The reviewer for Kirkus - the most consistently negative and usually first review medium which is unfairly featured in internet services such as this one - responds to my book with allergies not argument. The reviewer begins with the revealingly ideological and pointlessly charmless assertion that I am a 'mad social scientist' because I introduced the term 'male bonding' which has in fact proved to be a durable part of the language because it describes a real phenomenon about real people. The review ignores the central concern of my book: why was the availability of good female controlled contraception in the 60's counterintuitively followed from the 70's onward by: an unprecedented spike in births to single mothers - now about a third in industrial societies. The reviewer does not consider the impact of a number of significant facts such as the political gender gap, that female income overall is growing and male [income] declining male income declining, and rather spectacularly that women are now 55% of all college and university students in America.
This of course
portends very significant future changes in the hierarchies of work,
government, public service and the like. For the past 40 years or so
a kind of male original sin as I describe it in The Decline Of
Males has turned many descriptions of men into harsh criticism. I
cite a New York Times interview with novelist Marilyn French who says
Men would have much better lives in they were more like women.
Imagine if she said catholics would have more fun were they more like
muslims or something similar.
Public disapproval of males and maleness has confused and troubled
men but they have neither wholly understood the situation nor been
able to create organizations to deal with their concerns. Unlike the
National Organization for Women, the Promise Keepers (for one
example) closed down last year for lack of finances.
In any event, there are major social and sexual changes underway
which will inevitably affect people today and parents of both girls
and boys who puzzle about the world in which their children will have
to fit. My book is an effort to capture these changes and understand
them with the depth and compassion they deserve.
I hope this suits your format. Use your judgement about whether or
not you want to add the comment about the anonymous nature of the
Kirkus review as a kind of separate comment.
Why does B&N insist on misleading potential readers by printing a bitterly unfair ANONYMOUS review from the unreliable Kirkus service...
Also recommended: Richard Posner, Sex and Reason; Edward O Wilson, Consilience; Kristen Luker, Taking Chances;David Popenoe, Life Without Father; C. Sommers, Who Stole Feminism?
The mad social scientist of biological reductionism is up to his old tricks again. Tiger, the anthropologist who 30 years ago brought us the notion of "male bonding'' (in Men in Groups, 1969) returns once again to a biological argument to explain the "declining'' influence of men in modern society. Tiger's theoretical premise is egregiously essentialist to those with a background in cultural theory (he likens these social scientists to Christian Scientists in relation to medicine)-we must "understand basic human nature'' before we can talk about economic, political, psychiatric, or feminist theories. In this particular instance, he wishes to relate the declining role of men in society to the advent of birth control, which puts reproductive power in the hands of women. His argument is stringently antifeminist-he calls feminism "female-ism'' and implies that we are caught up in the midst of a shift from male production to female reproduction. The basic implication is that if women stayed home and had babies, they would maintain the support and comfort of their husbands, they would continue to vote in the same manner as their husbands, and men and women would be less at polar extremes in the productive marketplace. Men are seen as cut out of the reproductive agreement due to the rise of hidden contraception, and thus they are rendered redundant and out of control. Tiger actually praises "welfare queens,'' whom he sees as rising up and revolting by staying home and out of the economy-to raise their children (conveniently ignoring the messy social, historical, and economic ramifications involved). One of the more annoying aspects of Tiger's style is that he constantly employs cultural examples in an attempt to support his biological arguments-he goes as far as employing the religious story of Jesus' birth to explain the biological "foundations of human emotionality.'' If you didn't buy the notion that male patterns of behavior are imprinted on a genetic level, then you probably won't buy this one either. .