THE MYTH OF THE MONSTROUS MALE by John Gordon

THE MYTH OF THE MONSTROUS MALE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Professor Gordon (Connecticut College) is Playboy's kind of academic: young, hip, witty, stylish, and a card-carrying liberal (he teaches a course on feminism). In this brisk, often-entertaining assault on radical feminism Gordon shreds some of the more fanatical pronouncements of Susan Brownmiller, Kate Millett, Adrienne Rich, Andrea Dworkin, Elizabeth Gould Davis, et al. with hilarious dispatch. Somebody, after ail, was due to take a satirical swipe at all the twisted thinking, slovenly scholarship, and humorless cant issuing from the pens of feminist apparatchiki these days (Judith Bat-Ada: ""Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione, and Larry Flynt. . . are every bit as dangerous as Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito""). Gordon's view of feminism as a whole, however, is almost as warped as that of his wild-eyed opponents. It's all very well to mock the reduction of sexual history to ""one long horror story of male Nazis and female Jews,"" but Gordon badly underestimates the burden of oppression, past and present, on women. Too often he echoes the Playboy line that ever since the 1960s, when women began shedding the old repressive phobias and trying on sexual license for size, they've been as free as they had the nerve to be--except that now a phalanx of grim puritanical feminists, modern-day Carrie Nations, have swept onto the scene and threaten to bring back the Dark Ages. At his worst, Gordon ignores the obvious evidence and blames the victim: ""Women, largely through their own choosing, have taken a stance in relation to men that requires them to be hypocrites, and to know that they are hypocrites."" This kind of bias turns what might have been a top-notch polemic into a series of clever diatribes.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1982
Publisher: Playboy--dist. by Harper & Row