NOT GUILTY by David Thomas


The Case in Defense of Men
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 If Warren Farrell's The Myth of Male Power (p. 763) was a broadside barrage against perceived political excesses of feminism, then Thomas's first book--urbane, witty (as befits the work of a former Punch editor), low-key--continues the battle on the diplomatic front. Where Farrell aimed to demonstrate that men, not women, are the less powerful sex, Thomas, who's British, wants to redress what he sees as society's ``double standard'' toward men--a double standard he exemplifies in numerous ways, e.g., by repeating the words of the female administrator of a counseling service for violent men who ironically told him that when ``I argue with my fiancÇ, I've slapped him round the face...But I'm five foot five and he's six foot three''; or by declaring that ``when a woman wants an abortion, reproduction is entirely her own affair. When she wants child support, it suddenly becomes the man's responsibility.'' Thomas begins his gentle polemic on a biological note, pointing out neurological differences between the sexes but comparing the male and female brains to ``two different types of computers--an IBM and a MacIntosh, for example'' that perform the same functions but with different strengths and weaknesses (``nor can they read one another's software''). He touches upon the concerns of the mythopoetic men's movement by looking at the price men pay for their particular societal powers (a man ``lacks one vital freedom. He cannot be himself''), and, like Farrell, he rebuts--though more persuasively and with fewer statistics--what he sees as imbalanced treatment toward men regarding issues of sexual harassment, domestic violence, and parenting. Finally, Thomas calls on men to organize, lobby, and, above all, to ``stand up'' for themselves. Less sensational than the Farrell and unlikely to equal its readership; still, Thomas's reasonable voice adds weight and credibility to what looks to be a growing political awareness in the men's movement--with similar books probably not far behind.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-11024-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1993