Michael Korda has been through the fern-lib consciousness-raising wringer -- a sensitive, intelligent, observant man...



Michael Korda has been through the fern-lib consciousness-raising wringer -- a sensitive, intelligent, observant man obviously distressed and angered by the calumny, waste, and injustice of sexism. Via case histories, interviews with women, and personal experience he documents the methodology of sexual discrimination in the business world, in the home, in the language, in our social and cultural institutions. All of this is well and good; it is nice to have a man see it and say it. But it's nothing that Millett, Greer, Bengis, and Ms. every month haven't already told us: we know about the ""psychology, of serfdom"" and the ""shit-work"" syndrome, we know about who becomes the executive and who becomes the executive's secretary. Perhaps Korda felt it necessary to establish his credentials? Or perhaps to expiate some private guilt? It's redundant information nonetheless. He does however have a point worth making, one which Norman Mailer might entertain with profit. Men, Korda hypothecates, maintain male supremacist attitudes because they instinctively fear women sexually -- women ""expose men to the possibility of failure and humiliation at a basic, biological level. . . they have the terrible power to withhold love""; as a result, men end up hating women, viewing them as ""the enemy,"" a class of people to be kept down by all means from the wisecrack to economic bondage. Korda's analysis of this deeply rooted male dread and its ramifications is superficial, based almost entirely on intuitive reasoning; still, an arresting theory. And what of the future for male chauvinism? ""We do not as yet live in an Androgynous Zone"" but the ""possibilities for equality at work exist"" but then ""Short of some radical transformation of society, success simply cannot make a woman equal"" but on the other hand ""Changes can be made, are being made"" and finally ""Male chauvinism is dead when we want it to be. All we [men] need to do is to listen. . . . Accept reality, and you accept woman."" Korda, chief editor at Simon & Schuster and Glamour's movie critic, has tried very hard to make sense of a very difficult problem; that he has achieved a respectable failure does not mean that his efforts have no value.

Pub Date: June 11, 1973


Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1973