- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
One of the most talked-about books of last year, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Backlash now explores the collapse of traditional masculinity that has left men feeling betrayed. With Backlash in 1991, Susan Faludi broke new ground when she put her finger directly on the problem bedeviling women, and the light of recognition dawned on millions of her readers: what's making women miserable isn't something they're doing to themselves in the name of independence. It's something our society is doing to women. ...
One of the most talked-about books of last year, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Backlash now explores the collapse of traditional masculinity that has left men feeling betrayed. With Backlash in 1991, Susan Faludi broke new ground when she put her finger directly on the problem bedeviling women, and the light of recognition dawned on millions of her readers: what's making women miserable isn't something they're doing to themselves in the name of independence. It's something our society is doing to women. The book was nothing less than a landmark. Now in Stiffed, the author turns her attention to the masculinity crisis plaguing our culture at the end of the '90s, an era of massive layoffs, "Angry White Male" politics, and Million Man marches. As much as the culture wants to proclaim that men are made miserable--or brutal or violent or irresponsible--by their inner nature and their hormones, Faludi finds that even in the world they supposedly own and run, men are at the mercy of cultural forces that disfigure their lives and destroy their chance at happiness. As traditional masculinity continues to collapse, the once-valued male attributes of craft, loyalty, and social utility are no longer honored, much less rewarded. Faludi's journey through the modern masculine landscape takes her into the lives of individual men whose accounts reveal the heart of the male dilemma. Stiffed brings us into the world of industrial workers, sports fans, combat veterans, evangelical husbands, militiamen, astronauts, and troubled "bad" boys--whose sense that they've lost their skills, jobs, civic roles, wives, teams, and a secure future is only one symptom of a larger and historic betrayal.
Posted August 3, 2001
As a downzised (1996) white male, Susan Faludi's book 'Stiffed' struck and resonated on every chord with me. The stories she retells could have been my own- including the fictional propaganda that is used to make us (white men) hate ourselves if we fail to achieve the so called American model for male success. I don't want to say too much here, as a book of this size merits being read in its entirety. And let's be sure to note that the males Faludi writes about here are not the brand I'd call 'SWGs' or 'Scary White Guys' - the powermongers and bullies - CEOs, politicians etc, who ruin every one else's lives. No these stories are about the real, flesh and blood normal white guys and others- who are as much products of the exploitative capitalist, winner-take all system, as blacks, chicanos and native Americans. In the end, we all need to forge common cause and oppose the system that exploits us- as Faludi notes in her final chapter. Rather than invoking the false attribution model (that SWG's insist on) and blaming ourselves for the failures an egregious and iniquitous sytem has imposed on us. Faludi deserves to be hailed for this work, and I hope as many men as possible will get to read it, to see how society and the culture have brainwashed and propagandized us. Partricularly white men, who are most likely to buy into the societal baloney.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2003
This is most impressive when you consider a feminist ( and a good looking woman at that!)is writing to defend the plight of men in this day and age of restraining orders,sexual harassment,codependnecy and a host of other fad-of-the-day catch phrases. She has obviously done her homework and it is a good but not always easy read. The book is a little long for the basic messages but i think it is an excellent work overall.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 12, 2000
I have thoroughly enjoyed Stiffed, mainly because the author gives us wonderfully detailed and nuanced portraits of very different kinds of men as they struggle to deal with a very alienating and exploitive culture. Faludi is sometimes windy and her writing strains under the sheer accumulation of details she has gathered 'from the field.' I don't always think she has applied the best analysis to her subjects (she is not trained as academic and I can see how some in the academy would poo-poo her) but, as an investigative journalism the book is consistently engrossing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 1, 2000
Stiffed by Susan Faluti: One of the first things that struck me about this book was the incredible amounts of research that went into it. It made me think about other feminist writers I¿ve read, Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer, who like Faludi, took great care to be meticulous, to make their case so solidly that no amount of backspin would be able to legitimately refute their analysis. Obviously the feminist movement had good early teachers, people who somehow got though to those who wished to be writers ( and perhaps other professionals as well) that to make it they were going to have to surpass the quality men put into the same kind of work. I can not think of male writers I¿ve read who went to such pains to make certain there were no holes in their case. Even classic sociological studies like that of Max Weber and C. Wright Mills seem intellectually provincial in comparison. But Faludi goes beyond Greer and Friedan, becomes involved with her subjects on an unprecedented level, merges a sharp intellectual insight, (learned from feminism) with an empathy so liquid it made me recall Basho¿s line about poetry, ¿ the problem with most poetry is that it is either objective or subjective. ¿ That perhaps is the greatest wonder of this book, the way it breaks down the sociological walls intellectually and the psychological walls personally. It leaves you feeling what you thought was impossible, Christ¿s prescription to love your enemy. It made me cry terribly by bringing me face to face with the human condition and left me ultimately with a resolve to try again to make some small difference in the world, to go over the social landscape again and find some holes in its totalitarian structure. While I was still a teenager I already understood that what made our own system akin to other totalitarian systems wasn¿t its politics as much as its economy. One did not need to control people politically in our culture because the economy took care of that by leveraging its own sanctions against the differing elements that either wouldn¿t or couldn¿t conform. Throughout the past couple of decades I couldn¿t help but see the similarities between the left wing movements of the sixties and the right wing movements of