THE MALE DILEMMA: How to Survive the Sexual Revolution by Anne & David J. Fox Steinmann

THE MALE DILEMMA: How to Survive the Sexual Revolution

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An extensive critique of sexism and liberation in our culture. The title is inappropriate: the book deals as much with female dilemmas as male. The authors trace the sociology of sex roles: how social functions originally diverged; how the industrial revolution, social mobility, and science eventually fostered change. Such transformations contributed to the surrender of parental models in the '50's: the Spock generation, having been indulged as children, are now ambivalent about adult roles. Confusion and guilt are rampant. Men want to be more aggressive and self-oriented but feel that women want them to be less so -- yet women insist that they want them to be more so; women wish to expand from their wife-mother roles but feel that men don't want them to -- yet men insist they do. We are left with ""a picture of confusion, sensitivity, vulnerability, and hypocrisy, in both male and female behavior,"" that is helped neither by die-hard chauvinists nor zealous feminists, both of whom create more guilt and bewilderment. The authors define psychological differences -- external concentration vs. internal diffusion -- which, they argue, have been obscured; but such differences are not deterministic, nor should they become preconceived gender molds. Parents must now meticulously plan their lives to provide non-sexist models for their children (here the authors become fussy -- isn't this just another form of overindulgence?). The authors recognize that insincere change may be more dangerous than none, and that non-sexist roles can be just as coercive as sexist ones: accommodation and compromise are called for. They are so earnest in their concerns that occasionally they seem quixotic; but their professional judgment and sociological acumen usually prevail. Although there are solecisms -- they never question the framework of marriage and children -- the book is unusually shrewd and discerning.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1974
Publisher: Jason Aronson