The Myth of Male Power – a review

Initially discovering Warren Farell through references by youtubers I watch, I have been intending to read The myth of male power for some time as it’s often regarded as a good read by those who’re similarly  sceptical of the contemporary 3rd wave feminist and social justice movements.

I approached the book with a high degree of caution as I feared that he would be as unrelentingly dogmatic and biased as those he critiqued, within the chapters. I purchased the abridged a-book through Audible and thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. Rather than simply being a narration of the 1993 work, the audio book is actually a 3hr dialogue between Farrell and Tom Howard whose probing questions give Farrell the opportunity to respond in depth with examples from the book. I think this is done well however my only criticism is the lack of an accompanying written bibliography so that the authenticity of citations can be verified.

There are 6 Chapters in total and in each Farrell debunks various generally held preconceived notions about male power. He argues that men throughout history have been the disposable sex, that gender roles were functional for historical times but not for society today and that in our strive for equality, we have tended to the needs of one gender but not the other.

I was thoroughly captivated by the book and found myself considering ideas that I’d previously not thought about or had merely glossed over. For example, there is the fact that many low paid manual jobs, where men are the majority of the workforce, are in deplorable conditions. We turn a blind eye to miners who are subject to injury from falling rocks and electrocution via the underground wires and yet there would be riots if office workers were subjected to similar hazards. We glorify the stay at home mum who leaves her career in order to spend more time nurturing the children and yet fathers who work long hours to provide for their families can be contrastingly vilified.

Despite making these points, Farrell repeatedly reminds the audience that the ideal he strives for is gender equality, he faults men for not voicing their concerns and struggles (explaining why this might be the reason why there is no menimism movement) but also states that pointing out male issues does not delegitimize problems that females face.

I would give the book 9 stars as it’s well-balanced and informative and would definitely recommenced it to like-minded readers and friends.