the eighties and nineties. Though the rhetoric was aimed at one another, the rhetoric never had that meticulous element in its analysis that always seemed to be there in works of the feminists, and feminism never quite led itself to the pigeonholing of left and right, as hard as conservatives tried to condemn it or liberals tried to embrace it. In fact, the most prominent contradiction that seemed to be in most conservative thinking was a peculiarly Marxian dialectic; that the free market itself, while making conservative thought more marketable, was making traditional skills less so. The same thing was happening to the conservative movement that had happened to the new left two decades earlier. They were being coopted by the free market, the very thing that according to their philosophy was meant to either bring them to or keep them in power. Faludi has given a new dimension to this analysis. Those skills are less marketable not only because of technological changes but more succinctly because they are less glamorous. It is not merely that a technological or a service economy has replaced the traditional industrial economy but that celebrity culture is turning us into one dimensional beings. This of course is the by product of having produced massive amounts of junk that nobody ever really wanted and having to find a way to make people want it, of having to many competitive companies collectively overproducing and having to find another level of competition on which to work out their destinies, on allowing an economy to come into being that was based more on quantitative statistics than on qualitative benefits to communities, on demanding that everyone work even if most of the work was meaniWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 2, 2000
Posted December 28, 1999
The author first rose to fame with a Pulitzer Prize for a story about how a corporate reshuffling at Safeway disrupted the lives of so many people. But what was the point? We learned in Economics 101 that all the reshuffling from the horse and buggy to the Boeing 747 made progress possible. If the truth be told the point is that heart wrenching stories about exploited little people are told over and over again so power will be given to liberal sociologist (of which Ms Faludi is certainly one) so that progress can be managed by them rather than the fools who prefer to travel by 747 more than horse and buggy. In her recent book, 'Backlash' the author claims that men are inherently evil misogynists who are getting back at women for feminism in a thousand ways. In the book at hand, 'Stiffed' it is claimed men aren't really so evil after all but rather they are victims too; victims of general culture; particularly corporate culture. The 'man of the house' macho gunslinger role just doesn't work for men anymore she claims. But the changing role of men and women in modern society has been a standard essay topic in high school English for 30 years so who needs another 700 pages with, seemingly, thousands of more examples. To make her case about the way men are victims without an obvious and meaningful role to play she interviews tons of very sad men from many walks of life to detail the particular corporate/cultural tragedy that has befallen them. But what an effort she made, thinking the whole time she was uncovering new men and new truths, when she could have just turned on The Jerry Springer Show to see the same male porn stars she later wrote about. But the Springer Show is much more accurate in its way. It seems to have an equal number of totally crazy women too. This would lead to the conclusion that being absolutely crazy or just suffering from a general malaise(as President Carter said) has to do with more than gender. But, for a true believer like the author feminism is all and all is feminism. But, if men can be victims too then perhaps they can be enlisted to support their feminist brethren. Such a development sparked by this book would be worth two Pulitzers for sure. But that is too grand for a book that absolutely misdiagnosis the problem and does not even aspire to offer a course of action, let alone a solution. Many see social, political, economic, cultural problems and from them they derive a solution which they ardently want us to accept, and even vote for but 'Stiffed' can't even make the tiniest attempt in this direction because the problem has been so recklessly defined. When asked what men ought to do about their victimization the author says: 'I have no prescription' and when pressed hard she was able to say only and exactly two things: 1) Men should join the very broad international coalition that was protesting free world trade in Seattle, and 2) they should join in the French movement against the imperialistic MacDonald's Hamburger stands which are spreading throughout France like a cancer. Well, in econ 101 you learn about free trade that if you can only buy things made within 100 miles of your home your standard of living would be cut by 99% and that if you can freely buy things made anywhere in the world your standard of living would go up by 99%. And, you learn that it is silly to ban MacDonald's (or any company in a democratic society) since it will be banned anyway, at the exact the moment its customers agree that it is a cancer rather than a blessing. It is hard to recommend a replacement book since one has no idea what the topic is. But, 'Understanding The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans' is still the classic primer on all the major political, social, cultural, and economic problems that face a modern world, and, those problems are neatly detailed by political parties so that when you walk into a voting booth or bump into a Ms Faludi you will have a simple,Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 1999
STIFFED is a one way street in examining masculine psychology and behavior in today's cultural atmosphere. No doubt what she writes about the modern man is true and accurate for a segment of the male population (and also true of previous male generations) but--she for whatever reason--ignores the vast differences in today's male behavior that respond to the masculine primeval need to dominate and take charge. Look around and you shall see boxing and wrestling events as well as strenuous martial arts competitions. One of the fastest growing fighting arts today, but relatively unknown, is the pankration-like combat in which men fist fight and wrestle naked with bare fists in an exhausting and excruciating fight to the finish until one man is sujugated into the agony of defeat. Yet, unlike the earlier ancient Grecian pankration combat, the battle between them is fought with great honor and the highest ideals of sportsmanship respecting the sanctity of the human body. The ASIAN DUEL OF STRENGTH is fought not to injure or destroy one's rival but to test one's strength and endurance against a rival of equal height and weight and in the process of combat men increase strength and endurance in each succeeding encounter.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.