims, we consider it racist to say, ‘Well, it’s blacks hurting blacks.’ The victim is a victim no matter who the perpetrator was.” 215

“Crime, especially crime involving money, reflects the gap between the expectation to provide and the ability to provide… If we really want men to commit crime as infrequently as women, we can start by not expecting men to provide for women more than we expect women to provide for men.” 215-216

“Were we to still be circumcising the hood of the female clitoris, we would not have difficulty considering this a continuation of our tradition to keep girls sexually repressed. America’s reflexive continuation of [male] circumcision-without-research reflects the continuation of our tradition to desensitize boys to feelings of pain, to prepare them to question the disposability of their bodies no more than they would question the disposability of their foreskins.” 223

“Women-in-jeopardy movies are, in essence, the updated versions of men dying to save the princess from the dragon to earn her love. They are modern-day training films for teaching women to select the best protectors while weeding out the rest. And then we call the woman ‘victim’ and the man ‘powerful.’” 226

Chapter 10.

“I am often asked why men don’t get as worked up as they might about women—particularly poor women—having to use their bodies as prostitutes. Because most men unconsciously experience themselves as prostitutes every day—the miner, the firefighter, the construction worker, the logger, the soldier, the meatpacker—these men are prostitutes in the direct sense: they sacrifice their bodies for money and for their families.” 233

Chapter 11.

“A man convicted of murder is twenty times more likely than a woman convicted of murder to receive the death penalty... Since the 1976 reinstatement of the death penalty, 120 men—and only 1 woman—have actually been executed. The woman, from North Carolina, said she preferred to be executed… In North Carolina, a man who commits second-degree murder receives a sentence on average of 12.6 years longer than a woman who commits second-degree murder.” 240

“In the case of a man and a woman [accused of commiting a crime together], both will often agree to the man taking the rap—despite the man being more likely to receive a longer sentence and more likely to be raped in prison. If blacks were agreeing to do that for whites, the black community would be smart enough to call that ‘learned subservience.’” 243

“Since 1954, then, approximately 70,000 women have murdered; their victims include about 60,000 men, but, as we saw in the second Item of this chapter, not one woman has been executed after killing only a man.

For nearly four decades now, we have become increasingly protective of women and decreasingly protective of men—even if that boy is a legal minor, as was Heath Wilkins.” 244

Chapter 12.

“Neither men nor women are exempt from killing loved ones. The difference is in what happens to them when they do. Twelve distinct female-only defenses allow a woman who commits a premeditated murder to have the charges dropped or significantly reduced. No man has successfully used any of these defenses in similar circumstances.” 254

“[This is] the basis of the “Innocent Woman Defense”—the “Innocent Woman Principle”: Women are believed when they say they are innocent of violence and most easily doubted when they say they are guilty of violence.” 255

Farrell’s other eleven defenses are “The PMS Defense”; “The Husband Defense” (Warren, I don’t quite know how to summarize this one—not sure I get it); “The ‘Battered Woman Syndrome’ Defense, aka Learned Helplessness; “‘The Depressed Mother’ Defense”; “The ‘Mothers Don’t Kill’ Defense”; “The ‘Children Need Their Mother’ Defense”; “The ‘Blame-The-Father, Understand-The-Mother’ Defense”; “The ‘My Child, My Right To Abuse It’ Defense”; “The Plea Bargain Defense”; “The Svengali Defense”; and “The Contract Killing Defense.”

“Veterans of every war suffer Battered Man Syndrome in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder. The emotional consequences are also with them for years. But if a sufferer killed Admiral Zumwalt for ordering the spraying of Agent Orange, he would be convicted for murder. Men who suffer Battered Man Syndrome are not allowed to attack their abuser and call it self-defense.” 264

Chapter 13.

“[A man’s actions] are illegal if a woman decides [it creates a hostile environment], and if a man committed the ‘offense’… Who defines ‘hostile environment’? The woman. Not even the man’s intent makes a legal difference. In all other criminal behavior, intent makes all the difference. Even in homicide. Sexual harassment legislation in its present form makes all man unequal to all women. It is in blatant violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection without regard of sex. Thus the political will to protect only women prevails over the constitutional mandate to protect both sexes equally.” 288

“In a sense, sexual harassment lawsuits are just the latest version of the female selection process—allowing her to select for men who care enough for her to put their career at risk; who have enough finesse to initiate without becoming a jerk and enough guts to initiate despite a potential lawsuit… In the past, though, the process of his overcoming her barriers was called ‘courtship.’ Now it is called either ‘courtship’ or ‘sexual harassment’.” 291

