Book, Film, & TV Reviews

Guides to help us during the revolution in gender roles

Summary: We are living in revolution of gender roles, one of history’s strangest long wars. Here are some books to guide us through a world where fundamental rules of life change, then change again. We can get through this if we pool our insights and knowledge.

This family isn’t our future, although we might have the flying car:

The Jetsons: a 1950s family of the future.

The Jetsons: a 1950s family of the future.

Books should be our first stop on our journey to see the future. They can help clear away the underbrush of falsehoods about our situation. They can explain the inescapable biological basis of gender in humanity. They can show us the mind-blowing range of sexual practices and family structures in world history (however strange the future, there are always precedents). They can point us to literature, where artists explore both the reality and dreams about our lives. Here are my recommendations, places to start amongst the vast body of work about this most interesting of subjects.

Recommendations to help you understand our world

  1. The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex.
  2. The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature.
  3. Love and Friendship.
  4. Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty.
  5. Sex in History.
  6. Pink Samurai: Love, Marriage and Sex in Contemporary Japan.

(1) The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex

By Warren Farrell (1993) — So many of the assumptions of feminists are factually incorrect. Farrell gives us a list. You might not agree with every one, but this point is incontrovertible.  Summary from Publishers Weekl

“Readers of this significant study will find that they haven’t lost the ability to cry after all. While some feminists may assert that it is an attack on women, the book attempts to show areas in which males operate at a disadvantage without claiming that women are responsible for their plight. Psychologist Farrell stresses economics, pointing out that the 25 worst types of jobs, involving the highest physical risk, are almost all filled by men. He also considers warfare, in which virtually all of the military casualties are men; the justice system, where sentences for males are customarily heavier; and sexual harassment, which has become a one-way street. He concludes with helpful advice on “resocializing” the male child, adolescent and adult.”

The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex. is available at Amazon.

(2) The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

By Matt Ridley (1993) — despite all our ever-growing technological power, we are anchored to our humanity by a billion years of evolution. Ridley doesn’t ask what happens when we can tinker with the biological essentials of our design.  Summary from the publisher…

“Referring to Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen from Through the Looking-Glass, a character who has to keep running to stay in the same place, Matt Ridley demonstrates why sex is humanity’s best strategy for outwitting its constantly mutating internal predators. The Red Queen answers dozens of other riddles of human nature and culture — including why men propose marriage, the method behind our maddening notions of beauty, and the disquieting fact that a woman is more likely to conceive a child by an adulterous lover than by her husband. Brilliantly written, The Red Queen offers an extraordinary new way of interpreting the human condition and how it has evolved.”

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature. is available at Amazon.

(3) Love and Friendship

By Allan Bloom (1993) — Bloom surveys one aspect of our social evolution, one only partially driven by technology. This might prove as influential in shaping our future as any tech, but is far more under our control if we choose to exercise our will. Summary from the publisher …

“Written with the erudition and wit that made Closing of the American Mind a #1 best-seller, Love and Friendship is a searching examination of the basic human connections at the center of the greatest works of literature and philosophy throughout the ages. In a spirited polemic directed at our contemporary culture, Allan Bloom argues that we live in a world where love and friendship are withering away.

“Science and moralism have reduced eros to sex. Individualism and egalitarianism have turned romantic relationships into contractual matters to be litigated. Survey research has made every variety of sexual behavior seem normal, and thus boring. In sex education classes, children learn how to use condoms, but not how to deal with the hopes and risks of intimacy. We no longer know how to talk and think about the peril and promise of attraction and fidelity.

“What has been lost is what separates human beings from beasts – the power of the imagination, which can transform sex into eros. Our impoverished feelings are rooted in our impoverished language of love. To recover the danger, the strength, and the beauty of eros, we must study the great literature of love, in the hope of rekindling the imagination of beauty and virtue that fuels eros. We must love to learn, in order to learn to love again.

“Like The Closing of the American Mind, this is an exhilarating journey of ideas in search of the truths that great writers and philosophers have offered about our most precious and perilous longings. Love and Friendship dissects Rousseau’s invention of Romantic love, meant to provide a new basis for human connection, amid the atomism of bourgeois society, and exposes the reasons for its ultimate failure. Bloom tells of the Romantics’ idea of the sublime and Freud’s theory of sublimation. He takes us into the universe of Shakespeare’s plays, where love is a natural phenomenon that gives rise to both the brightest hopes and the bitterest conflicts and disappointments. Finally, Bloom offers a fresh reading of the greatest work on eros, Plato’s Symposium.

“A profound analysis of the literature of eros from the Bible to Freud, Love and Friendship is a powerful book that will inspire as well as outrage, amuse as well as illuminate. The culmination of a lifetime spent thinking and writing about the most fundamental questions facing human beings, it will change forever how we think about our most personal relationships and our most intimate dreams and desires.”

Love and Friendship. is available at Amazon.

(4) Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty

By Nancy Etcoff (1999) — So much of our mating behavior is hard-wired, perhaps reflecting a lack of confidence in our judgement by God (or Nature’s God, or as a result of painful trial-and-error). Etcoff surveys what we know of this often disturbing and very politically incorrect subject.  Summary from the publisher …

“In this provocative, witty, and thoroughly researched inquiry into what we find beautiful and why, Nancy Etcoff skewers one of our culture’s most enduring myths, that the pursuit of beauty is a learned behavior. Etcoff, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a practicing psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, skewers the enduring myth that the pursuit of beauty is a learned behavior.