“When a man is attracted to a woman, being expected to take the sexual initiative does not increase his power, it increases his paralysis. The possibility of a lawsuit just intensifies the paralysis. Ironically, the more dangerous the waters, the more [telling dirty jokes] serves as a way of testing the waters: if she laughs, maybe she’s interested; if she looks disgusted, maybe she’s not. He would feel much more powerful if she took responsibility for testing the waters.” 294

“[T]here are really seven different [kinds of] sexual interactions occurring in the workplace… Sexual blackmail. A boss threatens to fire an employee unless she or he is sexual… Sexual bribery. An executive promises a promotion in exchange for sex. This can be explicit or implicit… Workplace prostitution. An employee is sexual in exchange for a promotion; a salesperson is sexual to win a sale. The sex can be given or just promised… Workplace incest. Consensual sex among employees. The workplace, like the family, has lines of authority which sexual bonding tends to blur… Sexual harassment. Repeated sexual advances at work after an employee has said ‘no’… Workplace flirtation. Suggestive dress, flirtations eye contact, a combination of touching and eye signals… Workplace porn. Pinups, lewd jokes, and sexual innuendos made in groups…” 297-9

“Early feminists sensed this: they were strong opponents of protective legislation. They knew that as long as the princess was protected from the pea, women would be deprived of equality. The modern-day woman’s ‘pea under the mattress’ is the rough spots in the workplace. When today’s feminists are proponents of protective legislation, they oppose equality. Sexual harassment legislation is sexist because it makes only the man responsible for the male role in the sexual dance.” 307

Chapter 14

“Myth. Rape is a manifestation of male political and economic power.

Fact. Any given black man is three times as likely to be reported a rapist as a white man.

Do blacks suddenly have more political and economic power? Maybe rape does not derive from power, but rather from powerlessness.” 310

“The truth is that both sexes participate in unwanted sexual activity. A feminist who was brave enough to ask these broad-based questions of both sexes astonished herself to discover that 94 percent of the men (as well as 98 percent of the women) said they had an unwanted sexual activity by the time they were in college. Even more surprising was her finding, reported in the Journal of Sex Research, that 63 percent of the men and 46 percent of the women said they had experienced unwanted intercourse. By feminist definitions of rape as unwanted sex, virtually everybody has been raped. And that’s how rape begins to look like an epidemic. It’s also how rape gets trivialized.” 317

“As long as society tells men to be the salespersons of sex, it is sexist for society to put only men in jail if they sell well. We don’t put other salespersons in jail for buying clients drinks and successfully transforming a “no” into a “maybe” into a “yes”. If the client makes a choice to drink too much and the “yes” turns out to be a bad decision, it is the client who gets fired, not the salesperson. We expect adults to take responsibility.” 321

“Most rapes of men occur in prison. But even outside of prison, about 9 percent of reported rapes are against men (probably mostly by men, but no one knows for sure). Even rape outside of prison, then, is about as significant an issue for men as AIDS is for women—about 10 percent of the people dying of AIDS are women. Do we hear more about men being raped or about women getting AIDS?” 335

“And if we choose to retain laws against date rape, then a false accusation of rape must subject the accuser to the same imprisonment a convicted rapist would receive. In China false accusations of any crime are rare—if the accusation proves false, the accuser receives the punishment.” 339

Chapter 15

“The Government as Substitute Husband did for women what labor unions still have not accomplished for men. And men pay dues for labor unions; the taxpayer pays the dues for feminism. Feminism and government soon become taxpayer-supported women’s unions.” 344

“We have restricted humans from giving ‘free’ food to bears and dolphins because we know that such feeding would make them dependent and lead to their extinction. But when it comes to our own species, we have difficulty seeing the connection between short-term kindness and long-term cruelty; we give women money to have more children, making them more dependent with each child and discouraging them from developing the tools to fend for themselves. The real discrimination against women, then, is ‘free feeding’.” 346

“By giving women training to sue a company for a ‘hostile environment’ if someone tells a dirty joke, we are training women to run to the Government as Substitute Husband (or Father). This gets companies to fear women, but not to respect women. The best preparation we can give women to succeed in the workplace is the preparation to overcome barriers rather than to sue: successful people don’t sue, they succeed.” 351


“Ideally there should not be a men’s movement but a gender transition movement; only the power of the women’s movement necessitates the temporary corrective of a men’s movement. And this creates a special challenge for men: There are few political movements filled with healthy people, yet few healthy changes have occurred without political movements.” 356

“With men, we blame the victim. We blame men because we have camouflaged men’s victimization by teaching men to also be the victimizer. Men’s victimizer status camouflages men’s victim status.” 357

“[H]umans tend to start the process of change by acknowledging themselves—thus blacks asserted black pride and black is beautiful; women declared “I am woman, I am strong”; men are saying “I am man, I am okay.” After a quarter of a century of male bashing, that’s not a bad start.” 361
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