“Etcoff puts forth that beauty is neither a cultural construction, an invention of the fashion industry, nor a backlash against feminism, but instead is in our biology. It’s an essential and ineradicable part of human nature that is revered and ferociously pursued in nearly every civilization — and for good reason. Those features to which we are most attracted are often signals of fertility and fecundity. When seen in the context of a Darwinian struggle for survival, our sometimes extreme attempts to attain beauty — both to become beautiful ourselves and to acquire an attractive partner — become understandable. Moreover, if we come to understand how the desire for beauty is innate, then we can begin to work in our interests, and not solely for the interests of our genetic tendencies.”

Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty. is available at Amazon.

(5) Sex in History

By Reay Tannahill (1980) — Aliens have walked the Earth, the people of the past. It’s important to understand the variation of social structures and individual behavior even before modern technology in order to imagine what might lie ahead. Summary from the publisher …

“Sex In History chronicles the pleasures — and perils — of the flesh from the time of mankind’s distant ancestors to the modern day; from a sexual act which was brief, crude and purposeful, to the myriad varieties of contemporary sexual mores. Reay Tannahill’s scholarly, yet accessible study ranges from the earliest form of contraception (one Egyptian concoction included crocodile dung) to some latter-day misconceptions about it — like the men who joined their lovers in taking the pill ‘just to be on the safe side.’

“It surveys all manner of sexual practice, preference and position (the acrobatic ‘wheelbarrow’ position, the strenuous ‘hovering butterflies’ position…) and draws on sources as diverse as “The Admirable Discourses of the Plain Girl”, The Exhibition of Female Flagellants, Important Matters of the Jade Chamber, and The Romance of Chastisement; or, Revelations of the School and Bedroom. Whether writing on androgyny, courtly love, flagellation or zoophilia, Turkish eunuch’s Greek dildoes, Taoist sex manuals or Japanese geisha girls, Reay Tannahill is consistently enlightening and entertaining.”

Sex in History. is available at Amazon.

(6) Pink Samurai: The Pursuit and Politics of Sex in Japan

By Nicholas Bornoff (1991) — We have people on our world as alien as the creatures that populate the Star Trek universe. They are our neighbors on this world. Bornoff looks at Japan, so similar to us yet quite different. Summary from Literary Journal …

“This graphic treatment of the evolution of the mizu shobai — that much talked-about world of sexual freedom that exists in Japan — follows the “foreigner investigates” style of writing. Giving less space to love and marriage than to sex in its many guises, Bornoff seeks to guide the reader from a series of tatemae (if it looks good it is good) vignettes to the honne (real) sexual soul of the Japanese people.

“Although most of the modern references to the goings-on in Tokyo and elsewhere ring true, the inclusion of an analytical summary after 470+ pages of description seems like an afterthought and leaves one wondering if the writer was more interested in titillating storytelling than in highlighting the maturity of the Japanese. The book redeems itself somewhat in pointing out truly destructive trends that show the currents of change in Japanese popular culture.”

Pink Samurai: The Pursuit and Politics of Sex in Japan is available at Amazon.

For More Information.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women and gender issues. Of special interest are these about marriage and gender role:

  1. What’s the future of the family in America? How will that change our government?
  2. Do we want to bring back traditional marriage? What is traditional marriage?
  3. The feminist revolutionaries have won. Insurgents have arisen to challenge the new order. As always, they’re outlaws.
  4. “Mockingjay” shows us a Revolution in Gender Roles. What’s the next revolution?
  5. The war of the sexes heats up: society changes as men learn the Dark Triad.
  6. The revolution in gender roles reshapes society in ways too disturbing to see.
  7. A look ahead at the New America, after the gender wars.

 

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3 replies »

  1. I am afraid all of those scenarios are dreams. Unlike our current genetics models and for some reason, our very incorrect definition of average stress that only sees stress as something we are presently undergoing, our individual environments and differential treatment are greatly affecting our lives for men and women. As for average stress, this is the kicker.

    I see boy and girl infants as very equal at birth but then greatly affected by much differential treatment from infancy and increased over time. Our average stress is made up of many layers of mental work our minds are dealing with from past, present, future experiences, needs, problems, fears, many areas of mental work that take up real mental energy leaving less mental energy to think, learn, and grow mentally and emotionally. The more harsh treatment given Males and increased along with much less kind, caring, verbal interaction and support is creating higher average stress that really hurts learning, reading/writing, higher muscle tension that hurts writing motivation, and more activity for stress relief.

    Males are also given love/honor only on condition of some achievement and receive more ridicule more harsh treatment for failure. So any Male not succeeding will not be honored but receive more harsh treatment. Note, as Males begin to fall behind as a group, this then offers the mass media a free hand at more harshness and derision of Males. I feel this more harsh treatment was by design to keep Male esteem and feelings of self-worth very low, so they would keep trying hard, even giving their lives for ounces of love and honor. This I fear will lead Males to look for any area outside the legal areas of society to maintain their feelings of self-worth.

    This is already taking place and is growing. This is combining to create boys who are unable to pass the grade at school, creating more discipline and ridicule from parents, teachers, even girls. I feel as Males begin to fall behind collectively many more Males, even successful Males will begin to feel the effects of much gross stereotyping and hatred for Males as an accepted policy from society and the media.

    I feel this will in turn, begin to drain the already low feelings of self-worth of Males to the point where they will begin to rebel in many very horrible ways even fatalistically to both end their psychological suffering and also in an attempt to reclaim some lost feelings of self-worth from individuals, groups, and society. We must remove our current, false genetic models and also show how average stress and differential treatment do greatly affect the mental emotional, social, academic growth of individuals and groups such as men.

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  2. On Valentine’s Day, images of couples are everywhere. They’re buying each other diamond rings, making eyes over expensive restaurant meals and canoodling over chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne. But two-by-two isn’t the only way to go through life. In fact, an estimated 4 to 5 percent of Americans are looking outside their relationship for love and sex — with their partner’s full permission.

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